Kunkel Law Firm - September 2018

SEPTEMBER 2018 KunkelCase Files 800-467-5272 • www.KunkelLawFirm.com • GKunkel@KunkelLawFirm.com

FROM THE DESK OF

Gregory Kunkel, Esq.

SOCIAL SECURITY’S WAITING GAME

I always recommend that you retain an experienced Social Security disability attorney if your application for benefits is denied. In my experience, the disability claims process is simply too complicated to navigate without the aid of an experienced attorney. This advice, however, is now more important than ever given the amount of time that it takes to get a hearing on your claim. The average wait times for Social Security hearings held in Southwestern Pennsylvania are now approaching an incredibly long two years. According to Social Security, the average wait time for a hearing at the Pittsburgh SSA Hearing Office is 22 months, the Seven Fields SSA Hearing Office is 20 months, and the Morgantown Hearing Office that handles claims for Pennsylvania residents living in Fayette and Greene Counties is just over 19 months. Given the two-year wait for a hearing, it only makes sense to hire an experienced Social Security disability attorney to maximize your chances of winning when your case is finally called before a Social Security judge.

THEWORLDTRADE CENTER How theTowers Came to Be

On Sept.11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower of theWorld Trade Center traveling at 470 mph, ripping a hole in the building from floors 93 to 99. At 9:03 a.m., a second plane smashed into the south tower traveling at 590 mph, cutting a gaping hole from floors 75 to 85. Within an hour, the south tower collapsed due to the sheer weight of the building combined with the damage dealt by the impact and the burning jet fuel. At 10:28 a.m., the north tower followed. The rubble and debris from the collapsed towers caused fires and further damage to the surrounding buildings and areas. Within hours, nearly 3,000 people had lost their lives. The attack left the world in a state of terror and grief, and the United States was changed forever. Today, the twin towers’ last day is remembered as the worst terrorist attack in history, but few people know how the buildings became part of New York City’s skyline in the first place. A world trade center pavilion was first hosted during the NewYorkWorld’s Fair in 1939 — the exhibit was dedicated to the slogan“world peace through trade.”The idea for theWorld Trade Center was then abandoned after seven years, until David Rockefeller revived the concept to reinvigorate lower Manhattan. Rockefeller took the reins and continued the project, finding premises near the Fulton Fish Market on the East River, and construction on the $250 million complex began. He also turned to the Port of NewYork Authority for financial support to ensure theWorld Trade Center’s completion, and the first real plans for theWorld Trade Center were put into action. It was then that the Port Authority decided the towers should break the record for the tallest building in the world, beating the 1,250-foot Empire State building. To do this, architect Minoru Yamasaki designed the towers to hold 110 stories each, but they would not have the traditional

-Gregory

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... Cover story, continued

glass-and-steel-box design used for most skyscrapers at that time. Instead, Yamasaki worked with structural engineers to come up with a revolutionary design that would disperse the weight throughout. The plan included two hollow tubes supported by steel columns spaced closely together and wrapped

plaza was finished. An estimated 10,000 workers labored to build theWorld Trade Center. The towers had 99 elevators, 43,600 windows, 40,000 doors, and 3,000 miles of electrical wiring, and each building weighed 250,000 tons. They were the tallest buildings in the world until Chicago’s Sears Tower was completed less than a year later. The towers were first attacked in 1993. Down in the basement of the north tower’s parking garage, a 1,200-pound bomb was set off. The attack cost six people

features such as battery-powered stairway lights and a separate emergency command center for each building. The towers remained an iconic part of NYC’s famous skyline for another eight years. Today, the towers are gone, but the peace they once symbolized lives on in the tranquility of Ground Zero, and every man, woman, and child who lost their life on Sept. 11, 2001, is memorialized on the stone monuments and through the annual reading of names. As Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, said,“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

in aluminum, while floor trusses connected this shell to the tower’s central steel core. Construction of theWorld Trade Center officially began in February 1967. The north tower was completed in December of 1970, and the south tower was finished in July of 1971, but construction continued for the next two years until the outdoor

their lives, and over 1,000 people were injured. The Port Authority wasted no time in renovating the building; over the next eight years, the company spent $700 million on renovations, including added safety

SUMMONED TO COURT Jury Duty Myths

NO VOTING, NO JURY DUTY

There are so many rumors about jury duty that it can be difficult to know which ones are true. Here are three of the most popular speculations, debunked.

According to another circulating myth, if you aren’t registered to vote, you don’t have to serve jury duty. Many people believe this myth because voting enters you into the jury duty pool, but there are other means by which citizens are chosen. Other ways you’re entered into the pool include buying a home, paying taxes, and getting a driver’s license. Even if you aren’t registered to vote, you’re still liable to be summoned.

ADMITTING BIASWILL ENSURE YOUR DISMISSAL

been selected for jury service. In fact, if your boss threatens to fire you for it, they will face the penalties, which include fines and even jail time. Many employers know and understand this, but if yours doesn’t, you can submit a file of complaint to the trial court administrator, and they will take care of the rest for you. The system to select jurors has been around for a while, and those involved know what they’re doing. It’s best to go in with an open mind and be completely honest. After all, it is your civic duty to do so.

