GIVING BACK

We believe in helping our communities beyond the confines of the courtroom.

Morgan & Morgan Hunger Relief Center Dedication

Morgan & Morgan Hunger Relief Center Dedication

On March 6, 2013, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s fight to end hunger took a major step forward with the dedication of the Morgan & Morgan, P.A. Hunger Relief Center. The new, 100,000-square foot facility—more than double the size of its predecessor—is equipped to handle millions of pounds of food the organization had to previously turn away due to a lack of adequate coolers, freezers, and general infrastructure space.

“This is one of the best things we’ve ever done,” Mr. Morgan said of he and his wife Ultima’s generous $2 million donation to the cause. “Other than the four children, this is one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

By the organization’s estimates, the value of the food stored in the Morgan & Morgan, P.A. Hunger Relief Center over the next 20 years will exceed $1.4 billion.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization spearheading the fight to end hunger by collecting and distributing food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies throughout Brevard, Orange, Lake, Seminole, Osceola, and Volusia counties in Central Florida. In addition to gathering and distributing food to those in need, Second Harvest Food Bank strives to raise public awareness on the “invisible problem” of hunger and poverty, as well as develop county-specific solutions to hunger in Central Florida.

If you would like to get involved with or donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, please visit their website.

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For The People Scholarship

For The People Scholarship

Morgan & Morgan is committed to helping out those students looking to get into law as a career. To help out, we formed the For The People Scholarship. Through this scholarship, we've already helped pay for law school for a first-year law student who was committed to making his or her community a better place.

John Morgan places a big emphasis on giving back to the community, and has built the firm to reflect his values of charity and public service. Many of our firm’s partners holds at least one leadership position in a charitable organization, for example.

We seek to inspire these values of charity and public service beyond our firm, and encourage aspiring lawyers to approach their careers as our attorneys already do.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

In 2013, John Morgan partnered with United for Care in campaigning to legalize medical marijuana on behalf of sick and suffering Floridians. It took nearly four years, two elections, and cost John millions of dollars, but medical marijuana was finally legalized in 2016.

John’s support for medical marijuana is personal; it helped relieve the pain of his father, who had emphysema and esophageal cancer, and his brother, who is paraplegic. Another reason he supports medical marijuana is because of the damage he’s seen caused by the powerful prescription pain medications his clients are often given by a doctor following an injury.

The initial campaign began by writing an initiative and hiring an “army of angels” to collect the nearly 700,000 signatures required to get it on the 2014 ballot. While collecting signatures proved challenging, the initiative eventually qualified for the ballot but faced a consistent and well funded opposition throughout the campaign. In the end, 58 percent of voters were in favor of the initiative, but it required at least 60 percent to pass.

Undeterred, and further inspired by Floridians who urged him to try again, John launched another campaign to legalize medical marijuana. The second time around Florida had no doubts about medical marijuana and the initiative passed with a resounding 71 percent of the vote.

Boys Town USA
boys town usa

Offers access to foster homes and guidance for at-risk youths.

Harbor House
harbor house

Provides help for abused women and children.

The Miami Project
the miami project

Conducts neuromuscular and spinal injury research and testing.

United Cerebral Palsy
united cerebral palsy

Provides vital therapy and services to children with special needs.

Firm News

The end of a marriage comes with a lot of practical changes for everyone involved. From housing to childcare to finances, a lot of decisions have to be made about how things are going to work in the future. Sometimes, people forget about one decision that isn’t often front-of-mind, but absolutely should be: Life insurance. 

A life insurance or AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) policy is one of the most important and potentially valuable long-term assets in a household. When that household goes through changes, it’s essential to ensure that if the worst were to happen, the policy payout would go to the right place. 

Why wouldn’t it? Because states have differing laws about what happens when a spouse who was listed as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy becomes an ex-spouse. 

Revocation-On-Divorce 

In Minnesota, this law was recently challenged in and affirmed by the Supreme Court of The United States. Under their law, a spouse is automatically removed as beneficiary for a life insurance policy if they and the policyholder divorce. 26 states have versions of this law on the books.

This might be a good thing for a lot of formerly married husbands and wives who longer want their former partner to receive the policy payout if they die, but who might have forgotten to change the listed beneficiary on their own. This is not the case for all divorced couples, though. 

For many families, divorce is not the end of the partnership. If there are children, one former spouse or the other may have primary custody and child-care responsibilities, or there may be a split responsibility. They might be in a business partnership or share property ownership. There can even still be a positive personal relationship. For any of these reasons, or for a million others, it’s possible that the policyholder would still want their former spouse to receive the policy payout if they die. 

And what about the 24 states that do not have revocation-on-divorce laws? Unless the policyholder makes the change on their own, their ex will still be receiving the policy payout. Besides the obvious issue, for many divorced couples, child-care arrangements or adult children can make this situation even stickier. 

Be Informed, Take Control 

If you’ve recently gotten divorced or are in the process of doing so, now is the time to make proactive decisions about the future of any life insurance policy you or your ex/future ex have. Find out what the law is in your state, and call your insurance company right away. Don’t let the state decide what happens to your family. 

If there has already been a death in the family and you believe that you or a loved one is being denied a life insurance policy payout that they are entitled to, give us a call. We’re available 24/7 for a free consultation.

Tue, 04/07/2020 - 12:24

It’s nowhere near its peak, but the coronavirus pandemic has already torpedoed the stock market and robbed millions of Americans of their livelihoods. Experts think the unemployment rate could hit 20 or even 30%. Many of us have not experienced such a cataclysmic event in our lifetimes. Even those who keep their jobs may face reduced hours or pay, unexpected costs, and other challenges.

