Schuelke Law - March 2024

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March 2024

Into the World of Social Media TAKING THE PLUNGE

At the urging of my biggest critics — my kids — our law firm is entering the 20th century. How, you may ask? By having the firm jump into the world of social media. We’re not actually jumping in currently; we’ve been dipping our toes in for a while, but I haven’t been comfortable enough to share and ask people to follow us. I’m still not comfortable with it all, but if I don’t fully commit now, I may never do so. Why are we doing it? Obviously, there is pressure from my kids. But more than that, one thing we’re committed to is educating people about their rights in personal injury claims and trying to help folks — even those who are not our clients — try to avoid being cheated by insurance companies. I’ve been reluctantly convinced that we can reach more people with that message and that help through social media. Because we’re a personal injury firm and because our main goal is educating people about personal injury issues, most of our posts will answer those questions. But we’ll have some posts about general law issues, some reviews of my favorite business and leadership books (I’m still figuring out the best format for those), and other posts about random things I find interesting in Austin or other places. Since you are my community, I’m asking that you help me with the process in a couple of ways. First, please follow along. You can follow the firm’s posts at:

from the various posts. Did you have questions you wished you had answered before hiring a lawyer? Did you have questions about what was going on during the process? Are there general things you want to know about me or the firm? What other things would you find interesting? I’m going to try to give you a reason to help. For those new followers we get in March and April (and maybe longer) and for those who submit proposed topic ideas, we’ll have some drawings and send out some prizes. I don’t have it all nailed down yet, but I’m thinking we’ll get some Yeti tumblers or something similar we can send out to those whose names we draw. Now, I’m not going to promise I’m going to have the best content in the world, especially as we’re starting out. Right now, my goal is to avoid being the WWSML (World’s Worst Social Media Lawyer). That’s a standard I hope we can meet, especially with your help.

Instagram: SchuelkeLaw

Facebook: Schuelke Law

TikTok: @civtrial (and no, you won’t find me doing any crazy dances — too big a risk that I hurt myself there)

- Brooks Schuelke

Second, please email me at with post ideas. Let me know what kind of things you might want to learn about | 1

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How Someone Under 21 Can Legally Consume Alcohol WHEN MINORS ARE ALLOWED TO IMBIBE

When it comes to drinking age requirements, the U.S. is strict for a Western country. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was enacted in 1984, which raised the minimum age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21. It also set a precedent for the age requirement for other substances. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned tobacco purchase for anyone under 21, and recreational cannabis is similarly age-restricted. While the law dictates that people under 21 can’t consume alcohol, that’s not the whole story. There are many exemptions nationwide, with every state having unique age requirement laws. Even counties can have special restrictions. American Indian reservations have independent sovereignty, so they don’t follow American laws at all. Religious Ceremonies and Services Currently, 26 states allow for religious exemptions for underage alcohol consumption. Alcohol is commonly used in many religious services; for example, Christian communion often involves a sip of wine. These legal loopholes are why priests aren’t arrested every Sunday. States that don’t have laws for religious exemptions never generally enforce the alcohol requirement on religious organizations, so they are practically legal. Medicinal Purposes People use alcohol for more than just recreation: it’s often used for medicinal purposes, too. For example, cough syrup uses it to break down ingredients. It is thus legal for medicinal purposes in 16 states, including Wyoming and Utah. Isopropyl and rubbing alcohol are distinct from the ethyl alcohol used in spirits, so they aren’t regulated similarly. Drinking for Education Alcohol is a culinary mainstay for many cultures, and many dishes include alcohol as an essential component — tiramisu, coq au vin, and flambé, to name a few. For minors interested in pursuing a culinary career, preventing them from accessing alcohol can be detrimental to their education. So, many states allow students enrolled in the culinary arts — including brewing, enology (the study of wines), and hospitality — to consume alcohol for educational purposes. For example, in Florida, students can drink as much as they want as long they’re on campus and have specific curriculums. Undercover Imbibing Minors can work for law enforcement. If they’re going undercover to expose illegal activities, there’s a good chance they’ll be offered

alcohol or put into situations where drinking is advisable. In Hawaii and Michigan, undercover agents are allowed to purchase or consume alcohol so long as it pertains to their assignment. With Family Some parents prefer that their children drink at home for various reasons. A few argue it discourages drunk driving and other risky behavior. Others just like to share a beverage with their children at dinner. Regardless of the reasons, several states allow underage drinking in the presence of a family member or guardian. The details of this exception vary widely. For example, some stipulate that a family member must provide the alcohol, like in New Mexico. Many states restrict alcohol to home use only, such as in Nebraska. Texas and other states allow the exemption in any location, such as restaurants. Drinking is distinct from possession, in case things weren’t complicated enough. In 19 states, minors can possess alcohol with parental consent. Other states, like Utah, prohibit alcohol possession at all times. Other Complexities The law is always nuanced, but few are as complex as the tangled web of alcohol restrictions. States like Pennsylvania restrict the drinking age and require sellers to fulfill strict requirements, like only selling beer and wine under 5.7% alcohol. Meanwhile, Louisianians sell daiquiris from drive-thrus (so long as they don’t have straws). The bottom line is that the U.S. has so much variety because it allows the states to set their own guidelines, and the differing cultures within states and counties affect their drinking laws. “The bottom line is that the U.S. has so much variety because it allows the states to set their own guidelines, and the differing cultures within states and counties affect their drinking laws.” ”

