Confidential Settlement for Premises Liability Accident
Confidential Settlement for Motorcycle Wreck
$705,000 Verdict in Commission Dispute Case
Confidential Settlement in Golf Cart Injury
$1.9 Million Recovered in Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement For Atlanta Chiropractic Malpractice
Confidential Settlement in Commission Pay Dispute
Confidential Settlement In Dental Malpractice Case
$3.25 Million For Alleged Fraud in Sale of Business
$5.5 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict
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To add a party defendant into an existing Georgia state court lawsuit, leave of the court must be sought and the complaint must be amended to add the additional party. Plaintiff would move under these circumstances for Joinder and would typically file a brief in support of her motion for joinder, such as the following:

I. INTRODUCTION

This case arises from Defendant’s failure to pay for agreed upon labor and materials to renovate the Defendant’s restaurant located in Atlanta, Georgia (the “Project”). 

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The Georgia Supreme Court narrowly construed a statute imposing liability for dogs with vicious propensities and held that it did not apply to a landlord who failed to keep the premises of a rental house in good repair. The landlord knew that the renters had dogs and failed to fix the latch to the back gate. The renters kept two pit bulls unattended in the back yard and closed the gate by tying a leash around the gate pole because the latch for the gate was broken, apparently for the majority of time that the pit bull owners were in the house.

As an initial matter, the law regarding liability of dog owners focuses on OCGA § 51-2-7 which states: A person who owns or keeps a vicious or dangerous animal of any kind and who, by careless management or by allowing the animal to go at liberty, causes injury to another person who does not provoke the injury by his own act may be liable in damages to the person so injured. In proving vicious propensity, it shall be sufficient to show that the animal was required to be at heel or on a leash by an ordinance of a city, county, or consolidated government, and the said animal was at the time of the occurrence not at heel or on a leash.

In the Tyner  case, In December of 2008, the pit bull owners began renting out the Stockbridge home. A few months later, the latch to a gate on the backyard fence was broken. The latch was never repaired, and the pit bull owners began securing the gate by tying a dog leash around it and putting weights and a cement block at the base of the gate.

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A Jeep Cherokee driven by a 17-year-old struck a new mom, her baby daughter in arms, and a family friend who were walking to a concert in downtown Woodstock. All three died of their injuries. While the resulting death are certainly heartbreaking and tragic, a jury is about to decide the fate of the 17 year-old driver. Whether the deaths of Kaitlin Hunt, 3-month-old Riley Hunt and Kathy Deming were due to criminal actions or a simple accident will be decided in a Georgia courtroom as the driver faces nine misdemeanor charges, including second-degree vehicular homicide and distracted driving.

On-site and subsequent investigations involved cellphone records, witness interviews and a crash re-enactment informed by U.S. Naval Observatory expertise on how dark it was at the time. A Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigation concluded the pedestrians should have been visible; an expert defense witness disagrees. “I found that it was unavoidable,” said the defendant’s expert, a former Sandy Springs and Fulton County police officer who now owns an independent Reconstruction & Expert Consulting firm.

The driver of the Jeep has said she never saw the pedestrians. Investigators have determined she wasn’t speeding or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the undisputed facts are that the pedestrians who were killed were wearing dark clothing, and the collision site at the time had no traffic lights or a marked pedestrian crossing zone, as it does now. The initial Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigation recommended no charges be filed. But, in an about-face, the County has brought criminal charges against the driver who was 17 years-old at the time of the wreck and is now 19.

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That’s right. You thought all along that Bird, Lime and Uber were the first scooters to show up along the streets of downtown Atlanta. Not so. Electric (and gas) scooters were used by the Atlanta Police Department since at least 1916, although it is apparent that they have not used them in quite a while. So let’s get this straight, the Atlanta police department was using electric scooters in downtown Atlanta over a 100 year before Bird and Lime scooters showed up. An amazing fact, to say the least.

