Archive for the ‘law’ Tag

Legal Analysis of the Linboom Case and Verdict Watch in the Michael Dunn trial

Trinity Hundredmark recently appeared as a legal analyst on Nancy Grace on HLN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i3w40U0rZU

A criminal defense and family law attorney and Partner at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., Trinity discussed the case of little Alexa Linboom, a 5-year old Tennessee girl who was forced to guzzle the grape soda and water after she took “one or two grape drinks” that belonged to her stepmother.  She was allegedly force-fed so much liquid that it caused the sodium level in her body to go down and caused her brain to swell.  She died as a result.

Trinity also discussed a case involving Sick Kids Hospital of Toronto, who allegedly overdosed a teenage boy with 7 drugs in 7 hours.  These drugs were nearly life threatening and were given without any prior testing or blood work completed by the hospital and despite objections by the boys’ parents.

Catch her tonight on HLN from 3-6 as she sits on Verdict Watch in the Michael Dunn trial.

Interview by Daily Report; Matt Reeves and Robert Thomas successfully defend against appeal…   Leave a comment

R. Matthew Reeves

Waterscape, [represented by Andersen, Tate & Carr attorneys R. Matthew Reeves and Robert D. Thomas], [recently asked the] Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David Dickinson to disqualify [attorney George] Butler from representing the [opposing party], on the basis that Butler had been a lawyer for Waterscape.

Waterscape sought dismissal of the appeals, saying that the disqualification order was not a final order, meaning that Butler and his clients had to obtain a certificate of immediate review or follow the application procedures for an interlocutory appeal. Butler’s clients argued that there was a conflict in Georgia case law on whether a disqualification order is directly appealable.

[In reviewing the brief filed by Mr. Reeves and Mr. Thomas], the Nov. 13 opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Branch, joined by Chief Judge Herbert Phipps and Judge John Ellington…sided with Waterscape, ruling that Butler and his clients could not appeal the disqualification order at this point in the litigation.

The cases are Settendown Public Utility v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0830, and Butler v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0831.

Read more:

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1202628794506&Panel_Parties_Appeal_Over_Loss_of_Lawyer_is_Premature#ixzz2l9Bx9Ho7

- photos and summary courtesy of the Daily Report (Nov. 19, 2013).

 

Tom Tate Successful in De-Certification of Class Action

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On March 21, 2013, thanks to the efforts of Tom Tate and other members of the defense team a federal judge in Louisiana decertified a class of plaintiffs who accuse Viking Range Corp. and its distributors of making slipshod appliances in order to create opportunities for repair work, finding the group of products being labeled defective was overly broad and could not be shoehorned into a single case.

 

 

ATC Celebrates its 25th Anniversary!

1682474_1Today marks the 25th anniversary of Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.

Originally founded as Thomas J. Andersen, P.C. in March of 1988 the firm has grown and evolved over the years, increasing in specialization while always maintaining a high standard of professionalism and work product. Tom, Ethel Andersen, and Terri Tesler (Tom’s paralegal) can all boast of having been here from the start, with Tom Tate joining after the first months of the firm’s existence.

For more on the firm, please visit our website at http://www.atclawfirm.com/.

Posted March 1, 2013 by Amy Bray in In the News

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ATC Announces New Managing Partner, Don Swift   Leave a comment

Don Swift

Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. is proud to announce that Donald L. Swift, III has been elected by the shareholders to serve as Managing Partner of the firm. “Don is an excellent lawyer and with his strong communication skills, personal decency and integrity, and understanding of our corporate culture, he has the respect of all of the partners here. I know he will perform superbly in this challenging role and will carry on our tradition of strong and effective managing partners,” says firm founder, Thomas J. Andersen.

Don succeeds Tom Tate, who completed his second term as Managing Partner. “With his background in both law and business, Don is the perfect choice to take over as managing partner. I am confident he will help lead us to continued growth and success in the coming years,” says Tate.

Don is a shareholder in the litigation department of Andersen, Tate & Carr. In addition to his new managerial responsibilities, Don will continue to practice in the area of complex civil litigation and dispute resolution. “I am excited about this new opportunity to lead Andersen, Tate & Carr into the future. We are poised for growth and looking for new ways to serve both our existing and prospective clients.”

About to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. was founded in 1988. In that time the firm has grown from two to almost thirty attorneys and over sixty employees, making it the largest business law firm in Gwinnett County. The firm’s roots in Gwinnett County reach back much further; however, as some of its attorneys have practiced here since the mid-1970s. Andersen, Tate & Carr has become one of the preeminent law firms in suburban Atlanta by offering unparalleled legal representation in a wide variety of practice areas, such as real estate & banking, corporate & business transactions, civil litigation, land use & development, estate planning, criminal defense, and family law.

