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A SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR
And we’re off! Beginning with Thanksgiving, the holiday season is underway, and the festivities continue through January. For us, that means a lot of time with family celebrating annual traditions and making new ones. We
too, but for Hanukkah, everyone comes together in one place — all three generations of his family. Josh’s family hosts an annual Hanukkah party, and they plan it far enough in advance that 99 percent of the family can make it. Jacob really looks forward to this gathering; it’s one of the traditions he starts asking us about early in the season. He loves being with his cousins. All the kids are there, and they get to play together and exchange gifts. It’s pretty cool to see them reunite as if no time has passed and to see how things evolve each year. It’s a special time. For Christmas, we usually transfer our nuclear family to be wherever my parents are. We spend the days around the holiday with my aunt and grandmother. In years of the dreaded December dilemma — when Hanukkah and Christmas overlap — we celebrate at my parent’s house with my aunt and grandmother. Since Jacob was about 1, we started our tradition of hosting a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party. As an integral part of our work and our life, Andy also comes to the party each year. We start early enough that he can still go out with his friends after. The party starts around 6 or 7 p.m., and thanks to Netflix, which sure knows how to appeal to its audience, we show a prerecorded ball drop so that our New Year’s can come a little earlier than midnight. Our promise to other parents is that if they show up with their kids, we’ll have food and snacks, and we’ll usher in the “new year” at 9 p.m., so everyone can get a reasonable bedtime. We have sparkling cider for the kids, Champagne for the grown-ups, and Ring Pops to “ring” in the new year. The kids get to hang out, and the adults have a fun time, too. Some family and friends stay longer, and some go to bed before midnight. It’s an evolved tradition that started pre-parenthood and continued. Before Jacob was born, our friends did an adults-only New Year’s Eve party, and this is our kid-friendly version of that. Even as things change and evolve in our lives, we make time for the people who are close to us. That’s what the holidays are all about, right?
spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my dad and
enjoyed the season in Florida. It was a chance to reconnect and take a little extra time to be with our loved ones.
Things slow down a bit at the office, so I usually work remotely to be there for my clients while also being here
for family time. I find this helps me return to the office feeling rejuvenated. Do you feel the same way? When we take time to do things we find enjoyable, we’re able to show up better for our clients, family, and friends. We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our family and put the focus not just on receiving but on giving back. We have conversations with Jacob about ways to do this. He gets an allowance every week, and around Hanukkah, he picks a charity to donate his allowance to. I’m glad it’s something that will be part of his holiday tradition from a young age. Hanukkah is also one of the rare times we get to be with all of Josh’s family. We see them at other times of the year,
–Meliha Perez Halp ern
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Fake Discounts and Angry Shoppers A MASSIVE BLACK FRIDAY LAWSUIT
Shoppers flock to retailers every Black Friday in hopes of securing the best deals on the year’s hottest products. There are many nasty aspects of Black Friday — the long lines, the overzealous shoppers, the limited stock of items — but phony pricing and fake sales shouldn’t be among them. But that’s exactly what happened to folks in Los Angeles during the 2016 holiday season, leading to the biggest Black Friday lawsuit in history.
Duping your customers is a bad business practice, but what makes it illegal? Well, California law requires that retailers post a retail price no higher than what the product was sold at within three months prior to the ad. “Families today … are striving to get the very most they can get from an extremely hard-earned holiday shopping dollar,” said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. “They deserve to make an informed decision.” After the suit was brought against them, the retailers all quickly moved to settle, promising to never engage in false reference pricing again. Most retailers offer discounts around the holidays to encourage shoppers to come into their stores or visit their websites. Promotions and sales are great tools in any business’s arsenal, provided they aren’t out to mislead customers. Big-box stores may try to manipulate innocent people, and it’s up to aggrieved customers to hold those corporations accountable. Nearly every year, you’ll read about a class-action lawsuit that develops in response to the shady tactics of businesses eager to secure those holiday shopping dollars. Are there great bargains to be had on Black Friday? Of course. But if something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let retailers trick you into a purchase you wouldn’t make otherwise.
In December of 2016, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, and Kohl’s for a practice called “false reference pricing,” a nefarious tactic whereby retailers lie about the original price of an item to make a discount appear bigger than it actually is. For example, Sears sold a Kenmore washing machine at a “sale price” of $999.99, compared to a “regular price” of $1,179.99. The problem was the so-called sale price was actually the price that product was offered at every day. Therefore, it wasn’t actually on sale.
