The Lyman Firm - October 2019

Back to Basics Why Old-School Toys Might Be Better for Your Baby The Truth About Lyman Beginning a Journey Starts with Dedication to Transparency 2860 Piedmont Road, Suite 275, Atlanta, GA 30305 T: 404 267 1986 F: 470 745 0699 lymanfirm.com The Lyman Firm Newsletter TELEGRAPH Amicus Curiae www.LymanFirm.com 404-267-1986 February 2019 The Lyman Firm Newsletter

OCTOBER 2019

Little kids are tiny balls of energy, scrambling after you from room to room and demanding constant attention. It’s no wonder, then, that the temptation to sit them down with a laptop, cellphone, or tablet for a few hours can be strong for parents in the 21st century. The annoying beeps, chirps, and repetitive music electronic toys produce can seem like a good trade-off for productivity and the chance to relax. Unfortunately, studies have shown that pacifying kids with electronic toys — even ones that claim to be educational — causes more problems than it solves. In 2015, a controlled experiment conducted by professors at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and published by JAMA Pediatrics revealed that compared with books and traditional toys like blocks, shape-sorters, and puzzles, electronic gadgets are associated with a drop in both the quality and quantity of language development in kids. For the experiment, Dr. Anna V. Sosa and her colleagues recorded the interactions of 26 parents with their 10–16-month-old babies. The parent-infant pairs were split into three groups: one group had electronic toys, another traditional toys, and the third simple children’s books. According to Neuroscience News, the researchers found that playing with electronic toys (including a baby laptop, a talking farm, and a baby cellphone) prompted interactions with fewer adult words, fewer conversational turns, less back-and-forth communication, fewer parental responses, and less content- specific word use than the other types of play. Overall, the record for electronics was dismal. mountains, and urban development representing ever-expanding opportunities. Being a native of North Atlanta, I have spent most of my life in this fair state, cultivating both my character and my profession as I grew up. Now, I have a distinct opportunity to help those around me in ways I hadn’t anticipated in my younger days. I lead The Lyman Firm as a proud curator of justice for the everyday person, somebody who might not have gotten a fair shake before they met me. I believe one person can be the face of a greater movement, and these are the everyday people — the heroes — I work for as I drive our cases forward to the fullest extent within our legal system, fighting for what’s right. My passions weren’t always for courtroom thrills, though. Growing up in Smyrna, I sought to chase a different kind of rush: the roar of the racetrack. I wasn’t half bad either, eventually taking my hobby for auto racing from amateur status in 2004 all the way to semi-pro in 2007. Unfortunately, like so many other things that went down along with the economy the following year, my racing career crashed in 2008. Shattered by the abrupt end to my racing journey due to a lack of financing, “I b lieve one person can be the face of a greater movement, and these are the everyday people — the heroes — I work for as I drive our cases forward t the fullest extent within our legal system, fighting for what’s right.” While a missing hour or two of direct parent- to-kid communication each day may not G eorgia is a blue-collar state — a grassroots mix of farmland,

likely be mitigated if parents play electronic games with their kids. There’s no doubt that the more you talk to your kids, the better their language skills will be. Try engaging them in conversation, giving them descriptions of the world around you, naming objects, and using a variety of words and grammatical constructions for the best results. The FPG Child Development Institute also recommends activities like reading together, listening to music, and practicing sign language. If you’re ready to expand your children’s horizons by replacing some of their electronic toys with traditional ones, MelissaandDoug. com is a good place to start. Melissa and Doug, parents of six, started their own toy company to help today’s “overscheduled and overstimulated” youngsters get creative again. They offer fresh takes on old-school toys like blocks, art kits, and puzzles, opting for traditional materials like wood and paper over plastic, and they eschew electronics entirely. Dive into their inventory of developmental toys to get your kids on the fast-track to literacy and learning. -Thomas J. Lyman James and three-year-old daughter Cleo — I am fully immersed in the fun-loving, homely, and exciting life of my family. They are my foundation, and without them nothing would be possible. But I also have a second family of sorts in my clients, whom I treat with the respect and attention a person is owed whenever they find they’re backed in a corner and need help. The pleasure I get from representing good, honest people in the courtroom is unrivaled when compared to the other fields of profession I’ve engaged in life. Oftentimes, I ask a client to share the names of the attorneys they’ve worked with on other cases. Almost none of them are able to muster an answer — the names of their lawyers completely lost in the tides of life’s trials. That’s when I tell them that there are a million different lawyers out there doing a million different things, but when I take on your case for a serious injury or a wrongful death suit, you’ll remember me as a man who gave you the best possible chance while shooting you straight every step of the way. -T o s .

