Schuelke Law - April 2023

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April 2023

PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND FOCUS ON THE ROAD! It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As a personal injury lawyer, I often work with people involved in car accidents. These accidents can be traumatic, leaving them injured or worse. Sometimes, trauma sets in, and they grow afraid to enter another vehicle for months or even years. What’s so upsetting about these situations is that, in many cases, these accidents were avoidable, as they were caused by distracted driving. This April, we can refine our driving skills and make the roads safer for all when we recognize Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving claims approximately 3,500 lives a year, more than we lost on 9/11. Sadly, Texas is over-represented in that number, as 15% of those deaths occur in our state. The Texas Department of Transportation states that 1 out of 4 wrecks in the state involves distracted driving and claims lives. Three main types of distractions put drivers in trouble while behind the wheel. The first is visual distractions, which take your eyes off the road. This includes looking at your GPS or the passenger in your car. The next form is manual distractions, which take your hands off the wheel, like when you adjust the radio dial or grab a drink. The final type of distraction is cognitive, which takes your mind off the road to think about something else. Every kind of distraction while driving is dangerous but even more so when the different types are combined. We’re all guilty of distracted driving from time to time, but some of us are frequent offenders. Those who text and drive embody all three types: manual, visual, and cognitive distraction. Sending a text message while driving 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. One of the worst parts about texting and driving is that we know it’s wrong, but many do it anyway. According to AAA, 94% of teen drivers acknowledged the dangers of texting and driving, yet 35% admitted they do it regularly. But it’s not just teens who are guilty of texting and driving. People of all ages do it and put everyone on the road at risk. It’s rare to go for a drive and not see someone on their phone.

off the road, putting my client in extreme danger. Thankfully, my client was paying attention and could avoid a head-on collision. The wreck would likely have killed everyone in both vehicles if they had also been distracted. So, how do we stop distracted driving in its tracks? It mainly comes down to willpower. Texting and driving in Texas is illegal, and some areas have even more limitations. Drivers under 18 aren’t allowed to use their phones at all while driving. When you get a text, you must be disciplined enough not to look at it. If you can’t do that, you should turn your phone off or put it away while driving. Apps on the market can help, but it all comes down to willpower. You must recognize the risk and take steps to eliminate the habit. Eliminating distracted driving starts with each of us. Keep your phone and other distractions at bay while driving, and you’ll make the roads safer for all.

-C. Brooks Schuelke

I worked on a case recently where something slipped between a driver’s seat, causing them to reach for it. They took their eyes | 1

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outdoors, and do not hang your clean laundry outside to dry. After you have been outdoors, remove your clothing and wash your hair and skin to remove any traces of pollen. Do not cut the grass, pull weeds, or do any gardening. Remove pollen from indoor air. It’s inevitable that pollen will get inside your home and vehicle. To combat this, utilize your air conditioning or invest in a certified allergy air filter! A dehumidifier and/or an air purifier will help to lower the pollen spore count in the air. Rinse out your sinuses. When pollen overwhelms your sinus passages, one of the best things to do is to rinse out your airways. A sinus flush with a saline solution is one of the easiest and most effective ways to eliminate the pollen that irritates your respiratory system. Take over-the-counter medications. After checking with your doctor or health care provider, choose an over-the-counter medication that is right for your symptoms. Medications like oral antihistamines, oral decongestants, and corticosteroid nasal sprays are all beneficial in reducing the effects of seasonal allergies. When Pollen Strikes Nipping Spring Allergies in the Bud

Spring has arrived! However, rebirth and renewal aren’t the only things in the air. During spring, trees, weeds, plants, and grasses release small grains of pollen into the air to fertilize other plants. Because the pollen is small and light, it travels through the wind and frequently causes allergic reactions. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include congestion, sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, an itchy throat, watering eyes, and irritation in the roof of your mouth. If you’re prone to experiencing allergies all spring long, here are some useful tips to keep them at bay. Reduce your exposure. During spring months, keep the windows in your home and car closed. On particularly windy or dry days, avoid spending time

Hold the Cheese, Please! McDonald’s Customers Sue for Being Forced to Pay for Cheese

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, things got a little crazy! Two McDonald’s customers sued the fast-food chain for $5 million, alleging they were unfairly charged when they ordered Quarter Pounders without cheese. According to the lawsuit, the fast-food restaurant chain historically had four menu options: a Quarter Pounder with cheese, a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, a Quarter Pounder, and a Double Quarter Pounder. The “with cheese” options were roughly between 30 cents and 90 cents more expensive than the “without cheese” burgers. At some point, McDonald’s discontinued the “without cheese” options.

not receive cheese on their burger but were charged the same price as a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Their lawsuit states that they, and other customers who do not want cheese on their burgers, are forced to pay for two slices of cheese anyway, and they sued for damages as a result of being overcharged and required to pay for American cheese when they did not want or receive it on their burger.

