Book ‘Em joined the Bibb Sheriff’s Office at a local daycare/Pre-K center for their special day recognizing “Community Helpers.”
Book ‘Em joined the Bibb Sheriff’s Office at a local daycare/Pre-K center for their special day recognizing “Community Helpers.”
The following article is a prime example of why all drivers need to purchase extra uninsured motorist coverage from their auto insurance provider. The driver who caused this accident yesterday was charged with DUI, failure to yield to a stop sign, and driving without insurance. $25K doesn’t go very far if you’re hospitalized.
Every Brookdale Elementary student took home five brand new books Thursday. The giveaway was hosted by nonprofit Book ‘Em in partnership with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department.
Macon, GA — 12/09/2016 — The Lawyers of Distinction is pleased to announce that Jeff Powers of Macon, Georgia, has been certified as a member. The Lawyers of Distinction is recognized as the fastest growing community of distinguished lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States. Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history. Please see our website www.lawyersofdistinction.com for further details concerning membership qualification.
Attorney Jeffrey Powers is a personal injury attorney and workers compensation lawyer practicing in Macon, GA that serves and protects people’s rights.
Atty. Jeff Powers has been practicing law for over 20 years in Macon, GA. Jeff holds a B.S. degree in Psychology from Florida State University(1989) and a J.D. from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University (1995). Upon graduation from Mercer Law, Jeff began work as an Assistant District Attorney in the Macon Judicial Circuit, where he worked from 1995 until 1998.
In 1998, Jeff and his wife, Katie, moved to his hometown, Orlando, FL in order to work with his father, who has a successful law practice. Jeff gained much experience from this and decided that rather than relying on his father’s connections to build a practice, that he would return to Macon and build his own successful practice.
Powers Law Group represented a personal injury client in a jury trial this month in Forsyth County. The insurance company denied responsibility for our client’s injuries. The jury was very conservative. Forsyth County residents are known for being some of the most conservative in the state of Georgia. The law requires that the case be filed the where the defendant lives, not where the accident ocurred. We faced many other challenges during the course of the trial such as these:
Our client continued to work as a hairdresser, not losing time from work. The defense hired a non-practicing neurosurgeon as an expert to testify on their behalf. This expert for the defense testified that the need for our client’s neck surgery was caused by looking up while decorating her Christmas tree seven months after the wreck. Our client’s surgery was 14 months post accident. She returned to work within 6 weeks. The offer to settle before trial was $25,000, and the verdict in favor of our client was for $40,000. While we were pleased with the win for our client, we were also disappointed by the amount the jury awarded to our client, whose medical bills were significantly more than the jury’s award.
Powers Law Group is very proud to be a silver sponsor for The Mentor’s Project of Bibb County’s annual fundraiser, Bowl-a-Thon. This year’s Bowl-a-Thon will take place on Saturday, September 17th at 1:00 pm at the Gold Cup Bowling Center, located at 3720 Pio Nono Avenue, here in Macon. The Mentor’s Project is still in great need of sponsors for this event. Sponsorship levels are as follows:
*Sponsorships of $1,500 and more will have their logo printed on the Bowl-a-Thon t-shirts, banner, and a personal sign.
*Sponsorships of $1,000 and more will have a personal banner 3’ x 11’ and a personal sign
*Sponsorships of $400 and more will receive a sign sized 3’ x 5’
The money raised by Bowl-a-Thon helps to pay for a variety of services that are provided to the more than 300 children served by the Mentor’s Project of Bibb County. This comprehensive mentoring program, in additon to providing quality one on one mentoring to Bibb County Public School students in grades 7-12, also provides wrap-around services. These services include, but are not limited to: teen pregnancy prevention, food pantry, school supplies, school clothing/shoes, providing medical and dental care, rental assistance, healthy lifestyle education, anger management, financial literacy, drug awareness, etiquette classes, college scholarships, HIV/AIDS education/prevention, and a leadership academy. We know of no other organization in our community that has done as much as the Mentor’s Project has for OUR children in Macon-Bibb County. Last year, the Mentor’s Project had a 100% graduation rate. Please consider supporting the phenomenal work that they do by becoming a sponsor of their annual Bowl-a-Thon. Please contact June O’Neal at 478-765-8624 about becoming a sponsor today!