seem like a big deal, those hours add up over time. If the pattern persists for weeks, months, or years, it can have a big impact on your toddler’s language and communication skills, which are vital to academic, and eventually, professional, success. According to the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute, “Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn. They also are less likely to have difficulties learning to read and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.” An editorial published by representatives of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Seattle Children’s Hospital after the NAU report was released doubled down on that message, noting that conversational turns during play also “teach role-playing, give parents a window into their child’s developmental stage and struggles, and teach social skills such as turn- taking and accepting others’ leads.” In short, the NAU study concluded that “play with electronic toys should be discouraged.” Though, some of the adverse effects could As we grow older and further away from our teens and 20s, we begin to realize that life isn’t always about going fast, both literally and metaphorically. It was during my post racing downtime that I realized I wanted to go back to school at Georgia State. After spending years as a writer and editor, I discovered and followed my newfound calling and began practicing law after graduating from law school. After years of unparalleled grit, drive, and success in the field of law, I was fortunate enough to be able to open my own practice in January of 2018. This new venture has even allowed me to work alongside my brother, a paralegal and case manager, in what has been one of the most exciting periods of my life. For now, our plans for the future include an imminent expansion of the firm and growing the company in ways that still allow us to keep our fundamental values and operations in check. At home with my wife Lindsay beside me, and r two children — our five-year-old son I began to look for a new avenue to pour my passions into.

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PRESIDENT ADAMS’ JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH Ambassador to the Mole People

Today, some of the most fantastic discoveries are being made in the far reaches of space, but there was a time when people were more interested in what was going on beneath their feet. In the early 1820s, a United States army officer named John Cleves Symmes Jr. traveled the country teaching audiences about the Hollow Earth Theory. Symmes and some others at the time believed the Earth was made up of several solid spheres, one inside of another. They also believed each of these subterranean worlds was habitable and full of life. This is

the national observatory, and secured funding for the Smithsonian Institution. It’s possible Adams’ interest in Symmes’ trip to the North Pole was less about the Hollow Earth Theory and meeting the mole people than his larger interest in learning more about such a remote part of the world. However, Adams’ reputation as a naturalist didn’t protect him from scrutiny.

Even in the early 1800s, the Hollow Earth Theory was like the Flat Earth Theory today; there were a couple avid supporters, but most people

where the myth of the mole people originated. Symmes wanted to lead an expedition to the North Pole, where he believed he would find an entrance to the center of the Earth. He went to Congress and lobbied for money to fund his expedition. Congress shot him down, but Symmes found an ally in an unlikely place: President John Quincy Adams. John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States and son of the second president and founding father, John Adams. He traveled the world with his father, graduated from Harvard with honors, helped create

knew it was ridiculous. Having a sitting U.S. president greenlight the expedition was shocking. However, you didn’t learn about Symmes’ expedition in your history class for a reason. Adams wasn’t a popular president, and not just because he might have wanted to meet the mole people. He only served one term. By the time the expedition started to get off the ground, Andrew Jackson had been elected, and he quickly killed the project. In 1936, Congress would approve funding for an expedition to the South Pole, though this expedition focused on exploring the surface of the Earth, not what is underneath it.