YOUR ACTIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Being involved in a collision can be a stressful time in your life. While you’re worried about bills, insurance, injuries, or the other people in your vehicle, you might not be thinking too hard about your actions. Being aware of how you are perceived after a collision is highly important. You might not realize the impact a simple act, such as texting your family to let them know what happened to you, can be used against you to prevent a claim that you deserve. Many people don’t know that everyone you interact with during the minutes and hours following a motor vehicle collision is watching you to see if you are genuinely hurt. Pérez Halpern, LLC recently had a client who was involved in an accident and witnessed this phenomenon firsthand. While they were taken from the collision site to the emergency room via ambulance, the client sat texting in the captain’s seat in the back of the ambulance. The EMS personnel saw the client doing this and noted that fact in the ambulance report. While there is no doubt in our minds that our client was hurt, we’re sure the at-fault insurance carrier will try to use this note to claim that our client may not have been truly injured at all. It’s sad to think that even the simplest of actions can
be used against you by an insurance carrier trying to wheedle their way out of getting you the money you need.
Attorney Meliha Pérez Halpern recommends that you try to be aware of your actions after an accident. While we understand that you are hurt and may have other things on your mind, be mindful of what can be perceived by others. If you start to face any problems with your insurance carrier, consult an attorney. One of the best things to do after you’re involved in a collision is to speak with a lawyer you trust. Our law office will do everything in our power to get you the compensation you need to recover from this sudden and unexpected event in your life. Let us know the extent of your collision, and we can help you decide the best course of action to take.
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Holiday Transportation Options
From office parties to family gatherings, the holiday season is filled with festivities. It’s fun to get decked out and celebrate with friends and family. But what about getting home at the end of the night? Icy roads and late nights don’t mix, and if you plan to drink, a better option is to leave the driving to someone else. You might turn to one of the many mass-transit options in our area and hop on the train or light rail, or you can take your pick from the transportation services below. SOBER RIDE This national ride service can be accessed at SoberRides.org and offers quick services as well as resources for alternative modes of transportation. On holidays, including Halloween and New Year’s Eve, Sober Rides offers free rides in metropolitan areas, including around D.C. Check out Wrap.org/SoberRide for upcoming free-ride dates and more information. APP-DRIVEN RIDE-SHARE SERVICES You’re probably familiar with Uber and Lyft, two of the most common apps for requesting a ride. All it takes is downloading the app, and
your ride is a click away. During peak request times like New Year’s Eve, prices spike, so plan accordingly. DESIGNATED DRIVER If someone going to the party plans not to drink, they might volunteer to be the designated driver. If a friend or family member isn’t going to the party, ask if they would be willing to pick you up at the end of the night. Offer to return the favor next time. RIDE IN STYLE If you want to ring in the new year in style, a limousine service in the Baltimore area, like A Touch of Class, can really take your night to the next level. Plan to get a group of other partygoers in on the event and make a night out of it. Here’s the bottom line: While there is so much fun going on, don’t forget about making good decisions. Please be safe this holiday season. If you are in doubt about your ability to drive, use one of these driving services. It’s never worth the risk.
Ingredients • 2 large green plantains, peeled
• 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock • 1/2 teaspoon salt • Black pepper, to taste • Cilantro, chopped, to garnish
• 2 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons sofrito (or 1 large frozen cube) • 2 garlic cloves, minced
Directions 1. Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high.
2. Add sofrito and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. 3. While stock is in the pot, grate plantains with the largest holes of a box grater. Once stock is boiling, add plantains, stir, and reduce heat to low. Simmer soup for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. After the 25 minutes have elapsed, purée soup with an immersion or countertop blender (in batches if using countertop blender). Season soup with salt and pepper, stir in cilantro, and serve.
Adapted from “Puerto Rico Sabor Criollo.” The recipe has been modified to four servings from the original eight.
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The Biggest Black Friday Lawsuit in History PAGE 2
Be Conscious of Your Actions PAGE 2
Transportation Options for the Holiday Party PAGE 3
Plantain Soup PAGE 3
What Do My Symptoms Mean? PAGE 4
Contact me for all of your auto accident and personal injury needs! 4 Winter Illnesses You' ’ d Rather Avoid
ACHOO! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether.
INFLUENZA The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. STREP THROAT A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep. This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until
THE COMMON COLD Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week.
BRONCHIOLITIS Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms.
they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
Everyone knows that getting sick is no fun and is best avoided at all costs. However, it happens to everyone eventually. Catching a virus or infection in its early stages can help you shake the sickness much faster.
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