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Georgia’s Equitable Caregiver Act: Establishing Parental Rights of Non-Biological Caregivers

By Lindsey C. Franklin

Stepparents are often responsible for caring for and financially supporting minor children. Under O.C.G.A. § 19-7-3.1, Georgia's new Equitable Caregiver Act legally recognizes stepparents as caregivers and the care they provide to minor children.

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  98 Hits
98 Hits

A Call To Action: FCW Calls on Legislators to Fix the Law

By  Douglas H. Flint, Grayson Davis, and Cullen Threlkeld

Conflict between the Georgia Constitution and Georgia Law fails to protect property owners' rights in obtaining attorneys fees and expenses in condemnation cases

It happens often: The government wants to seize your private property for a public project and claims to have appraised the property and offered a fair price. However, you know your land is worth significantly more than the government's appraisal. The land where they propose to build a highway has been owned by you and generations of your family for decades. Or it may have been a business you poured all your hard-earned resources into. How can you guarantee your constitutional interest of receiving a fair price is protected? 

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  79 Hits
79 Hits

Contractors Beware: You Have 90 Days To File a Lien – Until You Don't!

By David L. Walker, Jr.

Most contractors understand that Georgia law allows them to file a Materialmen's Lien to secure their right to payment when they have provided materials or labor to improve real property, whether it be in the form of site development, building construction, engineering and architecture, or some other form of land-improving activity. Similarly, most contractors are aware that Georgia law provides them a period of ninety (90) days from the date they "completed the work" to file a lien to secure their position. However, I have observed that many contractors are not aware that the ninety (90) day period to file a lien is irreversibly reduced – often with draconian consequences – when they execute an "Interim Lien Waiver" during the course of their work.

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  104 Hits
104 Hits

Know Your Rights When Faced With Eminent Domain

By Michael P. Bain

You receive a letter from the government, whether it be from the Department of Transportation, the County, a City, or sometimes even a utility. Perhaps you also receive a telephone call or even a knock at the door. The news being delivered may leave you anxious, uncertain, or devastated-- the government needs your land for a construction project. Usually, the first point of contact you have is with a negotiator, someone employed or hired by the government to try and get a good deal on the purchase of your property. Often the negotiator will put pressure on you to give the government a good deal for your property, and sometimes on the spot. The negotiator may threaten a lawsuit or the exercise of eminent domain if you do not agree to sell right away. How can you be sure the price is right and that your interests are protected? Before you sign on the dotted line, you should know your rights and a little about the process.

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  126 Hits
126 Hits

Legal Issues for the Vanguard: Business Reopening after the Lockdown

By John F. Connolly

With Governor Kemp's April 23, 2020 Executive Order, Georgia enters the first phase of its business reopening following the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders. As they consider the steps for reopening, businesses need to consider the various health and safety guidelines from the White House, CDC, OSHA, and state and local governments. With proper planning, care and enforcement, a business can reopen with confidence and look forward to being in the vanguard of getting Georgia back to work.

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  157 Hits
157 Hits

Foreclosing the Right of Redemption – Protecting Your Tax Sale Purchase

By Logan C. Stone

After leaving a non-judicial tax sale with a tax sale deed in hand, you might think you own the recently-purchased property outright. However, the law regarding tax sales is not that simple. Even after a tax sale, the defaulting owner still has the right to redeem the property from you. This article explains the necessary steps you need to take to protect your interest and ultimately bar the right of redemption.

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  110 Hits
110 Hits

Georgia Legislature Considering Bill to Allow Benefit Corporations

By Anthony Cammarata Jr. 

If enacted, a bill drafted by the State Bar of Georgia's Corporate Section and introduced by Representative Scott Holcomb (D-81st District) during the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly would create a new corporate structure in the state. House Bill 230 is a proposal to amend the Georgia Business Corporation Code to authorize a type of corporation called a "Benefit Corporation" or a "B Corporation." 

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  234 Hits
234 Hits

The Invest Georgia Exemption: How Intrastate Offerings or "Crowdfunding" Can Help Start and Grow Georgia's Businesses

​By Nicholas P. Flint

Who would have thought that Georgia would be a pioneer of the crowdfunding movement? Georgia was just the second state to enact a regulatory framework to allow crowdfunding under the new federal exemptions from security registration for intrastate offerings. Through this legislation, Georgia has provided a valuable tool to its businesses to raise capital from in-state investors.