While most Americans will receive $1,200 from the government sometime in the next few weeks, as of this writing, that is just a one-time deposit that will arrive after rent and bills are due on April 1. So here are some other ways to soften the blow the coronavirus can take on your career and finances.

Contact bill collectors to request an extension.

Though landlords are reluctant to freeze rent, many banks, credit card companies, utility companies, and others are open to extending payment deadlines for April. You may have to wait on the phone for a while, but it’s worth contacting these organizations to see about an extension. They may be more flexible than you think, if only for public relations reasons.

Moreover, the stimulus package the Senate passed last night, which is expected to pass the House and be signed into law by the president, includes a six-month extension on student loan payments. This means you have until September 30 to make your next payment, which should provide some much-needed relief.

File for unemployment benefits, even if you still have a job.

Even if you haven’t been fired, if your hours have been slashed because of the coronavirus, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. The stimulus bill expands benefits over the next four months for part-time workers, gig workers, independent contractors, and even the self-employed. Under the new law, you could be eligible for an additional $600 per week, although the criteria for benefits still vary by state. (For frequently asked questions about the stimulus bill, relief checks, and new unemployment benefits, see the New York Times, which is offering free coronavirus coverage.)

Unemployment applications have soared, with 3.3 million applicants for the week ending March 21, so the sooner you file your claim, the better.

Keep track of which companies are hiring.

While most organizations are reducing their workforces, some are expanding them. Companies like Amazon, CVS, Walgreens, Domino’s, Walmart, and Dollar Tree are hiring tens of thousands of workers to meet increased demand for their goods. Grocery stores, too, need more employees to handle all the anxious consumers clearing out their shelves. LinkedIn has an updated list of opportunities, which job-seekers should check daily.

Consider crowdfunding.

The hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, with many bars and restaurants shutting their doors (or switching to delivery-only) indefinitely. A lot of these establishments have set up funds where people can donate to support their staff during the crisis. The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and Restaurant Opportunities United, among others, have also set up crowdfunding pages to aid hospitality workers.

You may be able to receive financial assistance via these types of organizations. You can also set up your own crowdfund and share it with family, friends, and patrons who want to help keep you afloat in this turbulent time.

Watch out for scams.

As if this all wasn’t scary enough, the past few months have seen the rise of both coronavirus scams and tax refund scams. See our previous posts, “Coronavirus Scams to Watch Out For” and “How to Protect Yourself From Tax Refund Scams,” for a full rundown of these schemes and how to avoid falling prey to them.

Some general tips: Don’t ever give out personal information (such as a credit card or Social Security number) over the phone to someone claiming to be from the government, and don’t click or download anything unless you’re 100% sure it’s from someone you know and trust.

Follow CDC guidelines.

To protect your finances, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for protecting yourself: Wash your hands, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect surfaces.

By staying healthy, you can spare yourself a sky-high hospital bill and put yourself in a better position to bounce back when the crisis ends.

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 14:05

The coronavirus pandemic has sowed chaos around the world, and as with any crisis, there are people looking to exploit confusion for profit. Some are hoarding supplies and selling them for ten times their usual value. Some are setting up fake shops to “sell” in-demand supplies, but never deliver. Others are hatching convincing scams via text message, email, app, or phone call. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with some schemes that are spreading almost as fast as the virus itself.

Misinformation From “Inside” Sources

You may have already received a text from a friend who has a friend whose aunt or cousin or in-law works for the government and has inside information: The country, or the state, or the city, is about to shut everything down. You should go get groceries and gas and take out cash while you still can. Except: It’s not true. Essential services are still open, public transportation is still running, there is no friend-of-a-friend’s-aunt; no one even knows where these messages are originating, or what their purpose is.

Stay skeptical of panic-inducing messages from obscure or anonymous sources, focus on the facts, and trust that America’s food supply chain is strong.

Checks From the Government

Most Americans will receive $1,200 from the government in the next few weeks, but anyone who calls and asks for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number is a scammer. The federal government will not call to ask you for this information, and they will not ask you to pay anything upfront in order to receive this check, period. If you encounter one of these scams, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Reserve a Vaccine

We all want a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, but the fact is that a vaccine likely won’t be available to the public for another 12-18 months. In the meantime, schemers are calling, texting, and emailing people and pretending to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They say that the person on the other end can reserve a vaccine — if they hand over their Social Security or credit card number. The only problem? There is no vaccine reserve program, and there never will be. If you receive a call or message like this, do NOT give out any of your personal information.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams, in which a hacker accesses your computer via a link-click or download, are a problem year-round, but they are especially rampant during this confusing time. Many of us are now working from home, where our personal networks’ security measures may not be as strong as the ones we use at work. But coronavirus-related phishing scams have been proliferating since January, and they show no signs of stopping. Now more than ever, you should not click on any links or download any files unless you are 100% sure you know the sender and know what they are sending. If you have any doubt whatsoever, contact the sender (double-check their email or number!) and/or your IT department for clarification.

COVID-19 Tracking Maps

If you receive a link to an app that claims to track coronavirus cases worldwide, beware. It could be spyware that will access your camera, microphone, photos, and text messages. The app (although there may be more than one) is called “corona live 1.1,” and it is a nasty Trojan’s Horse version of the legitimate “corona live” app, which offers tracking data via Johns Hopkins University. As always, make sure you never download any file unless you have fully vetted and verified it. We all have enough to worry about right now without opening ourselves up to cyber-security threats.

 

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:46
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