Today in Savannah, Georgia, Atty. Jeff Powers was able to achieve a settlement for a client in a worker’s compensation case. The client had been a faithful employee of the company she worked for in excess of 14 years. Our client wanted to return to work, however, the employer wouldn’t allow her to continue working. We love fighting for our clients.
Powers Law Group is proud to announce that Attorney Adam Beecher has been selected to the 2016 Georgia Rising Star list by Super Lawyers Magazine. This is a distinguished honor as no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in Georgia are selected by this publication to receive this designation, which is awarded on an annual basis. Super Lawyers creates “a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.” To be eligible for inclusion on the Rising Star list, a candidate must be under 40 years of age and practicing law less than 10 years. We congratulate Adam on this award!
Today Powers Law Group achieved justice for a client who was injured in a car accident. Jeff Powers was victorious in a bench trial, receiving a judgment of more than twice what the insurance company had offered to pay. We never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve. The insurance company tried to limit the amount of money they had to pay to resolve this case. Powers Law Group represents all of their personal injury and workers compensation clients in this same fashion. Insurance companies know that we never settle for less than what our clients truly deserve.
Deborah L. Pierce, an emergency room doctor in Philadelphia, was optimistic when she brought a sex discrimination claim against the medical group that had dismissed her. Respected by colleagues, she said she had a stack of glowing evaluations and evidence that the practice had a pattern of denying women partnerships.
She began to worry, though, once she was blocked from court and forced into private arbitration.
Presiding over the case was not a judge but a corporate lawyer, Vasilios J. Kalogredis, who also handled arbitrations. When Ms. Pierce showed up one day for a hearing, she said she noticed Mr. Kalogredis having a friendly coffee with the head of the medical group she was suing.
Continue reading article from nytimes.com:
Be very careful the next time you sign paperwork when entering the hospital, being seen by a doctor or when placing a loved one in a nursing home. Many of these legal documents people sign daily contain a clause which will deny your right to a trial by jury should something go terribly wrong. Corporations are using binding arbitration to deny justice to victims of gross negligence. This means that an arbitrator – one person, who is usually on the side of the corporation will decide if you are entitled to any compensation for your loss. The right to a trial by jury in this country is being taken away by big business.
A Cartersville couple — on a furlough from mission work in Italy — were on their way home when a tractor-trailer crashed into them Thursday night.
Kyra Karr, 30, died at the scene of the wreck. Her two young children and husband were injured when the tractor-trailer pinned their pickup truck against a guard rail, trapping the family inside, according to police in Bartow County.
The children, ages 2 and 4, were both in stable condition Friday at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Reid Karr was in stable condition at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, according to police.
Kyra Karr was a graduate of the University of Georgia and grew up attending Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, according to IMB, the International Mission Board. The family, appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries in 2009, were about to start their third term of service in Italy after a brief assignment in the United States, according to IMB.
Investigators believe the tractor-trailer driver, identified Friday as Ivan Delgado, was outside of his vehicle conducting a safety inspection when it started to roll, Emerson police told Channel 2 Action News.
Delgado reportedly parked his tractor-trailer at a chemical plant in the 300 block of Joe Frank Harris Parkway or Highway 41 in Emerson — a town near Cartersville. Employees told police the man was acting erratic before the incident happened. Police said Delgado was under the influence of a mind-altering substance at the time of the wreck.
Continue reading article from AJC.com:
This tragic accident that took the life of a young mother, leaving her two children and husband injured also, was completely preventable. The gross negligence of the out-of-state driver in not deploying his parking brake while parked on a hill, caused the truck to careen down the roadway and into the path of this innocent family. The truck driver, according to witnesses was behaving very erratically before the accident occurred. It is likely that he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. There need to be serious consequences, not only for the drivers whose recklessness causes accidents such as these, but also for the transport companies who avoid their responsibility for liability in these accidents by hiring drivers who are “independent contractors.” No amount of money will make up for the loss of this wife and mother to her family, however, the only way big trucking companies are going to improve their hiring and safety practices is by punishing them monetarily. Sadly, money is the primary motivator for these big transport companies. We, at Powers Law Group, have helped many victims of tractor-trailer accidents. These cases are highly complex and require an attorney who is familiar with all angles of the law regarding tractor-trailer accident litigation. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, call Powers Law Group for a free consultation today.