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BIGFOOT IS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES!? A Washington County’s Unique Hunting Ban Most people don’t consider the legality of Bigfoot hunting, but in Washington state, it’s part of the law. In Skamania County, it’s illegal to kill the mythological ape. Should someone murder the creature, they’d face a stiff penalty. Bigfoot — sometimes called Sasquatch — is an elusive ape-like cryptid said to roam the forests of North America. It allegedly has reddish-brown fur, a gorilla-like body, and its namesake big feet. Some claim Bigfoot is the “missing link” between walking apes and our ancestors, who walked on all fours. Most scientists dispute the claim, saying that any ancestor this old likely would’ve adapted or gone extinct. Bigfoot was first spotted in California in 1958, and most sightings since occur in Washington state. Per every 100,000 people, 9.12 sightings are in the Evergreen State. That’s a third more often than its neighbor Oregon, the runner-up at 6.06. If there were a Bigfoot capital of the world, it’d be in Washington. On April 1, 1969, the Skamania County legislature enacted Ordinance 1969-01, the first law prohibiting the killing of Bigfoot. Anyone convicted of murdering the cryptid would be classified as a felon and imprisoned for five years. While modified decades later, it set an important precedent: Bigfoot is a protected species. Tourism picked up shortly after that. Bigfoot mania officially hit the U.S. in the 1970s as directors released films like “Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot.” New Bigfoot enthusiasts started to visit Washington in droves, hoping to be the first to find proof of its existence. While locals appreciated the influx of cash from tourism, they didn’t appreciate the influx of guns from Bigfoot hunters. County legislatures enacted a new ordinance in 1984. It further clarified the regulations on Bigfoot and designated the ape as an endangered species. As such, hunting Bigfoot with the intent to kill is illegal. However, the ordinance softened the penalty for hunting Bigfoot, lowering the penalty for poachers to a year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000. Every law has some logic; no matter how frivolous it may seem, there’s a reason why lawmakers went through the trouble. While this law may seem unnecessary, it protects “Bigfoot” and the Skamania County citizens alike.


Chipotle-Inspired Chicken Burrito Bowl Inspired by


• 2 boneless chicken breasts • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 tsp paprika • 1 tsp cumin • 1/2 tsp chili pepper • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp pepper • 1 cup white or brown rice, cooked • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce • 1 cup canned corn

• 1 cup canned black beans • 1 avocado, cubed • 1/4 cup sour cream • 1/4 cup shredded cheese For Salsa • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro • 1/2 tomato, chopped

• 1/2 onion, chopped • 2 tbsp white vinegar • 4 tbsp lime juice • Salt, to taste

Directions 1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. In a medium-size bowl, add chicken, olive oil, paprika, cumin, chili pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix until chicken is evenly coated. 2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken for 7 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside on a plate. 3. In a large bowl, layer the rice, lettuce, corn, beans, and cooked chicken. 4. In a separate bowl, mix together salsa ingredients, then pour over the chicken mixture. 5. Top with avocado, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy! | 3

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



Help Us Take the Plunge!

When Minors Can Drink



Chipotle-Inspired Chicken Burrito Bowl

Why Bigfoot Is a Protected Species in Washington


The Marketing Campaign That Cost Red Bull Over $6 Million


For decades, Red Bull has run the marketing campaign that its energy drink gives people wings. Most assume it’s a joke, an exaggeration of the beverage’s stimulating effects. The courts disagreed. A group of Red Bull drinkers in 2014 filed a class action lawsuit against the Austrian company, accusing them of false advertising. Despite the company’s claims, they alleged that the drink does not give you wings. To be more specific, the suit alleged that the ad campaign uses flying imagery to convey that the beverage is better than other caffeinated drinks. While the brand’s messaging claims it improves response times and concentration, the suit alleges the beverage isn’t much more effective than a cup of coffee. Red Bull settled for over $6 million. They also agreed to compensate customers who were disappointed about the drink’s wingless results. Such claimants could receive $10 or

a voucher for $15 of Red Bull products. But before you go writing a letter to Red Bull for your voucher, know that customers are no longer eligible for this compensation. In Red Bull’s words, they settled to “avoid the cost and distraction of litigation,” noting that their ad campaigns and can labels “have always been truthful and accurate.” Red Bull denied any wrongdoing. What Red Bull did was tread the line between false advertising and “puffery,” the legal term for extravagant claims about a product. The law allows for some lofty claims — such as “World’s Best Coffee” — so long as they are opinions. “Red Bull gives you wings” sounds like a factual statement, so it doesn’t fall under puffery. The energy drink company has continued using the slogan in its marketing in event sponsorship and TV ads. So, while Red Bull may not actually give you wings, it did pay out a lot of money in a court settlement over the claim.

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