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  179 Hits
179 Hits

SBA Loans in Wake of COVID-19: What Your Business Needs to Know

By Andrew T. Smith

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 18, 2020, Gov. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
This declaration will provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to impacted small businesses throughout Georgia. 
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  285 Hits
285 Hits

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Impact It Will Have on Your Business

By Anthony Cammarata Jr.

This article was published in the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News on March 20, 2020: Tribune Ledger News - FROM THE BENCH & BAR.

As our nation faces the implications of the unprecedented crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, the federal government has now enacted legislation that could greatly affect your business. President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Act into law late Wednesday evening It is the second bill passed this month designed to blunt the pandemic's impact. In addition to expanding unemployment insurance benefits, increasing Medicaid funding, providing free coronavirus testing, and delivering additional nutritional assistance for a variety of low-income assistance programs, the Families First Coronavirus Act also includes two emergency paid sick leave and childcare leave programs.

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  204 Hits
204 Hits

New Emergency Rule Regarding Mandatory Filing for Partial Unemployment Claims

By Anthony Cammarata Jr.

In light of the economic effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses statewide, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has adopted an emergency Rule 300-2-4-0.5, effective March 16, 2020.

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227 Hits

FCW Statement on COVID-19

Our office is open and maintaining normal operations to ensure you that we are here to provide support, guidance, and assistance should you need it during this unprecedented crisis. We are closely monitoring the situation and are fully committed to supporting you in the coming days and weeks. Please review the statement below and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information. Thank you again for placing your trust in Flint, Connolly & Walker for your legal needs.

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  431 Hits
431 Hits

Small Business Owners Need Cybersecurity Protections

DATA AND CYBERSECURITY FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

It is rare today to read the daily news without seeing yet another instance of a large company experiencing a major data breach or hacking and consequently facing the threat of high-cost litigation. What many overlook, however, is that small businesses are just as susceptible, if not more, to the risks of cyberattacks. A recent study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that almost 50% of small businesses have been victims of a cyberattack, and that more than 70% of all attacks target small businesses. Even more concerning, the study found that approximately 60% of those small and mid-sized businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business after just six months.

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  259 Hits
259 Hits

Doug Flint Named to Super Lawyers List

 Flint, Connolly & Walker is pleased to announce that its senior partner, Doug Flint, has been selected to the 2018 Super Lawyers list.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information, visit www.superlawyers.com.

  245 Hits
245 Hits

David Walker on property tax assessments and potential savings

Printed in Cherokee Tribune on December 3, 2017

Knowing Your Rights About Property Tax Assessments Could Save You Money

In most Georgia counties, the deadline for paying real property ad valorem taxes occurs in December of each year; however, many Georgia property owners are not aware of certain opportunities, which occur much earlier in the year, that they can use to potentially reduce their property tax burden.

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  336 Hits
336 Hits

Welcome, Anthony Cammarata, Jr.

 We are excited to welcome our newest associate attorney, Anthony Cammarata, Jr. to Flint, Connolly and Walker. Anthony is pictured (second from left, front row) at the swearing-in ceremony on November 6 with Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris at the Cherokee County Justice Center.

Anthony graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law. He is proud to call Cherokee County home. Anthony grew up with his parents and two younger sisters in Canton, Georgia and graduated from Cherokee High School. Anthony is licensed to practice law in all Georgia State Courts.

  315 Hits
315 Hits

Michael Bain advises insurance reassessment

Printed in Cherokee Tribune September 2, 2017

My mother recently mentioned that her homeowner's insurance premium had gone up. She has lived in the same house for thirty years, and although housing values in her neighborhood have recovered since the economic downturn, values have not appreciated much since she and my father bought their house as a new construction in the 1980s. My mother's comment piqued my curiosity, prompting additional questions about the details in her insurance coverage. Her insurance company valued her house for coverage purposes at more than $20,000 over that which any house in the neighborhood has ever sold, and over $100,000 more than the estimated value of her house. Additionally, the wooden shed in my mother's back yard that could be purchased from a home improvement store today for $1,500, was valued by her insurance company at $30,000. While her insurance company had reasons to justify the rise in coverage on her house, the reality of the situation is that my mother would likely never rebuild her home in the event of a catastrophe, and the extent of insurance coverage was unnecessary. In short, my mother had too much insurance coverage for her needs. The gradual increases in insurance coverage over time led to an increase in premiums, and for years she never gave her insurance coverage a second look.

