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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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 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?


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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.

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The first-ever CDC scooter study will  look at how scooter accidents can be prevented. The scooter study was launched in December when three CDC epidemiologists spent two weeks in Austin, TX reviewing incidents and scooter-related injuries during a 60-day period from September to November. They began contacting the 258 individuals identified through EMS calls or who visited emergency rooms with a scooter-related injury. Findings from this study will likely be released in March and could have far-reaching effects as cities such as Atlanta across the country grapple with reports of injuries from these e-scooters.

“We don’t know if there’s something unique about Austin or the population there that may be different from other parts of the United States or globally,” said the chief of the Atlanta-based CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, which is conducting the probe. “The rate of scooter injuries in Austin may be consistent with what’s being noticed in other places, or it may be much higher.” In Atlanta, the number of injuries per month has increased from about 30 to about 100, said the chief of emergency medicine at Grady Health System, which includes Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Georgia. Grady, which is among the nation’s busiest Level 1 trauma centers, is looking at the rise and scope of scooter injuries as a new internal project. “I’m concerned people are riding these things without helmets and on roads in busier traffic,” he said “As opposed to motorcycles, these wheels are pretty small. Certainly, hitting a pothole can send someone over.” This is a big distinction for a number of reasons, not only are the scooter wheels much smaller, the riders are not familiar with the scooters (as they would be with their own bicycle, scooter or motorcycle) which tends to lead to unsafe conditions. Couple this with questionable inspection and maintenance programs for some of the scooter companies and the rise in accidents is certain to continue.

We have seen a spike in the number of serious injuries on e-scooter such as Lime and Bird, especially on and around college campuses such as Emory, Georgia State University and Oglethorpe. Many students rely on these scooters as stop-gap transportation but fully appreciate the dangers associated with them.

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In a remarkable example of activist interference from the bench, the judge who sat for the jury trial of a police shooting has attempted to set aside the jury’s verdict and reject their award of damages to the family of the victim in the deadly shooting.

The judge, last week overturned a jury’s decision that granted more damages to the family of a woman who was fatally shot by police after an hours long standoff that had been partly streamed live on social media. Cases like this have occurred in Georgia and resulted in large recoveries, mainly due to the police not taking reasonable steps or acting reasonably under the circumstances. Most people refer to this as unreasonable force.

The judge has made it clear that he would become “the 13th juror” and has specifically tried to side-step the jury’s verdict. The woman was shot several times by a police officer in as she sat in her apartment with her toddler son. In fact, her son was so close to her when the officer opened fire, that  her son was struck in the face by the officer’s gunfire.

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The Justice Department and the SEC are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns the company’s baby powder may have contained asbestos in addition to talc. J&J was subpoenaed in the wake of several jury trials that awarded millions in damages to plaintiffs who claimed the J&J’s talc products including Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder were tainted with asbestos and caused their cancers. The agencies seek documents that may shed more light on those matters and other suits Johnson & Johnson faces filed by shareholders and pension holders over the situation.

About 13,000 plaintiffs have filed claims in pending lawsuits involving talc-based body powders. “The Company is cooperating with these government inquiries and will be producing documents in response,” Johnson & Johnson said in an SEC filing Wednesday.

In some of the earliest trials that usually set a barometer for future settlement negotiations, state courts in New Jersey and California awarded damages to plaintiffs who claimed Johnson & Johnson talc products contained asbestos and caused their mesothelioma. In July, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women who said asbestos in the company’s talc powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. In the SEC filing, Johnson & Johnson said, “The Company believes that it has strong grounds on appeal to overturn these verdicts.” According to J&J, “Decades of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer. We intend to cooperate fully with these inquiries and will continue to defend the Company in the talc-related litigation.” This comes on the heels of reports in The New York Times and the Reuters business journal which revealed documents suggesting the company knew about the risk of asbestos in its powders for decades and sought to keep the issue quiet. If true, this is indicative or a decades-long effort by Johnson & Johnson to potentially mislead regulators and consumers about the safety its talc products, which may have resulted in long-term harm for men, women and children who used Johnson & Johnson baby powder.