According to USA Today, a McDonald’s spokesperson advised that the company does its best to allow customers to customize their food orders. If someone doesn’t want cheese as it is listed on the menu, the fast-food chain will not include cheese, thus they didn’t think the lawsuit has any merit.

Only a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese were available at the time these two customers visited the restaurant. The ingredients listed on McDonald’s website for these items include a sesame seed bun, quarter- pound 100% beef patty, ketchup, onions, pasteurized processed American cheese, and pickle slices.

And because the McDonald’s customers failed to prove they were damaged by an overcharge, the case was dismissed!

These customers ordered Quarter Pounders but asked for no cheese on their burger, and they did

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FIND MORE ‘YOU’ TIME Developing a Self-Care Routine

Life isn’t easy — when juggling a career, family, children, social obligations, and housework, finding time for yourself can be difficult. Studies show that roughly 59% of individuals only make time for self-care after they’ve become stressed out. Here are some ways to develop a healthy routine that suits your busy life. Become intentional. When developing a self-care ritual, it’s essential to identify your reasons behind taking better care of yourself and to pinpoint your needs. With a clear vision and motive behind your efforts, developing healthy habits to nurture and incorporate into your everyday routine becomes easier. Create large and small self-care options. You don’t need to do the same self-care ritual all the time, but make it a point to do something for yourself every day. On busier days, you may only have a moment to take a few deep breaths and mentally reset, but on other days, you may have time for a relaxing bath, massage, workout, or pedicure. Make time for hobbies. Most people find themselves constantly juggling countless tasks and obligations. With so much to do, making time for your least favorite activities likely won’t happen; instead, do something you enjoy. After all, self- care is about you! Yoga, reading, journaling, jogging, and meditating are just a few ways to get in some “you time.” If you like it, do it! Plan your self-care time. Without adding self-care to your schedule, your healthy behaviors may get placed on the back burner. Block off time for your favorite activities: Once it’s on your calendar, you’re more likely to work a routine into your day. Keep it simple. Complex rituals may create more stress or anxiety when you should be relaxing. Instead, keep it simple by focusing on relaxing, breathing, and recharging. Go for a walk in the park, take a nap, get a massage, stretch, or take a few moments to do absolutely nothing. Simplicity is the key.


Inspired by


• 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2- inch pieces • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, halved • Salt and ground pepper • 3 tbsp butter, divided • 8 oz button mushrooms, trimmed

• 8 oz shallots, peeled and halved

• 3 cups chicken broth • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 8 oz egg noodles • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

Directions 1. In a large pan over medium heat, cook bacon until browned, 7–9 minutes. Remove from heat, discard fat, and set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Return pan to medium-high heat and melt 2 tbsp butter. Add chicken, skin-side down. Cook, turning a few times, for 10–12 minutes until browned. Transfer to a plate. 2. Place remaining 1 tbsp butter in pan to melt. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook 8–10 minutes. Add broth and cream; bring to a boil. Stir in noodles. 3. Add chicken (skin-side up), cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring once halfway through. Cook about 10–12 minutes. 4. Uncover and simmer until thickened. Stir in dill and top with bacon. Serve and enjoy! | 3

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3011 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 200 Austin, TX 78705


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The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Combating Spring Allergies Hold the Cheese, Please!

One-Pan Chicken and Mushrooms With Egg Noodles Putting Together a Self-Care Routine


Illinois’ Sip and Spit Law


Sip … But You Must Spit Check Out This Strange Illinois Law!

By law, in the United States, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years old. When an individual under 21 breaks the law and consumes alcohol, they are subject to arrest and hefty fines. However, there’s a loophole in Illinois. In 2012, the Illinois State Senate voted 48–6 in favor of passing a “sip and spit” law for Illinois culinary students over 18 but under the legal drinking age of 21. This strange law enabled these students to know their wine well without becoming intoxicated. The students can only sample the wines during their scheduled class times, and an adult that is 21 or older must supervise. Each sample of wine must be less than a shot’s worth in volume, and most importantly, they cannot swallow — they must just taste the wine, then spit it out. Culinary students nationwide rely on nonalcoholic wines to learn about the taste, color, and smell of wines and how to best pair them with their dishes, but

unfortunately, virgin wines taste nothing like actual wines! This leaves a gap in many culinary students’ education and may even force them to relearn the skill once they turn 21 and sample alcoholic wines. According to CBS News, Emily Williams Knight, the president of Kendall College, a private Illinois university that focuses on culinary arts, says “taste training” is an integral part of culinary education for young students, which includes learning

to pair dishes and meals with adult beverages. Understanding the different tastes and notes of various wines is essential to help these students succeed and prepare them for culinary arts and hospitality management careers. On Aug. 24, 2012, Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 758 into law so Kendall College students over 18 but younger than 21 could better develop their wine-tasting skills to enhance their culinary abilities. However, the rule is clear: Sip … but you must spit!

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