The Law Offices of Seymour Wasserstrum - July 2020

The Law Offices of Seymour Wasserstrum

205 West Landis Ave. Vineland, NJ 08360 • 1040 Kings Highway North, Ste. 304, Cherry Hil l, NJ 08034 July 2020 856-696-8300

There Is No Shame in Bankruptcy! Pushing Back Against Stereotypes in the Age of COVID-19

(Trump included, six times for his businesses), and evenmy own father —have filed for bankruptcy, received a totally fresh start, and emergedmuch better off. The U.S. Constitution gives you the absolute right to file for bankruptcy, and taking advantage of that law is smart. It will give you debt relief, stress relief, a new lease on life, and the opportunity for a brighter financial future. Some additional relief is available to you right now, even if you don’t file for bankruptcy. In the last fewmonths, aid packages and important changes in the law have financially helped millions of Americans. Federal student loan payments have been suspended through Sept. 30, and simply making a phone call may be enough to get you a deferral on your monthly mortgage payment, car payments, and credit card payments. The deadline to file federal taxes has also been pushed back to July 15. All of this is in addition to individual relief checks, increases in unemployment checks, and various benefits that have been granted to small businesses. I would never recommend that anyone file for bankruptcy unless they clearly need to. Also keep in mind that you can file bankruptcy more than once or twice. Even though it’s a great option to have, there are a lot of things we can do before you reach that point. For example, when needed, I do my best to help clients get loan modifications, reduce their interest rates and monthly payments, and work out deals with their mortgage companies. If they have credit card debt, I often look into debt settlement, and if they owe back taxes, I can work on an offer in compromise with the IRS. In conclusion, always remember that bankruptcy is your constitutional right, and there is absolutely no shame or stigma in exercising your legal rights. It can improve your life in somany ways. Not only

In the last few months, COVID-19 has changed just about everything. Some things have changed for the better, like our community spirit, but many have changed for the worse. It’s pretty obvious that the ultimate result of these changes — including stock market fluctuations and massive unemployment — is that, unfortunately, a lot more people are and will be suffering serious financial challenges. If you’re worried about whether you’ll be able to pay your mortgage or other debts this month, bankruptcy could very well be a great option for you. I’ve been practicing law since 1973, and I’ve been focusing on personal and business bankruptcy for the last 25 years. In that time, I’ve worked with thousands of people in financial distress. One thing my clients often tell me is that they feel ashamed to file for bankruptcy because the “B word” sometimes comes with stereotypes and stigma. That’s completely understandable, but the truth is that possibly more than 2 million people may file for bankruptcy in 2020, and bankruptcy can be a beautiful blessing for those who need it. If you feel ashamed about the idea of filing or worry that it might impact your reputation, consider this: Over the years, thousands of very successful people— including actors and actresses, sports stars, politicians and presidents

have I seen this with somany of my clients, but I’ve also seen it firsthand inmy own family. In the late 1950s, my father filed for bankruptcy for our family chicken farm. Shortly after, he was back on his feet and able to buy the mom-and-pop grocery, Sam’s Market, that I talked about inmy last newsletter. He worked hard there for 22 years, and his earnings put me through college and law school. That’s a successful life inmy book! If you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can be totally debt-free in as little as four months and keep your house, vehicles, retirement plans, and personal possessions. To learnmore about how bankruptcy can help you, call me today at 856-696-8300 and ask for a copy of my 30-page Bankruptcy Success Guide. I’ll send it to you for free! And for more valuable information on how to wipe out your bills, check out my website, . I wish you all the best. As strong Americans, we are going to make it through this crisis. I believe that there are better and brighter days ahead for all of us.

My new report “‘Don’t Fear Foreclosure, Fight Foreclosure’ – Seymour’s Guide to Saving Your Home” is now available. Call 856-696-8300 or visit our website to request your FREE copy!

