Harmonson Law Firm - May 2020

MAY 2020




“It’s always good to have family near when you need support. And in these times, that support can go a long way.”

We’re all looking for silver linings in this tough time. A lot of businesses are closed, and many people are working from home or find themselves temporarily out of work. At the time of writing, our law firm is operating virtually by conducting video conferences and using electronic signatures. Certainly, our investment in technology has paid off and for that, I am pleased. All our clients’ needs are being met, so you might consider that one silver lining! Here’s another, which is all more appropriate this month — moms! Even though many of us are not able to visit our moms in person this year thanks to social distancing, we can still express our thanks to them. I have three great moms in my life who all deserve recognition: my wife, Sheri; Sheri’s mom, Kay; and my mom, Penny. Sheri is a wonderful mom to our 14- and 11-year- olds. And now she’s doing much of the mom thing all over again with our baby Winn. In many respects, it’s very similar to when our two oldest were babies. But as we “start over” as parents in our 40s, there are many differences, too. For one, we’re more aware of the fleeting nature of childhood. As a family, I think we appreciate that much more as we spend time with our kids. We have a new perspective on just how important that time really is. Of course, there have also been many adjustments. Sheri has really taken on the role of mom, which means less time working. She’s found a good balance. As Winn gets older, she may decide to rebalance things. Regardless, I certainly

appreciate all she has done for us. Being at home more often during this time, I see firsthand all of the difficulties Sheri must endure to keep our family up and running. Sheri’s mom, Kay, has been a blessing, too. Sheri’s dad passed away a few years ago, and Kay has been managing this difficult chapter of her life. She’s a strong woman and does so much for our family. Kay lives in Leakey, Texas, deep in the heart of the Texas hill country, so we get to see her fairly often. We love going out there, and she loves visiting us. Our older kids attend summer camp out that direction and aren’t too far away from their grandma’s house. During the summer, Sheri will go out and visit for a couple weeks at a time, too. One thing Kay loves to do is sew. Lately, she has even been sewing designs onto T-shirts for Winn. If you ever bump into us while we’re out and about and you see Winn wearing a cool shirt, there’s a good chance Kay made it! My mom, Penny, plays a very big role in our day- to-day lives. She actually moved out from Austin to be closer to us in El Paso several years ago after her retirement. While her other grandkids live in Austin and Fort Worth, she simply loved El Paso too much to stay away. I can’t blame her. She comes over for dinner just about every night. And when she doesn’t, that usually means she’s out visiting my sister’s family in Fort Worth, and that includes visiting her other granddaughter, beautiful Cora!

We’re blessed to have Mom living in El Paso. In many small ways, it’s made things a lot easier on us. It’s always good to have family near when you need support. And in these times, that support can go a long way. To all the moms who are reading this — including my staff — thank you for all you do! I appreciate the moms in my life and owe them for all the hard work they put in day and night. To everyone else, don’t forget to call your mom this Mother’s Day, and do stay safe out there.

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You just bought your 16-year-old kid a used car so they can drive themselves to school and back home. Everything is going great. You get more time to drink coffee in the morning and check up on your social media while your child gets ready and drives to school on their own. Then it happens. Your child causes an accident when they run a red light while they are trying to find the perfect driving song on their cellphone. The other driver is injured, and now they are threatening to sue you for your child’s mistake. Legally, are you liable for your child’s accident? The good news is that you are not automatically liable for your child’s accident. In Texas, there is no law that makes parents strictly liable for the negligent acts of their minor children. While minors may be liable for causing the accident, you WHO IS LIAB

Summertime is synonymous with many childhood experiences: hours splashing in the pool, sleepaway camp, and snow cones, to name a few. A quintessential summer destination that isn’t as common these days is the drive-in theater, yet many childhood memories are built on this little bit of nostalgia. The first drive-in theater opened in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. At the time, films cost 25 cents per person, plus 25 cents per car, and drive-ins usually got movies in the second run, after they’d shown at indoor theaters. The trend started off slow, but by the ‘50s, Americans had fully embraced the outdoor theater experience. The ‘80s brought a charismatic Michael J. Fox to audiences in “Back to the Future,” and shortly after, “The Sandlot” hit the big screen and gave us lines that we’d quote for the next decade (“You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”). As of 2018, USA Today estimated that only about 330 drive-in theaters still exist in the United States. But if you don’t have one in your area, there’s a way you can enjoy the outdoor movie experience without having to leave your backyard. Your outdoor cinema starts with a projector. If you don’t have one, they are readily available to purchase at most big-box stores. For playing the movie, you’ll need a laptop and streaming service or a DVD or Blu-ray player. You’ll connect these devices to your projector through an HDMI port. As long as you’re not broadcasting to the whole neighborhood, stereo or computer speakers should be just fine, but you can also opt for a Bluetooth speaker that will give your audio a big boost. Next, you’ll need a flat sur face to display the movie. A plain, white bedsheet makes a good screen, or you can make your own with white fabric from craft stores or online. Cushions, blankets, and outdoor hanging lights add a fun touch to your cinema. Just be sure to turn the lights off before the movie begins — and silence those cellphones! Once your setup is complete, select your movie, get the popcorn popping, and enjoy some movie magic right in your backyard.