BIBB COUNTY, Ga.– Wednesday 19-year-old Grant Hoffman pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and vehicular homicide in Bibb County Superior Court.
Investigators said Hoffman drove more than 40 miles per hour over the speed limit, lost control of his car, and killed his girlfriend Abigail Hinson, 17, on Zebulon Road in July 2014.
Judge Howard Simms sentenced Hoffman to seven years probation.
As a condition of his sentence, he will complete a psychiatric program, family violence program, and complete a drug and alcohol assessment.
Prosecutor David Cooke said Hoffman is not allowed to have any driving violations.
Cooke recommended 90 to 180 days in jail, but Hinson’s family asked that Hoffman not receive jail time.
“I’m never going to fault a judge for following the wishes of a victim’s family and I understand why he did it. We recommended jail but I understand why he did that. He wanted to follow the wishes of the parents of the victim”, said Cooke.
Grant Hoffman is the son of Mercer Basketball Coach Bob Hoffman.
written by Noelle Kachinsky
Story Published on WGXA.TV
For the second time in less than one month, five innocent lives were lost on Georgia’s Interstate 16 when the driver of a tractor-trailer failed to stop — or even apply the brakes — before slamming into helpless drivers trapped in standstill traffic in front of them. These tragic crashes occurred just miles apart and have eerie similarities that highlight one very stark reality: lives are being lost at an alarming rate due to the recklessness, carelessness or otherwise lack of awareness by tractor-trailer drivers in Georgia and across the nation, and we as a country are not doing enough to change that.
For years now, highway safety advocates have called on Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to address the disturbing number of commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries across the country. And, while incremental progress has been made in certain areas, there are still many options readily available that would immediately and significantly make our highways safer for everyone.
Already among the top priorities of highway safety advocates, it is universally agreed upon that requiring the installation and use of forward collision avoidance and mitigation systems and speed governors on all tractor-trailers would reduce the number and severity of truck crashes on our highways and, most importantly, save lives. Here’s how these low-cost and easily implemented systems work:
Forward Collision Avoidance Systems: This technology, which works by alerting the driver and taking over the brakes and engine of the tractor-trailer when an imminent collision is anticipated, is already fully developed and comes as a standard feature on most new automobiles. It is estimated that it would cost less than $500 per vehicle to retrofit current tractor-trailers to meet this standard. On average, according to NHTSA, two to three rear-end collisions involving tractor-trailers occur somewhere in the U.S. every hour.
Speed Governors: Every tractor-trailer manufactured since 1992 comes from the factory with a speed governor installed as standard equipment, which works by setting a predetermined speed limit that the vehicle cannot exceed. Unfortunately, many truck companies and individual truckers opt not to use them, choosing instead to put profits ahead of safety by racing the clock and risking countless lives in the process. However, the companies that voluntarily require the use of speed governors in their trucks report that, in addition to being safer on the roads, their tractor-trailers also are more profitable due to saved fuel, last longer because of the reduced wear-and-tear on the trucks and have lower liability costs as a result of the reduction in the number and severity of crashes.
The numbers don’t lie. Georgia is currently among the top five states in the U.S. in truck-related fatalities, and it is estimated by the U.S. Department of Transportation that there are nearly 100,000 injuries and 4,000 deaths nationwide each year as a result of tractor-trailer crashes.
How many more lives must be lost as a result of the under-regulated tractor-trailers on American highways before our leaders get serious about holding the trucking industry to the highest standards of safety? It is the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s top priority to save lives, and I am confident that requiring the use of forward collision avoidance systems and speed governors on all tractor-trailers would be counted among the most significant safety improvements to our highways in American history.
Written by: Darren Penn
Darren Penn serves as president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. He is a partner with the law firm Harris Penn Lowry LLP in Atlanta and Savannah.
Source article from Macon.com
What a tragedy to those families who lost their children in South Georgia on I-16. Unfortunately, the trucking company only has $1 million in insurance coverage. None of those families will be fully compensated for the horrific accident.
Atlanta, GA – Today, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association joined Road Safe America in calling on the United States Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to immediately require the installation and use of forward collision avoidance and mitigation technology on all tractor-trailers. This technology, which works by taking over the brakes and engine of the tractor-trailer when an imminent collision is anticipated and alerting the driver to the danger, is already fully-developed and comes as a standard feature on most new automobiles. It is estimated that it would cost less than $500 per vehicle to retrofit current tractor-trailers to meet this standard.
