Before a Mental Health Crisis Arises, Be Prepared

When you or a loved one suffer with a mental illness, planning is essential. Your crisis plan should involve other family members, your local public authorities, crisis workers, and professional assistance. You should always have the following mental health emergency information packet available. Make multiple copies and keep them at several places in your home or in the homes of friends or relatives where the mentally ill person frequently resides or visits. When a crisis arises, the responding authorities likely will not know the person or their past the way that you do. Therefore, it is important that you be able to provide them vital information. Providing this information can make the difference in the outcome of the emergency call. Specifically, it can assist the responding authority in determining that the person should be taken to a health facility instead of to jail.

Arbitration Clause Applies to Post-Employment Defamation

The alleged conduct of a prior employer after termination of the employee must be arbitrated pursuant to an arbitration agreement, according to the Fort Worth Court of Appeals. In Ensign Group, Inc., et al. v. Mammen, Cause No. 02-14-00317-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth May 14, 2015), Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s employment. When a prospective employer contacted Defendant for a reference for Plaintiff, Defendant allegedly stated that Plaintiff was “lazy” and was escorted out of the building by police. The prospective employer allegedly told Plaintiff that it would not offer her a position based on Defendant’s poor reference. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence, slander and tortious interference with prospective contract. Defendant moved to compel arbitration of Plaintiff’s claims on the basis of an arbitration agreement the parties entered into while Plaintiff was still an employee of Defendant. The agreement called for all claims, “whether or not” the claims arose out of Plaintiff’s “employment, remuneration or termination,” to be arbitrated under the Federal Arbitration Act. The agreement also stated that it would survive termination of the

GMS Sponsors “Change is Good”

Gerstle, Minissale & Snelson is proud to be a Changing Lives sponsor of the Change is Good event to be held on September 20, 2015 for the benefit of Community Partners of Dallas.  The firm selected Community Partners as its charitable organization for 2015 to assist the charitable organization in its mission of assisting abused and neglected children in Dallas County.  Aside from sponsoring the Change is Good event, employees and partners of the firm assisted in packing school supplies for some of the over 20,000 children whom Community Partners anticipates assisting this year.

Verified Denial Required to Dispute Existence of Contract

The failure to file a verified denial as to the existence of covenant not to compete, according to the Dallas Court of Appeals, prevents a party from later challenging the existence of that contract. In Greenville Automatic Gas Company v. Automatic Propane Gas and Supply, LLC, et. al.; Cause No. 05-13-01405-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas June 9, 2015), the Court held that the terms of an employment contract were settled by the absence of a verified denial of those terms. Defendant employed Plaintiff for approximately fifteen years as a route driver, delivering propane to Defendant’s customers. Defendant alleged Plaintiff signed a nine-page employment agreement that contained a covenant not to compete. After Plaintiff accepted a position with a competitor, Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action against Defendant seeking to establish his rights under the employment agreement. Plaintiff argued that the non-compete provisions of the employment agreement were unenforceable. Defendant filed a response to the petition as well as a counterclaim, attaching a copy of the employment agreement to its answer. Plaintiff did not timely

Mental Illness in the Higher Education Arena

College and graduate students suffering with mental illness may encounter new challenges once they start college or a post-graduate program. This is especially true because some mental health conditions do not manifest until a person is in his or her late teens to mid-20’s. It is important for students with a mental illness and their parents to know their rights and the resources available. Some issues that may arise include confidentiality laws, voluntary and involuntary commitment laws, student medical leave policies, and laws regarding mental health interventions, all of which have to take into account the policies of the educational institution, as well as Federal and state legal requirements. Two important pieces of legislation are the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). FERPA seeks to ensure access to educational records to students, and sometimes to their parents, while protecting the privacy of the records to the public at large. Under FERPA, campus personnel are permitted to share information from student education records with school officials who