Brad Carr remarked, “I think the election of Don Swift as the new Managing Partner is simply further evidence of the continued growth of the firm and our practice. As the firm celebrates its first 25 years, I believe we have positioned ourselves to continue to be one of the premier law firms in the region for the next 25 years.” In recent years, Andersen, Tate & Carr’s reputation has spread beyond its base in Gwinnett County, to a practice that encompasses metro Atlanta. Today, the firm stands as one of the area’s most respected law firms, matching the expertise and sophistication of a “Downtown Firm” with “Small Town Firm” personal attention and dedication to its clients’ needs. The firm also encourages its attorneys and staff to take an active role in their community and to give back through community service, and civic and charitable activities throughout the year.

Posted February 14, 2013 by Amy Bray in In the News

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Cost-Effective FLSA Compliance

Eadaoin Waller

We all know that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt workers should be paid for all work hours, including time spent on tasks which may be outside of their core employment obligations – such as training, meetings, education and travel between worksites.  A novel question on this topic cropped up in our employment practice recently, and we thought it worth sharing the answer we found.

A service industry client had been conducting in-house training for its non-exempt employees on a quarterly basis for years.  The training was related to the employees’ jobs – keeping their skills up-to-date and fresh.  However, these training sessions had always been unpaid.  Nobody had ever complained; indeed, the work-based training was viewed as a perk by most employees – an investment in their professional development.  However, it was clear that this would have to be corrected going forward, at a not-inconsiderable cost.  The question was how to minimize this new cost to the business.

There are several options for correcting a wage and hour issue like this one.  The first is to simply pay for the training hours going forward at each employee’s regular rate.  This option proved too expensive for our client.  The next option was to reduce each employee’s hourly rate, and compensate them for the training hours (paying them approximately the same amounts overall, on a quarterly basis, but with a reduced hourly rate of pay).  This would be a tough sell to existing employees, however, as it looks like a pay cut on paper.  It would also impact recruitment negatively.  The third option was to compensate all non-exempt employees for training hours at minimum wage.  Although unorthodox, this is permissible under the FLSA.  There is no requirement that all work be compensated at the same rate – less profitable tasks can be compensated at a lower rate, as long as overtime and minimum wage rules are observed and as long as the employee has notice of how each task will be compensated.

The client issued a notice to all non-exempt employees, stating that from that point forward,  all training hours would be compensated at minimum wage.  Although this did not correct the compliance issue entirely (in order to do that, the employer would have to issue two years’ back-pay [at the employees’ regular rate of pay] for training hours).   However, with that that solution being cost prohibitive, the prospective solution chosen by the client was a perfectly reasonable “next best thing”.

Keep in mind, though, that a good knowledge of the applicable regulations is necessary to navigate the facts in any situation, and just because this solution worked for this client, it may not work for you.  If you are facing a situation like this one we urge you to obtain legal counsel to ensure compliance.

Do you want to use this blog article?

You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:

Eadaoin Waller is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in corporate law.

Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.

Website: www.atclawfirm.com

Blog: www.andersentatecarr.wordpress.com

 Copyright © 2013 Eadaoin Waller & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.

Employment Law 101 – For Georgia Businesses

Eadaoin WallerA client with a new software business approached us recently for some general employment advice. With a startup company, he didn’t have the benefit of a human resources professional, or even a personal assistant, to tell him what need to be filed or registered in the event of a new hire or an employee termination, or any of the myriad ways he needed to manage his employees in order to be in compliance with state and federal law.
As we started to describe basic Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance, the need for Workers’ Compensation coverage and the number of employees a company needs to have before worrying about harassment and discrimination policies, he interrupted. “Do you have a checklist with all of this stuff in one place? I’m a scientist, a list guy. I need to see it all written down.” We didn’t, and we still don’t have a comprehensive list of all the possible issues that will face every employer. However, in an attempt to give this client a “basics” guide to the things he needs to think about as a new employer, we prepared this. It’s a pretty good starting point for employment compliance for small (fewer than 15 employees) businesses.