“Today, we are calling on Congress and NHTSA to require all fleet operators and independent truckers to implement this life-saving technology on all current and future tractor-trailers,” said Brian D. “Buck” Rogers, a member of the GTLA Executive Committee and Road Safe America’s Board of Directors. “The cost to implement the technology on all tractor-trailers is relatively inexpensive – particularly compared to the costs and consequences of failing to take advantage of available technology.
“The tragic loss of Georgia lives on Interstate 16 this week is a stark reminder of the dangers that tractor-trailers pose to all other drivers on Georgia highways. The top priority of GTLA and Road Safe America is to save lives, and I am confident that this action would be the among the most significant safety improvements to our highways in American history,” concluded Rogers.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, annually there are nearly 100,000 injuries and 4,000 deaths on U.S. highways as a result of tractor-trailer crashes. In 2013, 97% of those killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle were occupants of the smaller automobile and Georgia is currently among the top five states in the country in truck-related fatalities.
“Tractor-trailers are the only freight method in America that occurs 100 percent of the time on public roads, and this industry should be expected to be held to the highest standard of safety. Unfortunately, that’s the exact opposite of the current standards to which tractor-trailers and truck drivers are held,” remarked Steve Owings, President and Co-Founder of Road Safe America. “This week’s heartbreaking accident in South Georgia is another stunning example of the tragedy that can occur when a truck driver is distracted or otherwise not alert, and the trucking industry must implement the technology that is already available to take over and avoid an often high-speed collision when the fatigued and distracted truck drivers do not do so manually.”
What a tragedy to those families who lost their children this week in South Ga on I-16. Unfortunately, the trucking company only has $1 million in insurance coverage. None of those families will be fully compensated for the horrific accident
Congratulations to Jeff Powers and Adam Beecher for receiving a $375,000 jury verdict in Bibb Superior this afternoon!The plaintiff was a 69 year old man who had a “train wreck” of a back (2 prior surgeries) and was on disability when the 2011 wreck occurred. This information was presented to the jury at the start by Powers and Beecher, and they let every medical record go into evidence.The plaintiff’s vehicle was hit by a sales-rep for Source Care Management, when she ran a stop sign in Dublin while checking her navigation system.The medical costs were around $170,000 (including the cost of a lumbar discectomy and fusion), and there were no lost wages.The final offer at mediation was $75,000. Wallace Miller (representing Source Care) and Bill Shelton (for the driver) defended the case, which was before Judge Ennis.
The defense argued the injury was preexisting and that the defendants were not responsible for surgery due to the condition of his back.
In closings, Jeff used a timeline to display the fact that their client had no treatment for back issues in the 10 years before the 2011 wreck, and deposition clips were played of the plaintiff’s treating physician and of the defense’s expert physician, both of which were particularly compelling.
It was obvious to anyone in the courtroom that Adam and Jeff believed in their client, and their preparation and presentation was outstanding. I look forward to hearing more of the details from them both. I understand it was a battle up to the very end!
Mr. Curtis Isaac was one of 12 children born to two hardworking parents who were sharecroppers in Dublin, Ga. He dropped out of the 8th grade to help his parents work on the land they lived on which consisted of picking cotton, soybeans and tobacco crops. After several years of living with his family he went to work in Detroit for Ford Motor Co and then came back to Dublin to work for a construction company. In 1967, he began working for Roche Farm & Garden doing heavy manual labor. He worked there for 32 years until severe lower back pain at L4/5 levels forced him to quit. He filed a worker’s compensation case against his employer for a fictional date of injury. He retired from Roche in 1999 and had a microdiscectomy and then another in 2001 at the same level. The SSA determined him disabled because of his back problems in 1999. Having worked his whole life, he didn’t like not working so he worked odd jobs with his brother-in-law, such as raking pinestraw, cutting grass. He also worked as a helper for his brother-in-law’s masonry business. Mr. Isaac never earned much at these odd jobs, and we didn’t ask for any lost wages since he was getting SSDI.
