Verdict - Summer 2015 - (Page 43)

> WHAT'S NEW WITH GTLA MEMBERS and struck "the third sentence of paragraph 13 of the findings of fact and conclusions of law." Amos appealed to the superior court, which reversed the appellate division and remanded for a new trial, ruling that the ALJ's "higher standard of proof" language was "erroneous," HONORS * GTLA Immediate Past President Linley Jones was appointed to * but that the appellate division had failed to correct the error since the appellate division had referenced the wrong page and paragraph of the original award and improperly the adopted the ALJ's findings of fact. The Court of Appeals held that the ALJ and the appellate divi- * sion did not impose a higher burden of proof than the applicable preponderance of the competent and credible evidence standard. The Court noted that the ALJ's decision cited the correct standard no less than three separate times. O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1(4) requires an employee seeking benefits based on a stroke "must produce some medical evidence to support a claim for benefits." According to the Court, the ALJ's "higher proof" language was merely a reference * to this statutory requirement. AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE Thomas v. Fulton Board of Education et al, 771 S.E.2d 482 (March 30, 2015) THE COURT OF APPEALS reversed an order of the superior court and remanded the instant case for recalculation of average weekly * Brookhaven City Council, District 1. Linley will run for reelection in November. On June 19, 2015, Ryals D. Stone was presented with the annual Award of Achievement for Outstanding Service to the State Bar Young Lawyers Division during the State Bar of Georgia Annual Meeting at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott, Stone Mountain, GA. Jeff Kaufman is proud to announce that his daughter, Nicole Kaufman, has graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Il. He is also proud to announce that his son, Michael Kaufman, who was the president of the Mercer Trial Lawyers Association, has graduated with a J.D. degree from Walter F. George School of Law in Macon Georgia. Jeff was honored by the school to be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies and hood his son with his academic regalia. Ellaretha Jones of E. Jones & Associates, LLC was named one of the National Bar Association's 2015 40 Best Advocates Under 40 Award Recipients. The awards recognize the nation's top lawyers under 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, including innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community involvement. GTLA member Bill Lundy was awarded the State Bar of Georgia's Tradition of Excellence Plaintiffs' Attorney of the Year Award. wage consistent with O.C.G.A. § 34-9-26(1) which relies upon "total ANNIVERSARIES amount of wages earned" for work during the 13 weeks immediately * Michael Alfano and his wife, Jessica, celebrated their 1st Wedding preceding the injury. Anniversary on May 24th. Claimant Thomas was a school bus driver for Fulton County Board of Education ("Fulton County") when she suffered a compensable injury on October 19, 2011. Thomas drove the bus nine months out BIRTHS * On May 1, 2015, Ryals & Lauren Stone gave birth to their first child, John Drayton "Jack" Stone (7 lbs, 7 oz.; 20 inches.). of the year for Fulton County. Over June and July of 2010 and 2011, Thomas worked as school bus driver for a second employer, Quality Drive Away ("QDA"). Thomas had worked approximately 11.5 weeks of the 13-week period prior to her injury for Fulton County, and the MARRIAGES * On April 18, 2015, James W. Stone married the former Rachel Stanley at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, GA. parties disagreed over calculation of her average weekly wage. The Court of Appeals held that O.C.G.A. § 34-9-26(1) explicitly contemplates work "for the same or another employer" and since when Thomas was injured she was working 13 weeks for the same or another employer in the type of employment during which she was injured, her average weekly wage should have been computed VOLUNTEERING * GTLA member Hal Whiteman played defense for the Navy 50+ team at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout in Vail, Colorado June 27-June 30. * Coleman, Chambers, Rogers & Williams, LLP was recognized as based on her "total amount of wages earned" for her work during the 13 weeks immediately preceding her injury - 11.5 weeks with Fulton County and 1.5 weeks with QDA. ● Ron Hilley and Mia Frieder are the Founding Partners of the Law Firm Hilley & Frieder in Atlanta. Together, they handle a broad range of personal injury and workers' compensation * claims including those involving catastrophic injuries, auto accidents and physician's disability claims. They can be reached at (404) 233-6200 or online at * the Top Fundraiser for the 3rd Annual Little Heroes 5K road race hosed by Little Heroes of North Georgia. The race, now a Peachtree Qualifier, benefits the Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF), a worthy organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and families affected by neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors, affects vision and hearing, and can lead to other serious health concerns. Coleman, Chambers, Rogers & Williams, LLP recently donated $10,000 to create a Hall County Board of Realtors Scholarship and awarded it to two college students from the Gainesville area. GTLA member Jay Kennamer and the McMahan Law Firm partnered with a local news station for a 'Pay It Forward' initiative that raised more than $16,000 to purchase a handicapped-accessible van for the family of a very deserving local child with cerebral palsy. ● Summer 2015 43

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2015

President’s Message
GTLA President’s Gala
Trying a Sex Abuse Case Against a Local Church in a Conservative Venue
New Strategies and Interventions to Curtail Discovery Abuses
High-Speed Police Chases and Injured Innocent Bystanders
When One Award is Not Enough
Three Strategies to Fend off a Funding Attack
Recent Updates to Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil), July 2013 – Present
The Hidden Predator Act: How House Bill 17 Will Impact Victims’ Rights in Georgia
New Lawyers’ Corner: Trying a Low-Damage Jury Case
Professional Practice Pointers: Updates on E-filing, the Court of Appeals, and a New Traffic Division in DeKalb State
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp Updates
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers

Verdict - Summer 2015