-Seymour Wasserstrum | 1

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violated copyright law. She cited 18 “similarities” to bolster her massive claim. For instance, Tanikumi claimed that both her book and the movie had stories of intense sisterly love, scenes under the moon, and talk about cold hearts. The tenuousness of the similarities alone would cause most people to dismiss Tanikumi’s claim like they would the ramblings of a red yarn- loving conspiracy theorist. And that’s just what the judge who oversaw the case did, granting Disney’s motion to dismiss. The judge stated that copyright law protects expressions but not ideas. The themes that Tanikumi believed Disney had stolen from her story were under public domain, usable by anyone without permission. Only Tanikumi herself knows for sure why she went through all that trouble. Everyone else will just have to speculate what gave her the gall to take on a media juggernaut like Disney in court with next to no viable case. That said, several reviews of her memoir on Amazon mention ties to “Frozen,” so make of that what you will.

This is the story of a woman who just couldn’t let it go. It was the fall of 2014 — Dennis Rodman became friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with Oscar winners at the Academy Awards became the most retweeted image of all time. And an author sued Disney for $250 million after she claimed that the company stole major elements of her published memoir to craft the movie “Frozen.” “Frozen”was released in November 2013 and saw massive box office success and critical acclaim. It seemed like Walt Disney Animation Studios was finally hitting their stride and catching up to Pixar movies’ quality animation and storytelling. Unfortunately, high-profile movie projects and financiers with deep pockets tend to attract all sorts of hullabaloo in the form of frivolous lawsuits. Author Isabella Tanikumi, whose only notable work to date is her 2011 memoir “Yearnings of the Heart,” sued Disney for an egregious $250 million after claiming that the winter wonderland adventures of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf were stolen straight from her memoir and her life and


legitimate. Scammers use links to spread malware on computers, which helps them get your personal information.

While it seems like the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic might be behind us, that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down completely — especially when it comes to internet scams designed to prey on the fear and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. It’s no surprise that scammers have found ways to use the coronavirus scare as an opportunity to steal personal information from the vulnerable. Fortunately, you can spot coronavirus scammers using the same techniques that help identify otherwise run-of-the-mill phishing scams. REQUESTS FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION When the federal government started distributing relief checks, several scammers sent out unsolicited emails, disguised as legitimate instructions, asking for personal information from people in order to receive their $1,200. Since many people have now received their checks, this particular scam may become less common, but always be suspicious of emails that ask for personal information, no matter the circumstances. SUSPICIOUS LINKS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES During the past few months, people’s email inboxes have been littered with advertisements for fake coronavirus tests and cures, fake alerts from government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and fake coronavirus updates. If you get an email containing an unusual link in your inbox, do not click on it — even if the email address looks

SPELLING AND GRAMMAR MISTAKES This is usually a dead giveaway. While genuine, official updates about the coronavirus will be meticulously checked for spelling and grammar,

scammers aren’t as careful. Missing periods, misspelled words, and wacky syntax errors are all hallmarks of scam emails. Make sure you carefully read any email you’re not sure about.

If you can spot spelling and grammar mistakes, delete the email. Much like the coronavirus will remain in the American psyche long after cases and deaths have peaked, scammers will

continue using it as a means to steal from honest, hardworking Americans. But, if we keep our guard up, we can make sure they get absolutely nothing from their efforts.

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The Wacky Evolution of the Knock-Knock Joke

Knock knock! Who’s there? Theresa. Theresa who? Theresa crowd!

Unless you’re living under a rock, odds are you’ve laughed, grumbled, or groaned in response to a knock-knock joke. You may have even told a few yourself before you realized knock-knock jokes had gone out of style in favor of sarcasm and memes. That’s because at their core, knock-knock jokes are a quintessential American experience — and the perfect homegrown fodder for International Joke Day, which falls on July 1. But where did they come from, and why do so many people knock the knock-knock joke today? Well, according to NPR, knock-knock jokes have had a roller coaster of a history. Near as we can tell, they actually evolved from another kind of joke: the “Do You Know” joke. This style of joke was popular in the early 1900s, and according to an Oakland Tribune article NPR dug up, this was a typical one:


Inspired by

Do you know Arthur?