On September 12, 2011 Mr. Isaac was injured in a car accident. At the time of the accident, he was 65 yrs old, driving to see a friend in downtown Dublin. The defendant was an employee of Source Care who was driving her personal car. She was traveling to Hawkinsville and was looking at her GPS. She didn’t see the stop sign and ran into Mr. Isaac. They admitted fault for causing the wreck. The driver was very nice and made a great impression. I crossed her for about 3 minutes.
The paramedics who treated Mr. Isaac at the accident scene and took him to the hospital noted that he complained of back pain that day. After the wreck, most of the treatment Mr. Isaac had was for his neck and shoulders. It was 7 months later when his lower back began hurting again. That’s when Dr. Pollydore ordered a lumbar MRI. Defense attorney used a fax cover sheet from Dr. Stefanis’ office that said patient was not surgical 3 months after wreck. Dr. Stefanis, however, had never examined Mr. Isaac. Pollydore recommended injections and Curtis returned to Dublin to see Dr. Hardmann, who began giving him these 1 yr after the wreck. This went on for another year and then Hardmann sent him to Dr. Holliday in Feb. 2014 when he was finally worked up surgically. In April 2014 he had a fusion at L4/5 which was the same level that was operated on in 1999 and 2001. We agreed to tender all the medical records to the jury.
Judge Ennis allowed the evidence of him being on SSDI because Dr. Holliday testified he suffered a 23% impairment from the fusion at L4/5. I told the jury in voir dire, opening, and closing that Mr. Isaac was on disability, but that he didn’t deserve this “sentence of pain/surgery given to him by the Defendants.” Dr. Holliday did a great job causally linking the surgery to the wreck, but under cross exam he began to criticize President Obama. We filed a MIL to keep out his comments but somehow the statement, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat and I don’t agree with anything Pres. Obama does….” came out during trial. In his closing, the defense counsel reminded the jury of this. He said, ” which doctor did you like better – Gorum or Holliday? And why was Dr. Holliday so ornery during the deposition? You heard those comments he made about President Obama.” I said that it doesn’t matter who the doctor votes for for President – that’s what is great about our country – we can vote for anyone we want. You are here to decide the harm done to Mr. Isaac, not what opinion a doctor has of the President or his policies.
We had a pretrial conference and there was some preliminary discussion that we were going to be prevented from telling jury she was working when the wreck happened. Fortunately, after filing a brief in response to the Defendant’s motion in limine, the Court went our way and allowed the testimony.
Defendants hired Dr. Michael Gorum in December 2014, who testified that he agreed surgery was necessary but the reason he had it was due to DDD and not trauma. He said our client had pain from wreck but his foot drop and need for surgery was anatomically caused by a “glacial change in his back from years of hard work, (cigarette smoking) and him being overweight.” They then redeposed him one week before trial to show him the films from 2001 which the doctor said “it was the biggest herniation in Mr. Isaac’s back that he’s seen in 25 yrs of being a neurosurgeon.” Gorum also said that his vertebrae was bone on bone and there were osteophytes growing in his spine which is why Dr. Holliday operated.
Defendants argued that this was a very complicated medical case with a bunch of long words and confusing testimony. I said it is not complicated. He was not treating for back pain for 10 years after he had the second microdiscectomy until they crashed into him. If was in such dire straights where are the medical records showing that his back hurt? People go to the doctor if they are in pain. They don’t go get their DDD checked if it is asymptomatic. People go see their doctor if it’s a routine physical, an OB GYN appt, or the dentist.
We are so humbled by and appreciative of your nice comments. I have known Mr. Isaac for over 14 years and it was a true honor to represent such a wonderful and deserving person. We mediated the case with Tommy Greer in November and, after many hours, it went nowhere. It seemed we were mediating two different cases. Adam Beecher did an incredible job with doing a lot of the work and helping me prepare. He did a great job of the client’s direct and redirect of Curtis and the character witness. We interviewed more character witnesses but they were not very strong. I am grateful for advice and help from Jarome Gautreaux, Rick Sizemore, Laura Hinson, and finally my neighbor, Charlie Cork who assisted us with the motion in limine.
Separate investigations into changes in the workers’ compensation system nationwide found that cutbacks were hurting injured workers and their families. Separate investigations into changes in the workers’ compensation system nationwide found that cutbacks were hurting injured workers and their families.