In 1916, these electric scooters were not considered a nuisance and they did not wind up being left on the side of roads and sidewalk, like we see today. The reason: probably because the initial Atlanta scooter were police department property and had to be signed in an out of the police motor pool. In other words, accountability played a role in making sure that the scooters were safely placed in storage when not in use. Of course, there was no also a rash of electric scooter related accidents in Atlanta when these scooters went into service in 1916. Probably because the officers received training on the use of the scooters and the scooter were maintained properly by the police department.

According to the AJC, a 1916 front-page report describes the “sensational” first sightings of a new fad: the Autoped, which the reporter describes as a “man-toting, animated lawn mower.” Autoped motor scooters were made from 1915-19 by the Autoped Co. based in Long Island City, N.Y. (a German company made them for two years after that). The gas-powered version was more popular, but the company also made a version powered by a battery. In its heyday, postal carriers and traffic cops used the vehicles in some cities.

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The dean of a major university dental school has filed a lawsuit after being terminated as dean and in his complaint alleges, among other things, the stealing of gold crowns from the dental school and accusing officials of retaliating against him for reporting problems at the College of Dentistry. As an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in dental malpractice, this is an interesting development since many of the experts that we use in our cases in Georgia are deans of colleges of dentistry in other states. In Georgia, with limited exceptions, a dental malpractice lawsuit must contain an affidavit by an expert alleging at least one count of malpractice against the dentist being sued in the lawsuit. In most cases, the affiant will be the dean or former dean of a dental school and have extensive experience performing the procedure at issue in the malpractice lawsuit.

The Dean’s lawsuit cites numerous other problems that the dean allegedly uncovered. They include:

  • A departmental deficit of almost $2 million because clinical faculty (dentists) at the dental school were being paid salary supplements based on gross revenue from clinical services, not net revenue. The lawsuit alleges that officials did nothing to address the dean’s concerns;
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For many years, most people in the work force were aware that asbestos was embedded in many types of commercial products such as insulation, protective gear, break linings, clutch pads, boilers, firebrick, pipe insulation, “mud”, gypsum board, fire retardant paint, welding rods, ceiling and floor tiles, siding, roofing shingles, spackle, fire blankets, tar, boiler insulation, cement piping, gaskets, linings, and a whole host of other products. While many workers prior to the 1960’s and 70’s were kept in the dark about this, it was brought to national attention around that time and it is well accepted that the workers that worked with or around these asbestos containing products and who were diagnosed with an asbestos related condition were entitled to compensation for their illness and injures. Some of the asbestos related conditions are some types of cancers, asbestosis, lung problems and mesothelioma.

In a surprising development, U.S. regulators now say that several makeup products from Claire’s stores tested positive for asbestos, a mineral that has been linked to deadly cancers. The Food and Drug Administration tested makeup from Claire’s and the retailer Justice, both of which market their products to young girls and teens. Claire’s says its “products are safe” and disputes the test results, saying they “show significant errors.” The retailer says the tests “have mischaracterized fibers in the products as asbestos.”

This comes on the heels of a number of very large verdicts against Johnson & Johnson stemming from lawsuits in which the plaintiffs alleged that they were diagnosed with asbestos related disease from using baby powder and similar products.

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There are 20 veteran suicides every day. I have witnessed and written about the Georgia VA building a fence in the parking lot to stop veterans from committing suicide in the parking lot of the Decatur, Georgia VA office. Yes, that’s right, instead of addressing why the veterans were literally throwing themselves off a cliff to suicide, the VA in its infinite wisdom builds a fence so high that the veterans (most of whom are disabled) cannot reach the top of the fence to kill themselves.

According to the President, veteran suicide is a tragedy of staggering proportions,” as he unveiled a new program in hopes of stemming these tragic suicides. The initiative is dubbed the “President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide.” Hopefully, it will make and impact.

The VA itself identified veteran suicide as its highest clinical priority last year and released a 10-year strategy to address the crisis. From 2008 through 2016, more than 6,000 veterans took their lives each year – totaling more than 54,000 deaths. This is an astonishing figure and one that needed to be addressed. But the big issue is not just throwing money at this problem, but getting to the bottom if it and understanding exactly what is causing veterans to take their lives at a rate of up to 2.5 times that of the rest of the population. As a veteran myself, my personal view is that a lot of this problem can be attributed to the culture in the VA that is demoralizing and degrading. If anyone has tried to receive care and treatment at a VA facility, you may know what I am talking about. Instead of treating our veterans with dignity and respect, the VA treats our veterans with disdain and disgust. I have seen this first-hand and it is not acceptable. To make matters worse, this convoluted attitude is passed down from the highest levels at the VA right down to the orderlies that work in the facilities.