Contrary to popular belief, vegetables are delicious. Most of our parents just didn’t know how to prepare them well. This summer, revolutionize your cookout with a serving of delicious, colorful veggies.

Arthur who?



Not very funny, is it? Well, over the years this style of back-and- forth jesting evolved into knock-knock jokes. The popularity of the “knock knock” bit of the joke could harken back to Shakespeare, who BestLife credits with “the first-known occurrence of a knock knock, who’s-there dialogue” in Act 2 of “Macbeth” (though it likely wasn’t intended to be funny), or it could be a reference to 1936 vice presidential hopeful Frank Knox, whose name made “knock knock” irresistible wordplay for the radio. Whatever the reason, knock knocks were all the rage in the 1930s, to the extent that people formed knock-knock clubs, businesses held knock-knock contests, and orchestras set them to music. However, the heyday was short-lived. In the following years, people started getting sick of knock knocks, and even psychologists turned against them. According to NPR, “people who loved knock- knock jokes were said to have social problems.” Today, knock-knock jokes are still around, but they’re mostly considered a game for kids or demoted to the realm of “bad dad jokes.”Maybe you think that’s warranted, maybe you think it’s tragic — either way, odds are the format will continue to evolve and probably outlive us all!

onion, red bell peppers, baby carrots, and yellow squash are great on the grill)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

5 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 lbs assorted vegetables, trimmed and halved (asparagus, mushrooms, red

1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped


1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. 2. Brush vegetables with olive oil and place in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice and seasoning mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. 3. Prepare the grill at medium-high heat. 4. Grill vegetables in batches, cooking 3–5 minutes on each side until browned and tender. (Carrots will cook longer, 6–9 minutes per side.) 5. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot. | 3

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The Law Offices of Seymour Wasserstrum



205 West Landis Avenue Vineland, NJ 08360



There Is No Shame in Bankruptcy!

The Case That Was Frozen on Arrival How to Spot a Coronavirus Scam Email


The Secret to Delicious Grilled Veggies The Wacky Evolution of the Knock-Knock Joke



What Does the Constitution Mean to You?

WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION MEAN TO YOU? Debating the Document That’s Shaped Our Country

15-year-old Heidi (played by Schreck in the original production) as she gives her speech and talks about the Constitution. At other times,

Most teenagers are more interested in hanging out with their friends and listening to the next cool band than diving into the United States Constitution. But that’s exactly how some students have been spending their mornings, afternoons, and evenings: studying and preparing to debate their peers all over the nation about the contents of the 200-year-old document. Their motivation? Prestige, honor, and thousands of dollars of scholarship money. Sponsored by the American Legion, these constitutional debates were started in 1938 with the intent to “develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students,” according to the Legion’s website. In the process of writing the speeches they’ll debate, students under 20 learn the history of U.S. laws and develop a better understanding of the rights and privileges of American citizenship. The legion offers up over $188,000 annually in scholarship money to debate winners. For one of those winners, in addition to helping pay her way through college, the debate experience also provided fodder for a Broadway play. In “What the Constitution Means to Me,” playwright and actor Heidi Schreck recounts her experience of debating the Constitution in American Legion halls all over the U.S. In the largely autobiographical play, theatergoers get to see the experience through the eyes of

viewers see the grown-up Schreck reflect on the evolution of the Constitution’s meaning over the years and how her debate experiences shaped her understanding of what it means to live under the rules of this governing document.

For Heidi Schreck, as well as for hundreds of other debaters, developing a

close relationship with the Constitution helped pay her way through college and gave her a better understanding of the principles our country was built on. This month is a great time to take a look at the document that shaped our country’s past

and continues to shape its future.

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