The first drive-in theater, located in Camden, New Jersey, 1933.


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can generally rest assured that the negligent party cannot sue you and take away everything. The only exception to this general rule is if the other driver can prove that you negligently entrusted your own vehicle to your child. What is “negligent entrustment”? Texas provides a cause of action (a right of recovery) where a person negligently entrusts their vehicle to another person. To meet the burden of proof, the plaintiff (the injured party) must prove the following, in order: 1. The owner entrusted their vehicle to another person. 2. That person was an unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver. 3. The owner knew or should have known that the driver was unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless.

THE OPEN ROAD Staying Safe on the Back of a Motorcycle

We live in a region of the country with plenty of open roads and natural beauty. For motorcyclists, this is a match made in heaven. In Texas today, there are nearly half a million registered motorcycles, making it one of the most popular states for motorcyclists (just behind Georgia and California). As popular as riding a motorcycle is, the activity comes with its fair share of risks. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2017, more than 450 motorcyclists lost their lives in accidents, and nearly 1,900 drivers or passengers were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Many of these people sustained brain or spinal cord damage. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As more people hit the road on the back of their bikes during the next few months, it’s a good time to think about safety. There are many simple steps you or any motorcyclist can take to remain safe on our great roads in and around El Paso. Always wear a helmet. It goes without saying, but sometimes we need a reminder: As much as we may love the wind whipping through our hair, riding without a helmet puts you at serious risk. In fact, riders involved in an accident without a helmet are 40% more likely to suffer from a life-altering brain injury than those who wear a helmet.

4. The driver was negligent on the occasion in question. 5. The driver’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Therefore, you may be liable for causing an accident if you loan your car to your teenager and they drive without a license. Or you could be liable if you loan your vehicle to your teenager and you know that they are a really bad driver, as shown by their history of receiving multiple tickets and/or causing prior wrecks.

This article comes directly from the blog at ClarkHarmonsonAttorney.com/blog. Be sure to visit the blog for more insight from Clark!



Who says the cookout has to ruin your diet? Try this paleo-friendly recipe for a main dish that’s worthy of your next barbecue.

If you are involved in an accident and your helmet is damaged, then you must buy a new one. Helmets only work once. If you’re in an accident and your helmet takes a hit, then it is no longer structurally sound because it took the hit to protect your skull. If you do not replace your helmet and are involved in a second accident, then the helmet will not provide the same level of protection and may cause further injury. Check weather conditions before heading out. Get into the habit of checking the weather before leaving on a ride, even if it’s a quick glance at a weather app on your phone. All kinds of weather can disrupt your ride, so if you suspect poor riding conditions, then it may be best to wait it out. It certainly isn’t worth the risk.


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1 1/2 lbs beef rib roast 1 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp black pepper


1. Take rib roast out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling. 2. Season roast with salt and pepper and allow it to rest for 10 minutes while you heat a gas grill to 600 F. 3. Sear roast for 3–4 minutes on each side. 4. Turn off the grill but continue cooking the steak, flipping every 4–5 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 F. Remove from grill. 5. Allow the roast to rest — its internal temperature will continue to climb — for 5–10 minutes. Slice and serve.

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5505 North Mesa St. Suite 3 • El Paso, TX 79912 WWW.CLARKHARMONSONATTORNEY.COM 915.584.8777


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In Honor of Moms!

The Timeless Charm of the Drive-In Movie

Am I Liable If My Teen Driver Causes a Car Accident?


Grilled Prime Rib

Staying Safe on the Back of a Motorcycle


3 Enriching Staycation Ideas

3 Ways to Replace a Canceled Vacation Vacations provide opportunities for families to spend time together in a relaxed environment, get away from the routines of everyday life, and create meaningful memories. If you’ve recently had to cancel a trip but still want to create the experience of a vacation for your family, then a staycation is just what you need.

your kids about your own knowledge and interests and encourage them to get creative and make their own contributions, too. Have everyone create art, take photos, or write about their prized possessions. Display these masterpieces around your home and let their creators take you on a tour. Learning more about one another builds meaningful bonds.

Transform Your Backyard

Bring Your Trip Home

When you’re trying to recreate a vacation, the outdoor areas of your home present a variety of possibilities. You can turn a sandbox into a relaxing beach, complete with a kiddie pool “ocean.” If you have trees, then set up a zip line or obstacle course. You can even stimulate summer brains with a scavenger hunt around the backyard with hidden clues in the dirt or bushes. The ultimate prize can be something you would have purchased on your original vacation, like a souvenir you can find online.

You probably chose your original vacation destination in order to experience new and different cultures and activities. But just because you’re no longer traveling to that location doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of what it has to offer! Research popular local cuisine, activities, and history of the area, then create ways to experience them with your family. Cook a traditional meal, recreate a scenic location through photographs, or share a story about local lore and history. Your changed plans will no longer feel like a missed opportunity. Staying at home doesn’t mean your family can’t have the fun of a vacation. All it takes is a little creativity and innovation to build an experience that will bring your family closer together.

Create a ‘Family Museum’

Many vacations include an educational aspect in order to enrich our understanding of the place we’re visiting, and museums are a great way to accomplish that. If you’re confined to the house, then teach


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