Written by: David S. Dix, Esq. For many employers in Georgia, Workers’ Compensation is simply fact of life and a cost of doing business.  However, for smaller businesses with fewer employees, Workers’ Compensation may not be a foregone conclusion.  Not all employers are subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act, and not are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The Workers’ Compensation Act itself does not apply to employers that have “regularly in service less than three employees in the same business…unless such employees and employers voluntarily elect to be bound.” O.C.G.A. §34-9-2(a).  In other words, for a small enough business, workers’ compensation does not apply unless the employer and employees elect to opt into the system. However, if you think the act does not apply to your business, the recent Court of Appeals decision in Wills d/b/a/ Wills Construction v Clay County et al. Court of Appeals Case No. A16A1328…       Read More

Compiled by Richard Sheinis, Esq. Top 4 Healthcare Data Breaches Stem from Hacking Incident HealthITSecurity.com While 2016 is not yet complete, there have already been approximately 250 reported cases of potential healthcare data breaches affecting more than … US calls on automakers to make cyber security a priority Reuters Automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from hackers a priority, developing layers of protection that can … Hired experts back claims St. Jude heart devices can be hacked Reuters Bishop Fox said it validated the claims with help from well-known specialists in cryptography, computer hardware hacking, forensics and wireless … Cyber security experts warn firms about dark side of social media use as hackers hunt data Irish Independent Employees who use social media and post work-related information on networking sites such as LinkedIn are making their firms more vulnerable to … Russian Suspected of Hacking U.S.Tech…       Read More

Written by: Jennifer Herzog, Esq. & Nick Kinsley The 7th Circuit, sitting en banc, recently decided a case involving the issue of deliberate indifference and the Eighth Amendment in regard to correctional healthcare in which the majority and dissent articulate two very different approaches.  In Petties v. Carter,[1] the plaintiff, Tyrone Petties, ruptured his Achilles tendon while at the Stateville Correctional Facility.  Dr. Imhotep Carter, a co-defendant in the case, followed some, but not all, of the applicable protocol by giving Petties crutches, ice, Vicodin, and authorizing “lay-in” meals.  Dr. Carter referred Petties to a specialist, but the appointment did not occur until about six weeks later.  The specialist gave an orthopedic boot to Petties, but experts testified that boot should have been given at the time of the injury to immobilize the rupture.  A different ankle specialist believed surgery might be necessary, but Dr. Carter did not order surgery due…       Read More

Written by: Mark Wortham, Esq. Amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs are important and necessary for state and federal appellate courts. The rise in these filings suggests that the courts receive them well, and the empirical evidence underscores that conclusion. During the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, amicus briefs were filed in 98 percent of merits stage cases.  A total of 781 amicus briefs – or almost 12 per case – were filed in controversies set for oral argument last year. 1)Cocklelegalbrief.com, Matthew Planap (January 2016).That is more than double the briefs-per-case filed in the 1990s, and 12 times those filed in the 1940s-1950s.2)Anthony J. Franze and R. Reeves Anderson, Record Breaking Term for Amicus Curiae in Supreme Court Reflects New Norm, The National Law Journal (August 2015). In fact, law clerks and justices at the Supreme Court of the United States have stated that in cases that are technical…       Read More

Written by: Beth Boone, Esq. Hall Booth Smith, PC (HBS) proudly participated in several national correctional and correctional health care conferences in 2016, including exhibiting at the American Correctional Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, in January 2016, and the ACA’s Congress of Correction in Boston, Massachusetts, in August 2016. Additionally, HBS attended and exhibited at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care’s Spring Conference at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, in April 2016. Just as these organizations are committed to improving practices in the delivery and quality of health care in correctional settings, HBS serves to achieve excellence by providing the highest quality legal representation its clients, including industry-specific participation and knowledge in the correctional and correctional health care arena. At HBS, we understand the liability implications created by correctional health care regulations, mandates, and legal standards. Handling correctional health care cases requires a unique understanding of…       Read More

Written by: Ashley Gowder Mitchell, Esq. The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are seeking to forcibly limit how fast commercial vehicles can travel on the nation’s highways. On August 26th, the NHTSA and FMCSA jointly proposed a rule that would impose a nationwide speed limit on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. The current proposal calls for electronic devices termed “speed limiters” to cap maximum truck speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph miles per hour. Commercial motor carriers would be responsible for maintaining the speed limiters at or below the designated speed for the life of the vehicle. The regulation has the support of the American Trucking Associations, the largest trucking industry trade group, and several of the largest carriers in the nation. One exception to the current proposal is that older heavy trucks are not…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Joshua Aaron, suspected of largest bank hack ever, arrested in Russia: Report Washington Times The FBI issued an arrest warrant for the Potomac native in June 2015 upon charging him with crimes including conspiracy to commit computer hacking … Second group of hackers found also targeting SWIFT users Naked Security A “rough guess” is that about 100 organizations have been hit so far, based on the 74 individual computer infections detected, the security firm added. Big data security, privacy becomes a concern for marketing analytics Tech Target The proliferation of IoT devices has resulted in an upsurge in data-driven marketing, which in turn can fuel data security, privacy and ethics concerns, … ‘Big data’ could mean big problems for people’s healthcare privacy Los Angeles … the second phase of a computer system that’s currently focused on reducing fraud but down the … “Individual privacy is…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Exclusive: J&J warns patients of insulin pump cyber bug, low hacking risk Reuters Johnson & Johnson is telling patients that it has learned of a cyber security bug in one of its insulin pumps that a hacker could exploit to overdose … 2 Teens Charged With Conspiring to Launch Worldwide Cyber Attacks: Feds NBC Chicago Two teens have been charged for allegedly conspiring to launch destructive cyber attacks around the world and trafficking payment accounts stolen … Data breach threat is real and rising fast in India: Kaspersky Lab Zee News New Delhi: If you are running an enterprise or planning a start-up in India, accepting the fact that cyber security threats are real and dangerous is the … Hackers find little demand for their stolen NSA hacking tools Computerworld The hackers who are auctioning off cyberweapons allegedly stolen from the National Security Agency are…       Read More

Written by: Sam Crochet, Esq. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently reviewed the constitutionality of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) holding that a mark was unregistrable due to its “disparaging” nature. “The Slants,” an Asian-American musical band, attempted to register its name with the US Patent and Trademark Office. After the examining attorney and TTABrefused to register the mark under 15 USCA §1052(a), the Court of Appeals held prohibition on the registration of disparaging trademarks “significantly chills private speech” and that this instancewas not an acceptable regulation of commercial speech. The court used this rational to find, by a 9-3 vote, that barring registration of disparaging marks violates trademark applicants’ free speech rights.[1] It should be noted the Court of Appeals’ decision is not binding on numerous other federal courts with pending matters.Following years of heavy scrutiny and media fall out, the NFL’s Washington Redskins…       Read More