Nearly a year ago, ProPublica set out to investigate the extent of changes to America’s workers’ compensation system and the impact they were having on injured workers.
Around the same time, researchers at the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration independently decided to do the same thing.
On Wednesday, to our surprise, we published our story and OSHA released its report. Both detailed a system decimated by state lawmakers across the country.
Our investigation, in partnership with NPR, found that since 2003, more than 30 states have cut workers’ comp benefits, created hurdles to getting medical care or made it harder to qualify. The changes have resulted in devastating consequences for some of the hundreds of thousands of workers who suffer serious injuries at work each year.
The reductions in benefits have been driven largely by big businesses and insurers, which cite out-of-control costs. But we found that businesses are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the late 1970s. The costs are being shifted to taxpayers, who shell out an estimated $30 billion a year in medical costs and lost wages not covered by workers’ comp.
Atlanta, GA – This morning, legislation was introduced in the Georgia State Senate that – if enacted – would unconstitutionally abolish Georgia citizens’ inviolate Right to Trial by Jury. Known as the “Patient Compensation Act,” Senate Bill 86[i] seeks to strip Georgia patients of their constitutionally-guaranteed ability to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable before a jury of fellow citizens, and instead would circumvent centuries of legal precedent by forcing injured patients’ cases into a bureaucratic system of healthcare providers who would sit in sole judgment over the conduct of their colleagues.
“Senate Bill 86 is an unconstitutional assault on some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens,” remarked GTLA President Linley Jones. “For well over two centuries, the Constitutional Right to Trial by Jury has given an opportunity for justice to every citizen of Georgia – including victims of medical malpractice who were harmed through no fault of their own – and to encroach on that right would be to erode the very foundation upon which our state was founded.”
For the past two years, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the Medical Association of Georgia, MagMutual Insurance Company, the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and many others have worked in unison to oppose the dangerous proposals set forth this bill.
“Replacing the time-tested civil jury system with a taxpayer-funded bureaucratic government agency would be an egregious infringement on Georgia citizens’ constitutional rights,” continued Jones, “and I strongly believe that Senate Bill 86 would be held unconstitutional if it were to come before the Georgia Supreme Court.
“Senate Bill 86 eliminates all current procedural safeguards, legitimate accountability mechanisms and meaningful appeals processes that are the cornerstones of the Civil Justice System, and I urge our lawmakers to reject this unconstitutional proposal outright,” concluded President Linley Jones.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Chris Kelleher (770) 355-6052
The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is partnering with KidsAndCars.org to save children’s lives across the country. Together, GTLA, KidsAndCars.org and numerous other safety advocates and organizations are petitioning the White House to authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to invest in the research and development of potentially life-saving technology that would help prevent heat-induced deaths of children in vehicles by detecting a child left alone in the rear seat of a vehicle. The petition, hosted on the White House’s ‘We the People’ website, will need to obtain 100,000 signatures by August 12th in order to be considered by the Administration. The petition can be found at: http://wh.gov/lL8nX.
“Each summer, we experience the heartbreaking news of dozens of senseless and unnecessary deaths of children inside of hot cars,” remarked GTLA President Linley Jones. “In response to these tragedies, we are asking the Obama Administration, DOT and lawmakers to join us in working together with automakers to develop proactive solutions.”
According to recent statistics from KidsAndCars.org, an average of 38 children die each year from heat stroke as a result of being inside of a vehicle – including at least 17 already in 2014. Research has shown that a parked car can reach 125 degrees in minutes, and children are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke, as their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.
“The technology to detect and protect children in hot cars is relatively simple. What does not exist currently, though, is the necessary level of public demand that has been seen in the past to encourage automakers to add seatbelts and airbags to cars, as well as child safety locks, power window switches and rearview cameras to keep us all safer in and around vehicles. It is our sincere hope that, through this petition, the collective voices of the American people will once again inspire change for the better in our automobiles,” concluded Jones
“The auto industry already recognizes that we’re human and our memories often fail us. You get a warning if you don’t buckle your seatbelt, leave a car door open, your gas is low or when you leave your headlights on,” explains Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, the leading national nonprofit group dedicated solely to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles. “If you forget your keys in the ignition, you get a warning. If a child is left behind, you absolutely need a warning. The federal government and automakers have the ability to solve this problem, and we need action now.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Chris Kelleher (770) 355-6052
Atlanta, GA – In recognizing the start of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association has announced a year-round partnership with EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving). A campaign that began in 2009 after the death of 21-year-old Casey Feldman at the hands of a distracted driver, EndDD.org has already reached 172,000 students and drivers in 41 different states through a personalized, interactive presentation that gives audiences the facts about the dangers of distracted driving in an engaging, effective and memorable manner.
