Aug 6, 2020

Georgia Governor Signs Lien Waiver Senate Bill

GA senate bill 315

On August 5, 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp formally signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 315[1] to restore statutory lien and bond waivers to their original intended purpose of waiving lien and bond rights only and to resolve the confusion caused by ALA Construction Services, LLC v. Controlled Access, Inc.[2], in which the Georgia Court of Appeals held that Georgia statutory lien waivers can also waive breach of contract claims.[3] SB 315 will take effect on January 1, 2021. Lien waivers signed from that point forward will only waive lien and bond rights, and not other claims, to the extent… Read more


Apr 27, 2020

Supreme Court Holds that Annotations Written by Legislative Body are not Copyrightable

copyright shield on a blue background

On April 27, 2020, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 split decision that explanatory legal materials created by a legislative body cannot be protected by copyright.   The background facts of this case are discussed in the January 29, 2020 article Can the State of Georgia Own a Copyright in its Official Code? by Elizabeth Borland. In Georgia v. Public.Resource,Org, Inc., Case No. 18-1150 (April 27, 2020), Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion for the Court and was joined by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to form an unusual majority.  The Court first determined that the case was controlled… Read more


Apr 7, 2020

Does Georgia’s Stay-at-Home Order Apply to Construction Projects?

GA Essential Construction Order

On Thursday, April 2, Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order (the “Order”) requiring Georgians to shelter in place until April 13 at 11:59 p.m. The stay-at-home order, titled “Executive Order to Ensure a Safe & Healthy Georgia,” replaces all prior stay-at-home orders issued by local governmental bodies and prohibits localities from varying the Order’s requirements.  The Order is available here. How does Georgia’s stay-at-home order affect your construction project? Unfortunately, the Order is unclear.  However, at least some private projects could be stopped by the Order. The Order divides all businesses, including contractors and subcontractors, into Critical and Non-Critical Infrastructure. … Read more


Jan 29, 2020

Can the State of Georgia Own a Copyright in its Official Code?

IP-Blog-Can-GA-Own-Copyright-

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (the “OCGA”) is made up of not only the statutory laws, but also various annotations, including history lines, repeal lines, commentaries, case notations, law review article excerpts, Attorney General opinion summaries, editor’s notes, and other references (the “Annotations”).  The State of Georgia (the “State”) contends that it owns the copyright in the Annotations, while a non-profit entity contends that because the Annotations are part of the Official Georgia code, the Annotations cannot be the subject of a valid copyright and are in the public domain.  The Supreme Court will decide this issue later this… Read more


Jan 16, 2020

Okay, Google: Did You Violate U.S. Antitrust Laws?

Google[1] rang in the New Year with a fresh lawsuit, filed against it on November 25, 2019, looming in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by Inform, Inc. (“Inform”), an online advertising company.[2] Nothing says “Merry, Merry” and “Happy New Year” like a fresh batch of anticompetitive claims against the search engine we all resorted to for our obligatory “what to give Dad” and “30-day cleanse” searches.  The suit alleges that “[t]o maximize [Google’s] advertising profits, to protect their valuable monopolies against potential competitive threats, and to extend Defendants’ [monopolies] globally and across digital devices,… Read more


Jun 25, 2018

Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law

Hands-Free Cell Phone Holder to Prevent Distracted Driving

On July 1, 2018, Georgia’s new distracted driving law will go into effect. The new law is officially called the “Hands-Free Georgia Act” and it includes important new provisions relating to the use of “wireless telecommunications devices”[i] while driving a motor vehicle in Georgia. It was already illegal to text and drive in Georgia, but now it is more difficult to use your cell phone at all, unless you have blue tooth or hands-free calling. The Act, which will be found at O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, states in pertinent part that: While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this… Read more


May 10, 2017

New Georgia Law Permits Employees to Use Sick Leave to Assist Family Members

Mom with sick child

On Monday, May 8, 2017, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law the Family Care Act (the “Act”), a bill that allows workers to use their own sick leave to care for immediate family members. The first bill of its kind to be passed into law, the Act applies to employers with 25 or more employees who elect to provide employees with time away from work due to incapacity, illness, or injury (sick leave), for which the employee receives his or her regular salary, wages, or other remuneration. The Act does not require employers to provide sick leave. It does,… Read more


Feb 1, 2016

Local Government Procurement Laws – What does it take to be a “Responsive Bidder”?

Authored by: Darren Rowles and Scott Cahalan In a previous article we discussed the requirement that, if it awards a public works contract, a public entity in the State of Georgia must award the contract to the “lowest responsible and responsive bidder,” unless an exception to this requirement applies. This article addresses what it means to be a “responsive bidder.”  While responsibleness focuses on the bidder or proposer, responsiveness focuses on the bid or proposal.  Specifically, responsiveness requires that a bid or proposal respond and conform to the requirements of the invitation for bids or request for proposals (the “Bid… Read more


Apr 14, 2015

Will a Duty to Inspect the Site Adversely Affect a Differing Site Conditions Claim?

Last month, we discussed why utility contractors should insist on the inclusion of a differing site (changed) conditions (“DSC”) clause in their contracts. A DSC clause allocates to the owner the risk that actual physical conditions at the site are materially different from the expected physical conditions at the site, along with establishing a procedure for adjusting the contract price and time for DSCs.  Absent a properly drafted DSC clause, the doctrine of sanctity of contract normally places the risk on the contractor if the work is more difficult, costly, or time-consuming than expected due to a DSC. DSCs fall… Read more


Nov 18, 2014

Georgia Lien Law: How much time do I really have to file a Lien Action?

In 2009, Georgia amended its lien statute. One of the many amendments to the statute requires lien claimants to include on the face of the lien the following statement in at least 12-point bold font: “This claim of lien expires and is void 395 days from the date of the filing of the claim of lien if no Notice of Commencement of Lien Action is filed in that time period.” (emphasis added). O.C.G.A. § 44-14-367.  The failure to include this language in the claim of lien shall invalidate the lien and prevent it from being filed. Id. By now, most… Read more