Oct 23, 2018

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Georgia’s Copyright for the Annotations to the Official Code of Georgia

Georgia Supreme Court: Georgia Code

A government cannot copyright a statute, but what about the annotations to the statute? In Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., Case No. 17-11589 (decided Oct. 19, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the annotations to the Georgia Code were part of the Code and could not be copyrighted by the State of Georgia. Like many state codes, Georgia’s Official Code is published with annotations including describing relevant case law applying the provisions of the Code. Those annotations are prepared by a private company under contract with the State of Georgia. That company… Read more


Oct 23, 2018

Who Decides Whether Class Action Arbitration Is Available? The Eleventh Circuit Weighs In

California Grange Summary Judgement

In JPay, Inc. v. Kobel, Case No. 17-13611 (decided September 19, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed whether a court or an arbitrator must decide whether a matter could be arbitrated as a class action. The two claimants at issue had purchased services from JPay. As part of their purchases, they entered into agreements that provided that any dispute between the parties arising out of their agreements would be resolved by arbitration. The agreements specifically said that disputes would be arbitrated pursuant to Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The agreement further provided that… Read more


Jul 2, 2018

Data Breaches and Standing

Data Breaches -Identity Theft

In Collins v. Athens Orthopedic Clinic, Case No. A18A0296 (decided June 27, 2018), the Georgia Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether an individual whose personally-identifiable information (“PII”) was stolen from a business in a computer hack had standing to pursue damages claims against the business that was hacked. The plaintiffs in the Collins case were current and former patients of the defendant clinic. A hacker had gained access to the clinic’s computers and stolen patient PII maintained in a clinic database. The hacker requested ransom from the clinic, which the clinic did not pay. The hacker allegedly offered… Read more


Jun 18, 2018

Big Decisions Come as Georgia Supreme Court Nears the End of its Term

Georgia Supreme Court: Georgia Code

The Georgia Supreme Court is reaching the end of its April Term. This means that cases submitted to the Court during the December Term that have not yet been decided will be decided in the next few weeks. On June 18, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a number of significant decisions. Colonial Oil Ind., Inc. v. Lynchar, Inc., Case No. S18G1788. This case involves the enforcement of agreements guaranteeing the payment of a debt. The relevant agreement identified the debtor as T&W Oil, Inc. When the debt was not paid, Colonial sued the two guarantors. The guarantors claimed that the… Read more


Jun 7, 2018

Is Inadequate Data Security an Unfair Trade Practice?

Doctor's Office: Inadequate Data Security?

In LabMD, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, Case No. 16-16270 (decided June 6, 2018) the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed the enforcement of an FTC order finding that a business’s allegedly inadequate data security practices were unfair trade practices under Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. LabMD operated a medical laboratory that conducted diagnostic testing for cancer. Contrary to LabMD policy, an employee installed on a company computer a file-sharing application. That application allowed an outside party to download a file that contained the personal information of thousands of customers. The FTC initiated… Read more


Jun 5, 2018

Distracted Driving and Snapchat

Distracted Driving: woman on cell phone

In Maynard v. Snapchat, Inc., Case No. A18A0749 (decided June 5, 2018), the Georgia Court of Appeals addressed a tragic situation involving an automobile accident caused by distracted driving and the popular application Snapchat. The Maynards were injured in a traffic accident involving another automobile. According to an affidavit given by a passenger in that other vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle was using the Snapchat application at the time of the accident. The Snapchat application allows the user to take temporary photos and videos and share them. The application has various filters that allow the user to include… Read more


Mar 26, 2018

The Georgia Supreme Court Looks at Georgia’s New Evidence Code

Evidence Code

Effective January 2013, the Georgia General Assembly enacted a new Evidence Code modeled after the Federal Rules of Evidence. Since then, Georgia courts have wrestled with how to interpret Georgia’s Evidence Code and what to do with the body of earlier case law addressing evidence issues. The Georgia Supreme Court recently confronted this issue in Chrysler Group, LLC n/k/a FCA US LLC v. Walden, Case No. S17G0832 (decided March 15, 2018). The case arose out of a personal injury judgment entered against Chrysler. The specific issue the Supreme Court confronted was the admission into evidence of the annual compensation of… Read more


Feb 21, 2018

Attempt to Add an Arbitration Clause to a Customer Agreement during Litigation is Ineffective

Arbitration

In Dasher v. RBC Bank (USA), Case No. 15-13871 (decided February 13, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit considered whether a bank could invoke an arbitration clause to block litigation when the bank had added the arbitration clause to its customer agreement by amendment while the litigation was in progress. The Eleventh Circuit held that the bank could not. Mr. Dasher filed a lawsuit against RBC Bank regarding the bank’s overdraft practices. A 2008 customer agreement contained an arbitration agreement, but a 2012 amendment to the customer agreement, issued while the case was pending, had… Read more


Feb 5, 2018

The Georgia Supreme Court Will Look at Litigation Funding

Court Ruling

A previous post in this blog reported that the Georgia Court of Appeals decided in Cherokee Funding, LLC v. Ruth, Case No. A17A0132 (decided June 27, 2017), that a litigation funding agreement was not subject to the Georgia Industrial Loan Act or the Payday Lending Act. That decision removed a potential barrier to litigation funding.  It has become a more common means for plaintiffs (and sometimes defendants) to finance the costs of litigation. Today, the Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari in that case and posed to the parties the question: “Are the litigation funding agreements at issue in this case subject… Read more


Feb 1, 2018

Does a Self-Serving and Uncorroborated Affidavit Have Any Use? “Yes,” Says the Eleventh Circuit.

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a court to dispose of a case as a matter of law when no genuine issue of material fact exists. Can an affidavit from a party create a genuine issue of material fact even if it is “self-serving and uncorroborated”? In United States v. Stein, Case No. 16-10914 (decided January 31, 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit answered “yes.” The case involved an IRS tax assessment against Mrs. Stein. The government alleged that Ms. Stein owed outstanding taxes, penalties, and interest for a number of… Read more