If you admit that you are biased when you serve jury duty, it does not guarantee your dismissal. In fact, a judge cannot dismiss you for being biased — but an attorney can. In addition, attempting to portray yourself as a biased person can put you in a troubling situation. Attorneys and judges have been selecting jurors for a long time and know when someone is lying to them. Your best bet will be to give honest answers to the questions they ask.

SERVING JURY DUTYWILL GET YOU FIRED

If you’re worried about getting fired by serving jury duty, you can take a breather. Your employer cannot fire you once you’ve

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The Pullman Strike and the Origin of Labor Day HOWARAILROADPROTESTLAIDTHE FOUNDATIONFORANATIONALHOLIDAY

Today, Labor Day mostly means a day off and the closure of public pools. But when it was first created, it was a president’s desperate attempt to curb the tension after one of the most violent strike breakups in American history. In the late 19th century, the workers of the Pullman Company, which manufactured luxury train cars, all lived in a company-owned town. George Pullman, the owner, lived in a mansion overlooking houses, apartments, and crammed-together barracks, all of which were rented by the thousands of workers needed for the operation. For some time, the town operated without a hitch, providing decent wages for the workers while netting the higher-ups millions of dollars. But after the economic depression of the 1890s brought the country to its knees, everything changed. George Pullman slashed his workers’wages by nearly 30 percent, but he neglected to adjust the rent on the company- owned buildings in turn. As a result, life became untenable in the town, with workers struggling tomaintain the barest standards of living for themselves and their families.

But Pullman, stubborn as he was, barely acknowledged the strike was happening, and he refused tomeet with the organizers.

The tension increased when Eugene Debs, the president of the American Railway Union, organized a boycott of all trains that included Pullman cars. The strike continued to escalate until workers and Pullman community members managed to stop the trains from running. Eventually, President Grover Cleveland sent in soldiers to break up the strike. Violence ensued, with soldiers making a great effort to quell the strike at its core. By the time the violence ended, 30 people had lost their lives and an estimated $80 million in damages had been caused throughout the town. A fewmonths later, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday. Many experts believe that this act was an effort to build rapport among his pro-labor constituents after handling the incident so poorly.

This month, as you fire up the barbecue and enjoy your day off, take a moment to remember the workers who fought for labor rights in our country.

In response, the workers began a strike on May 11, 1894. As the event ramped up, it gained the support of the powerful American Railway Union (ARU).

Take a Break!

Late-Summer

PANZANELLA

Ingredients

1 small loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, sliced into rounds

20 basil leaves, chopped

Salt, to taste

2 large tomatoes, cubed

Vinaigrette

2 red bell peppers, seeded and cubed

Directions

1. In a large sauté pan, set to medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add bread and 1 teaspoon salt, and toss often for 10 minutes or until toasted. 2. In a large bowl, mix vegetables and herbs. Toss in bread and your favorite vinaigrette and mix again. 3. Serve immediately or let sit 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Recipe courtesy of Good Housekeeping

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One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Suite 4300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

More and more Americans are keeping pigs as pets than ever before. With their keen intelligence, laid-back amiability, goofy snorts, and, of course, their stubby little legs, it’s no surprise that people take to these plump, fuzzy animals. And here’s an extra bonus: Apparently, they also save lives! Take the aptly-named Lucky , for example. When Illinois resident Ina Farler woke up to the frantic porcine screams of her best friend, she knew something was up. “He would jump down, run to the door, and then jump back on the bed and hit me really hard,” she told Chicago 5 News. “When I sat up, I realized the room was really smoky.” Her house was ablaze, and her room was quickly turning into an oven. But thanks to Lucky, she was able to grab her two grandchildren, escape from the house, and call INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Gregory Kunkel, Esq. PAGE 1 The Hopeful Beginning and Catastrophic End PAGE 1 Falsities You’ve Been Told About Jury Duty PAGE 2 Why Labor Day Is Indebted to the Pullman Strike PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Late-Summer Panzanella PAGE 3 Pigs to the Rescue PAGE 4

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THAT’LL DO, PIG

Oinkers That Saved Their Owners’ Bacon

the fire department to stifle the blaze before it took down the entire property.

something was seriously wrong, she slammed back through the doggie door and scrambled out into the road, where she lay down. Lulu eventually convinced one conscientious motorist to slow down and see what the commotion was about. He found Jo Ann unconscious in her home and quickly dialed 911. Though Lulu wasn’t allowed in the ambulance, her owner was rescued and

Lucky isn’t the only hog to have saved the day. Jo Ann and Jack Altsman adopted Lulu the pot-bellied pig after baby-sitting her for their daughter. Lulu grew to be great pals with Bear, the family’s American Eskimo dog. When Jo Ann suffered a heart attack while her husband was away on a fishing trip and no one else was around, Bear and Lulu teamed up to rescue their beloved owner. Sensing something was up, Bear barked furiously to get the attention of Lulu, who was out in the yard. Though she’d never come into the house from the yard before, she crammed her bulk through the much-too-small doggie door. In the process, she scraped her belly badly, drawing blood, but she pressed on in order to check on Jo Ann. Realizing that

recovered after an intense open-heart surgery.

And, of course, Lulu got patched up too!

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