“Distracted driving on our roads is an increasingly prevalent epidemic that not only puts the driver at risk, but also risks the lives of each and every person around them. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in a single year, over 5,000 people are killed on U.S. roadways and another 448,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted driving. It is our sincere hope that, through this partnership, Georgia drivers will take seriously the opportunity to commit to adopting safer, more responsible habits on our roadways,” said GTLA President Buck Rogers.
Through this partnership with EndDD.org, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s 2,000 members will be encouraged to deliver GTLA’s customized EndDD presentation in schools, civic organizations and other community groups in a concerted effort to raise distracted driving awareness across the state. Attendees will also be encouraged to sign the Family Safe Driving Agreement, which outlines simple steps that everyone can take to make our roads safer.
“As a father whose daughter was killed by a distracted driver, I have seen first-hand the devastating effect that reckless decisions on our roadways can have,” continued Joel Feldman, a trial lawyer and the Founder of EndDD.org. “Our efforts at EndDD.org have been supported tremendously by trial lawyers across the country, including Georgia. Distracted driving deaths are easily preventable. We must all choose how we will drive, and as parents we should model safe driving every time we have our children in the car with us. Together, we can save lives.”
Michael Wilensky, a Georgia attorney who has presented the EndDD presentation to schools, groups and congregations throughout and around Atlanta for the past two years, remarked, “The presentation put together by Joel Feldman empowers individuals of all ages to make the choice to not drive distracted and to speak up for their own safety when they are in the car with a distracted driver. Through evidence and videos, the presentation shows not only how to identify distractions while driving, but that these distractions go far beyond just talking on a cell phone or texting. The presentation is updated yearly, and each year I receive more and more praise from audiences that the presentation is educational, fun and meaningful; and, while outlining the proper steps to take, it also allows you to make the choice on your own.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Chris Kelleher (770) 355-6052
Atlanta, GA – The Georgia General Assembly is currently considering House Bill 643, legislation that would severely limit the discovery process in all civil litigation and would allow wrongdoers to hide evidence without fear of penalty. And, despite being falsely portrayed as a common-sense, pro-business proposal, the potential far-reaching effects of HB 643 would be devastating for Georgians.
Take, for example, the case of Brooke Melton, a Georgian who was killed on her 29th birthday in 2010 as the result of a faulty ignition switch in her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Though it was eventually discovered that General Motors first learned of this potential risk in 2004, the automaker failed to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of our drivers until the discovery process during the case of Melton v. General Motors Corporation revealed the depth and stunning length of GM’s inaction on this matter. Hiding behind procedural safeguards and failing to fully comply with the initial requests for discovery, General Motors evaded accountability for nearly a decade and ultimately put the lives of countless Georgians at risk. They likely would have continued to do so were it not for the light shined upon the truth by our civil justice system.
“The Melton case is the poster child for why the discovery rules in Georgia work to not only protect parties in civil cases, but also consumers,” said Attorney Lance Cooper. “Without the current discovery rules, the public would never have discovered the truth about GM’s knowledge of the safety defects in Brooke’s car, and GM would never have been pressured into recalling over 1.4 million cars.”
As a result of the facts eventually brought to light during the discovery process of Melton v. General Motors, GM has been compelled to recall over 1.4 million affected vehicles in the U.S. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Administration, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and the United States Attorney’s Office in New York have all opened inquiries or investigations into General Motors’ failure to act on their prior knowledge of this defect.
How many more lives would General Motors have been willing to risk before they admitted to their mistakes? Thankfully, the discovery process saved us from having to answer that question. It is our responsibility to ensure that our civil justice system and our courts demand accountability from irresponsible businesses and not allow them to hide evidence.
“House Bill 643 will make it more difficult to uncover relevant evidence in cases and negligent parties will be able to stonewall during discovery and evade responsibility for their harmful conduct with no risk of sanctions for doing so,” concluded Cooper.
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