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Atlanta Braves reliever A.J. Minter was involved in a relatively minor car accident which eventually lead to him having to miss a turn pitching. Despite his own assessment that no one was hurt at the scene of the accident, including himself, the injuries including to his shoulder became apparent during the two days after the accident.

According to the AJC, Minter was driving around 6 p.m. Wednesday when, he said, he ran into the car in front of him. No one suffered any obvious injury, Minter said, and he was prepared to make his first appearance of the spring the next day. The Braves decided to move him back to Friday.

Minter went on to elaborate on how the extent of his injuries from the car wreck that he was involved in were not immediately discovered by him or the Braves medical staff: “Friday I woke up, played catch, everything felt fine. I wanted to get in the game. “Warming up, I started to get a little stiff when I started to let it loose. I got in the game, I realized I probably shouldn’t be out here. A little stiff, nothing serious. I need a couple more days of rest.”

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ELECTRIC SCOOTERS ARE POPPING UP EVERYWHERE

Electric scooters are popping up all around Atlanta. Just last night we looked out the office window in Decatur and saw that someone had dumped a Lime Scooter in the City trash can in front of a popular restaurant in downtown Decatur. Like it or not, Electric Scooters or E-scooters are here to stay. Or are they?

ATLANTA AND OTHER CITIES ARE TRYING TO REGULATE THEM

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It is that time of year again in Georgia. New laws are being proposed and some of them are aimed at the legal justice system. Subcommittees in the House and Senate each heard their own respective versions of legislation to implement a statewide business court. The proposed legislation provides that the court has concurrent jurisdiction and the powers of a court of equity over claims arising under the Uniform Commercial Code, the Georgia Uniform Securities Act and the Georgia Business Corporation Code, among others. Additionally, under the bill, the court has concurrent jurisdiction over certain claims between two or more businesses where the amount in controversy exceeds $250,000, as well as claims involving commercial real property that exceed $1 million. The business court may accept cases that are (1) directly initiated with the court; (2) removed from superior or state court by an agreement of all the parties; or (3) transferred after a party files a petition to transfer and the business court finds by a written order that the case is within its authority. The most recent revision of the bill sets the filing fee at a ridiculously high $1,000 and provides that the judge shall be appointed by Aug. 1, 2019, and the court will begin accepting cases on Aug. 1, 2020. Obviously, the authors of the bill are trying to chill consumers and small business from being able to file lawsuits as a $1,000 filing fee is prohibitive under a lot of scenarios. In addition, who will the sole judge be that sits before business litigants. To put so much influence in one judge does not seem wise. It would be fairer and more just to leave the business cases in the state, superior and federal court systems, which have competently adjudicated over them to date.

The Senate version of the business court’s legislation includes some of the same subject matter jurisdiction as the House bill, but has a lower amount in controversy requirement ($100,000) and expressly lists concurrent jurisdiction in cases involving receivership of businesses, non-competition covenants, and antitrust laws or restraints of trade. Under the senate bill, the business court would commence operations on Jan. 1, 2020, and could begin accepting cases on Aug. 1, 2020. The filing fee for a case in the business court would be $1,000, paid by the party filing the action in the business court or seeking to transfer the case, or by an equal allocation across all parties if they all agree to remove the case to the business court.

As a business litigator in Georgia who regularly handles commission disputes in state and local courts, I am not in favor of a special business court. At least not one that would be mandatory if one party requests removal to it. The state and superior courts, along with the federal courts of the 11th circuit have amply provided recourse for the citizens of Georgia with business disputes for hundreds of years and there is no reason to make an exception for business cases now. For instance, we file many commission disputes and we have never found any of the judges or court personnel lacking in any respect with these types of cases.