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In catastrophic truck crashes that kill or catastrophically injury innocent people, the root cause of the tragedy is often not the momentary carelessness of a truck driver. Rather, the root cause is very often the systemic mismanagement by a company that puts behind the wheel of an 80,000 bomb a person who never should have been driving it. The driver may be a good guy who because inadequate training or experience, bad driving record, or…
Often in a catastrophic truck crash, the trucking company admits that the truck driver was negligent and was in the course and scope of employment. That is a smart tactic to attempt to focus all blame on two seconds of driver negligence rather than months or years of corporate conduct including negligent hiring of the driver. They may get by with it because of a Court of Appeals decision that bars claims for the company’s…
When my father’s generation came home from World War II, many of them carried psychological scars about which they kept quiet. My parents married young, at 21 and 18, the week he returned from combat in 1945. My mother said that dad fought the air war over Europe every night in his sleep for at least a decade. The longer-term ramifications of that played out in many ways throughout his life. As he lay dying…
When my children were riding a bus to elementary school every day, like most parents I trusted the school bus driver to deliver them safely to school and back to our neighborhood. Usually that is what happens as school buses are generally considered the safest means of transporting children to and from school. But occasionally children are seriously injured or killed in the process of being transported by school buses. We have successfully handled some…
On a warm October afternoon two years ago, wearing one of the yarmulkes that Jewish funeral directors provide for non-Jewish attendees, I helped shovel red Georgia dirt into the open grave of an old client and friend. As I did so, I pondered the unanswered question whether long-term side effects of her food poisoning a quarter century earlier had contributed to her death after years of internal organ illnesses. A recent decision of the Georgia…
  The Georgia Supreme Court ruled on 11/7/2016 that outgoing text messages found in a cell phone are admissible in evidence as admissions of the person who sent them. However, incoming text messages are inadmissible hearsay, though their admission in evidence was “harmless” under the circumstances of the case. Glispie v. State, decided November 7, 2016. This ruling arose in the context of the criminal prosecution of an alleged drug dealer. That would have been…
Few people recall that my undergraduate alma mater, Furman University in South Carolina, once had a law school. In the depths of the Great Depression, Furman closed its law school in 1932.  A North Carolina school that was well-funded by a tobacco magnate, bought the library of Furman’s law school. It was rolled into Duke University Law School, which is now rated number 11 among U.S. law schools. In the past two decades a boom…
No words can ever be adequate when a young child is killed. For the child’s parents, grandparents and other family members, it is like having a hole punched in the heart. That wound never really heals. For parents, in the words of Willie Nelson, it’s something you don’t get over but you get through.  The tasks of mourning after death of a family member are all too familiar. This week in Paulding County,…
A tractor-trailer pulled from the highway shoulder in front of an approaching SUV on I-95 in Jasper County, SC, just north of Savannah, about 9:30 PM Wednesday night, August 8, 2018. The impact killed Raymond Jackson, Jr., driver of the approaching vehicle, a 1999 Ford Expedition. This happened about 3 miles north of the Georgia-South Carolina line, between the Savannah River and Hardeeville. Initial news reports  of this crash involving vehicles emerging from Georgia…
Much of our Atlanta-based litigation law practice is based upon referrals from other attorneys around Georgia and North America for catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases in Georgia. Most of these are not simple, slam-dunk cases. Often we have to contend with a rat’s nest of convoluted, multi-layered liability defenses. Among those is often the “independent contractor” defense. The company that is the prime mover in an activity may cloak itself behind an “independent contractor”…