On August 5, 2020, Georgia became the ninth state to enact legislation aimed at protecting businesses from liability related to COVID-19 transmission. Codified at O.C.G.A. § 51-16-1, et seq., the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act states that entities, individuals, healthcare providers, and healthcare facilities cannot be held liable for deaths related to COVID-19 transmission, infection, exposure, or potential exposure, unless a plaintiff is able to prove gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm. ... Continue Reading
Contracts are a part of our daily lives. We sign financing documents to purchase cars and leases to rent apartments. We are handed thick stacks of paper to review when deciding to invest in seemingly great business opportunities. But few carefully read any of these documents, and almost no one reads the boilerplate language at the end of these documents. This is a mistake. All too often the person sitting across from us at the "deal table" is more concerned with closing the deal or meeting a monthly sales quota, or even unloading a business that is losing money, than with telling you the whole truth about the deal. ... Continue Reading
Sticking Points: An Analysis of Georgia Federal Courts' Recent Daubert Rulings in First-Party Property Cases
Rulings on Daubert motions should not be underestimated: a favorable ruling can provide confidence and credibility while an unfavorable ruling can undermine any possibility of success at trial. By taking note of recent rulings on motions to exclude, first-party property insurers can prepare more effective motions to exclude and coach their own experts on issues that may arise. ... Continue Reading
The Supreme Court of Georgia recently overruled the long-held "scheduled break exception" in Frett v. State Farm Employee Workers' Compensation, 844 S.E.2d 749 (2020). Historically, Georgia courts determined, under the scheduled break exception, or scheduled lunch-break exception, that an injury sustained during an employee's scheduled break while at work was not compensable because, during a scheduled break, the employee is pursuing an individual affair. See Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation et al. v. Farr, 180 Ga. 266, 178 S.E. 728 (1935). ... Continue Reading
Can you hire your own employee as an independent contractor and avoid liability for their on the job injury? The answer is sometimes yes, but employers should be careful. Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals delivered an opinion in line with the general rule that that an employer is under no duty to take affirmative steps to guard or protect the contractor's employees against the consequences of the contractor's negligence or to provide for their safety. In Wilson v. Guy, a construction worker, Hunter Guy, brought a negligence action against the owner of the construction company, Robert Wilson, for injuries he received while performing property maintenance work for the owner at the owner's residence. No. A20A0969, 2020 WL 5201003 (Ga. Ct. App. Sept. 1, 2020). Sometimes Wilson's employees would do work separate from the business of the company on the weekend to earn extra money by performing tasks at Wilson's residence. The work included mowing the lawn, landscaping, yard work, and other property maintenance tasks. ... Continue Reading
The Journal is a publication for the clients of Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP. It is written in a general format and is not intended to be legal advice to any specific circumstance. Legal Opinions may vary when based upon subtle factual differences. All rights reserved.
H. Michael Bagley