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
Recent Court of Appeals Case Regarding Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act a Win for Plaintiffs
On March 16, 2020, the Georgia Court of Appeals entered a ruling in the case of Star Residential, LLC vs. Hernandez for plaintiffs who bring claims under the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. ... Continue Reading
Federal diversity jurisdiction is established where 1) the opposing parties to a lawsuit are citizens of different states and 2) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.1 To successfully remove a state court action to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction, defendants must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount where plaintiffs have failed to plead the specific amount of damages and represents to a court that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75,000.2 ... Continue Reading
A significant factor to consider when evaluating a case, in particular for purposes of settlement, is whether the opposing party intends to utilize expert witnesses. The inclusion or exclusion of opposing party's expert witness in some instances may make or break a case. The lack of an expert witness such as an economist may prohibit a plaintiff from proving future lost income which would significantly diminish the value of the case. Or failing to disclose a orthopedist as a testifying expert may preclude an injured plaintiff from establishing causation. Alternatively, the use of such expert witnesses by the plaintiff may significantly strengthen their case and convince you or your client that settlement is more advantageous than proceeding to trial. The use of an expert witness becomes even more important when the other side intends to use one. There are countless instances where juries put undue weight on the testimony of an expert merely because the other side failed to present similar testimony to rebut the expert's opinion. This makes the disclosure of an expert witness critical for evaluating a case for settlement. ... Continue Reading
Contractual provisions controlling the venue and avenue through which a plaintiff can bring a claim against a defendant are powerful tools to control litigation should it arise. ... 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