Halloween Decorations or Fighting Words? A GRAVE LEGAL MATTER

We’ve all played a harmless trick or two, but sometimes, Halloween shenanigans get out of hand. They can lead to hurt feelings, outraged neighbors, and, in the case of Purtell v. Mason, a lawsuit. In the days leading up to Halloween, all was not quiet in the village of Bloomingdale. Previously parked in a storage unit, Jeff and Vicki Purtell’s 38-foot RV was now parked in front of their house. In protest, neighbors petitioned to town officials, wanting an ordinance put in place to prohibit RV parking on residential property. While the ordinance was under consideration, Jeff Purtell took matters into his own hands. He erected six wooden tombstones in his front yard. They seemed to be innocuous Halloween decorations, but these

tombstones displayed a special message for the neighbors. Each headstone was inscribed with a sarcastic message and house number, implying the occupants’ death dates. These messages soon caught the neighbors’ attention.

“Bette wasn’t ready, but here she lies, ever since that night she died. Twelve feet deep in this trench, still wasn’t deep enough for that stench! 1690.”

Insulted and a little afraid, Purtell’s neighbors called the police to have the headstones removed. After a couple of visits, Officer Bruce Mason arrived and threatened to arrest Purtell if he didn’t take the tombstones down. Purtell obliged, but the matter wasn’t put to rest. The Verdict Purtell sued Officer Mason on the grounds of violating his rights to free speech, and the case made it all the way to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Sykes ruled that the tombstones did not constitute fighting words and were protected under the First Amendment. However, she also ruled that Officer Mason was entitled to qualified immunity, as any reasonable officer would act the same under the circumstances. The bigger questionmight be how this case made it all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals. As Judge Sykes wrote in her opinion,“Lawsuits like this one cast the legal profession in a bad light and contribute to the impression that Americans are an overlawyered and excessively litigious people.”

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TAKE A BREAK

TAILS FROM THE PAST Mythical Cats of the World

Most owners will tell you their cats act like ancient deities. Majestic, scrupulous, and utterly unpredictable, these fascinating creatures have long captured our imaginations. Even before cat videos took the internet by storm, humans have been idolizing felines, placing them alongside some of their most important mythological figures. Bastet — Egypt Of course, a list of mythical cats has to start with Egypt. While many people know the pharaohs and their followers thought cats were sacred, you may be surprised by how deep the connection goes. The earliest depiction of Bastet, the feline deity of protection, is a lion- headed woman in battle. But, over the course of 2,000 years, Bastet evolved to resemble the domesticated, pointy-eared cats we know and love today. 招き猫 (Maneki-Neko) — Japan Legend has it that in the 17th century, a monk living in a small temple in Edo (now Tokyo) was struggling to survive, but he still split his meals with his cat, Tama. One day, Lord Nakaota Ii got caught in a rainstorm while hunting and took shelter under a tree near the temple. Nakaota spotted Tama near the temple, and the cat raised its leg, beckoning the noble to come toward him. Curious, Nakaota complied, stepping out from beneath the tree just before a bolt of lightning struck it down. The lord’s life was saved, and to this day, the Maneki-Neko (the beckoning cat) is a symbol of wealth and good fortune. Freya’s Skogkatts —Norway In Norse folklore, the goddess Freya had a unique means of travel: a chariot pulled by two cats. These were skogkatts, or Norwegian Forest cats, that were only a little larger than your average house cat. Still, these small felines towed Freya around battlefields as she gathered warriors to send to Valhalla. On top of being the goddess of war, love affairs, and magic, Freya may well have been Midgard’s first cat lady.