1. Correct Classification.
a. Is a worker an independent contractor or an employee? (generally speaking, if you set the schedule, provide the tools/materials, provide training and oversight/control, and the person works solely or primarily for you, he/she is an employee)
b. Is the employee exempt or non-exempt from overtime/minimum wage requirements of the FLSA? (assume non-exempt unless the employee is paid in excess of $100k or has very autonomous/creative management or executive role – always seek legal advice where there is doubt)
i. For both exempt and non-exempt employees, understand the law on deductions from paychecks (deductions for lost property, uniforms etc can be problematic);
ii. For non-exempt employees, understand the overtime rules (which can be infinitely more complex than they look)
2. New Employer Checklist
a. Complete DOL form 1-A (to establish company as an employer for payment of unemployment insurance)
b. Obtain Workers Comp (for 3+ employees)
c. Have Employee Manual and Employee Covenant Agreements (confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition provisions) prepared
d. If you’ll use independent contractors, have a master form of Independent Contractor Agreement prepared (key provisions are work-for-hire and non-solicitation/non-competition; responsibility for payroll taxes)
3. New Hire Checklist.
a. Background check/reference check
b. I9
c. W-4 and G-4
d. Mandatory new hire reporting (http://newhire-reporting.com/GA-Newhire)
e. Signed Employee Covenant Agreement (or Independent Contractor Agreement)
f. Signed acceptance of Employee Manual
g. Completion of benefits paperwork (if any)
4. Termination
a. Have business-related reasons for termination documented (a written disciplinary history is ideal)
b. Provide employee with Separation Notice (including a truthful reason for termination)
c. If employee is troublesome or may have a claim against the company, consider paying a small severance in order to obtain release of claims (always consult with counsel)

Do you want to use this blog article?

You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:

 Eadaoin Waller is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in corporate law.

Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.

Website: www.atclawfirm.com

Blog: www.andersentatecarr.wordpress.com

 Copyright © 2013 Eadaoin Waller & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.

Twitter Backfires on Injury Victim   Leave a comment

A young woman sustained serious injuries in a car wreck, including a broken arm and a permanent facial scar.  At trial, she asked a Gwinnett County Jury for $1.1 million, but a skilled defense lawyers turned her Twitter feed against her. Since the day of the wreck, she had posted a few upbeat messages about her facial scar. She had taken a trip to New Orleans and had some fun with friends and posted that the weekend was fun.

The jury interpreted her social media posts as evidence that her injuries were insignificant. Consequently, the jury valued her injuries at only $237,000, less than 25% of what she had requested.

This is all too common a tale in personal injury suits in the social media era.  Facebook, Twitter, text messages, etc. are often a treasure trove of evidence for the defense team. They are a painful reminder that there is no privacy in social media. Your posts are publicly available to insurance companies and their lawyers. They will get them, and they will turn them against you.

Equally dangerous is the destruction of information that you have posted. “Cleaning up your Facebook page” has been deemed by Courts to constitute the destruction of evidence, and injury victims and their lawyers have been severely sanctioned by Judges for removing information from Facebook.

The moral of the story is stay out of social media when it comes to your injuries. Keep your friends and family up to date on your recovery the old fashion way: call them.

Consider changing your privacy settings on Facebook to prevent other people from “tagging” you in photos.  Photo tagging is particularly dangerous because the photos have no date.   A friend could tag you in a photo from a fraternity party that took place 5 years before the injury, and the defense lawyers could present that as evidence of post-injury conduct.

If you can’t break the addiction to social media, then, at the very least, consider posting the whole picture of your post-injury life.  Include embarrassing photos from the hospital. Share the bad days as well as the good. Otherwise, you are handing the insurance companies false evidence that the injuries have had no significant impact on your life.

Reeves Gets City Council Member’s Ethics Charges Dropped in Dunwoody

English: The Dunwoody Farmhouse

English: The Dunwoody Farmhouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATC litigation partner Matt Reeves represented Dunwoody City Council Member Dr. Adrian Bonser, a dentist, in getting ethics charges against her dropped.  This was the first Board of Ethics matter in the new City of Dunwoody, and included approximately six months of proceedings and a four-hour ethics hearing in September.  The dispute centered around complex Georgia Open Meetings Act and Executive Session issues.

Matt was counsel to the Georgia House Judiciary Committee Chairman during the 2008 Georgia General Assembly, when legislation was approved to create the City of Dunwoody.  Matt has handled many governmental litigation matters, in addition to litigating eminent domain, business, real estate and probate cases.

Lumpkin County Homicide by Vehicle Dismissed

Following a car accident involving death in Lumpkin County, client was charged with 5 separate counts, including homicide by vehicle in the first degree; reckless driving; laying drags; homicide by vehicle in the second degree; and failure to maintain lane. After Pat McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark provided the state with a detailed accident reconstruction expert report, all felony charges were dismissed, and the client merely pled to the non-reportable offense of driving too fast for conditions.

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