LEFTOVER CANDY SNACK MIX

Inspired by Food &Wine Magazine

Ingredients

2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely broken

6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

12 oz mini candy bars, such as Snickers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/3 cup dry milk powder

Directions

1. Heat oven to 275 F. 2. In a large mixing bowl, fold together pretzels, sugars, milk powder, and butter. 3. Spread mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. 4. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and mix in candy bar pieces before serving.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE IN

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My Life in the Courtroom, the Home, and the Racetrack Are Electronic Toys Stunting Your Kids? 3 Wild Divorce Settlements Ways to Invest in Yourself After Retirement Bistecca Alla Fiorentina The Most Iconic Super Bowl in NFL History Leftover Ca dy Snack Mix Amazing Cat Tales Weird History: The President and the Hollow Earth Grave Matters of the Law

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Let’s Retire These Health Myths

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3 Strategies for Helping Grandkids Pay for College

The 5-Second Rule Will Make You Sick 3 Health Myths You Probably Believe DON’T LET MONEY GET IN THE WAY Of Your Grandchild’s Education

The official stance from the John Hopkins Arthritis Center states, “There is no evidence that cracking knuckles causes any damage such as arthritis in the joints.” Still, chronic knuckle- cracking can lead to reduced grip strength, so you might want to break the habit anyway. You’ve probably heard these myths for years, but just because something is common knowledge doesn’t mean it is true. With information so easily available, always take the time to research the facts, especially when it comes to your health. Pay their tuition. Not everybody has $20,000 just lying around, but if you do, using it to pay for your grandchild’s tuition isn’t a bad way to spend it. Normally, annual financial gifts that are exempt from the federal gift tax can’t exceed $15,000, but payments toward someone’s tuition, for any amount, are not taxed. Keep in mind, however, that the money can only go toward tuition, not toward other college expenses like room and board or textbooks. Help them find opportunities to save. Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to give, you can still help your grandkids look for other opportunities to save. There are thousands of available scholarships, grants, and programs to help students pay for college, and helping them look online and in your community can go a long way.

We live in the golden age of information. The answers tomany of life’s questions are just an internet search away. Despite this readily available wisdom, we still have a bad habit of believing health-relatedmyths. Here are three popular health“facts”that are total works of fiction. College expenses aren’t what they used to be. What used to be affordable to any student with a part-time summer job now can take years to pay off. If your grandkids want to go to college, the cost of education should not be a barrier to their future. Luckily there are ways that you can help ease that financial burden.

BOTTLEDWATER IS SAFER THAN TAP WATER

Seeking out safer water alternatives increases the sales of bottled “spring water” each year. However, bottled water is more expensive, bad for the environment, and, as Dr. Morton Tavel of the Indiana University School of Medicine pointed out, over 50 percent of bottled water is just filtered tap water. The same effect can be achieved with a home filtration system. Of course, if the tap water in your area has been contaminated, bottled water is a safer alternative. However, in most circumstances, bottled water is no healthier than tap water.

THE 5-SECOND RULE KEEPS FOOD SAFE Invest in a 529 Plan. There are no limits on age, income, or monetary contributions attached to this college savings account, and contributions are tax-deductible in some states. Just like a Roth IRA, the earnings grow over time and can be used tax-free for qualifying expenses, like tuition and room . There are a few downsides, however. Funds from a grandparent’s 529 Savings Plan are considered student income and could hurt your student’s eligibility for financial aid. If you choose to fund through a parent’s 529 Plan, which doesn’t count as student income, you lose control over the funds you contribute. Obviously germs and bacteria don’t really wait five seconds to pounce, but snatching your chip off the floor fast keeps most of the germs away, right? Not according to a 2006 study published by Dr. Paul Dawson. He found conclusive evidence that when food comes into contact with a contaminated surface, bacteria are transferred immediately. Even one second spent on tile, wood, or carpet is enough to infest your food with salmonella or another serious contaminant.

CRACKING YOUR KNUCKLES CAUSES ARTHRITIS

College could be your grandchild’s first stop on the path to achieving their dreams. You can be a part of that journey by making sure money doesn’t get in the way of that.

The connection between knuckle-cracking and arthritis came from studies where participants self-reported their habits. Modern medical research has shown these results to be false.

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