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  309 Hits
309 Hits

When DOT comes knocking, know your rights

Printed in Cherokee Tribune June 11, 2017

 When the State selects property for a highway project – whether it is a widening project, a new roadway, or a change to an existing roadway – the owner of the property affected by these plans has some very important concerns.

What can be done to stop this process? Does a property owner have to accept what the government offers for the property? The project that is being planned will seriously affect private property owners – what can be done about this?

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  687 Hits
687 Hits

Doug Flint explains the importance of succession planning for small business owners in January’s issue of Cherokee Tribune

The backbone of the American economy is small business. Most small businesses in the U.S. are family- owned and many have been in existence for decades. One of the most challenging tasks I have faced in my career as a business lawyer has been developing strategies to help families arrange for the transfer of their business to others — be it a child, another family member, or another party, to ensure the survival and continuity of the business. This short article will touch on some of the main issues that a lawyer and his/her client should consider.

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  196 Hits
196 Hits

In the August issue of the Cherokee Tribune, David Walker discusses changes to federal overtime rules

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL"), under the direction of the Obama Administration, announced dramatic changes to its regulation of the employer and employee relationship. Regardless of one's ideological opinion of these new mandates, the newly introduced government intervention will necessarily pose real and present consequences for many employers and employees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") was originally introduced in 1938, and currently any business: (i) that has more than 2 employees and more than $500,000.00 in annual revenue, or (ii) is engaged in "interstate commerce", is subject to DOL mandates instituted under the Act. Effectively, the definition of "interstate commerce" has been expanded by the federal courts to include virtually any business activity in the U.S.

Since the FLSA was enacted, it has been utilized as a vehicle for the Federal DOL to create regulations regarding minimum wages, weekly work hours, and other facets of the relationship between employees and employers. While most people have a general familiarity with the "minimum wage" and "overtime" rules for hourly wage earners, less are familiar with the regulations that affect "salaried" employees. Nonetheless, as a consequence of these new government mandates, it is important that business owners and managers, human resource managers, and salaried employees take the time to develop a full understanding of the impact of these new changes.

Beginning on December 1, 2016, any salaried employee who is paid less than $913.00 per week ($47,476.00 annually) will no longer be exempt from entitlement to overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours per week. Given that the overtime exemption was previously extended to employees making $455.00 per week ($23,600.00 annually), studies estimate that on December 1, over 4 million salaried employees will become eligible for overtime pay – overnight. While the new regulations have been touted as an immediate pay increase for affected employees, some analysts caution that – much like the unforeseen consequences of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – the unilateral decrease in exemptions may instead result in a reduction in the amount of income, hours, and advancement opportunities available to salaried employees who are currently exempt.

It must be noted that the amount of salary paid to an employee is only 1 of 2 tests for determining whether a salaried employee is exempt from overtime regulations. In addition, after December 1, employees making more than $47,476.00 per year will only be exempt if they also qualify under one of the following exemptions: (i) executive duties (such as management and supervisory duties and the ability to participate in decisions regarding the hiring, firing, or advancement of other employees); (ii) administrative duties (consisting of non-manual and independent work directly relating to the business operations of the employer); (iii) outside sales (in which the employee is regularly engaged in sales activities away from the employer's place of business); or (iv) "highly compensated employees" (meaning, those employees who have managerial duties and who earn more than $134,004.00 per year). Interestingly, the federal government also decreed that salaried attorneys, doctors, and teachers are exempt from the foregoing minimum wage protections.

While it is impossible to detail the nuances of these new regulations within the confines of this rather short column, the effect that these new regulations will have on small, medium, and large businesses and their employees cannot be overstated. Employers who wait until December 1 to address these new changes will suffer substantially increased liability and risk. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in FLSA-related lawsuits by employees against employers as plaintiffs' lawyers have increased their advertising and efforts to expand this area of litigation. Moreover, if a business is found to have violated the FLSA, the penalties can be severe. Consequently, an employer who fails to adopt adequate strategies to ensure that it is in compliance with the new regulations may likely find itself an unwitting defendant in such a suit.

These new regulations present considerations for employees as well. As employers endeavor to respond to these new regulations by implementing lawful measures (such as requiring employees to "clock-in" and "clock-out", converting employees from salary to hourly status, reducing employee hours and limiting their ability to perform work outside of the office, as well as any number of related measures), in an effort to reduce their exposure and ensure compliance with the new rules, employees may find themselves unhappy with the new federal regulations. In order to limit the resulting strain, employers and employees should communicate in advance of the December 1 deadline to ensure that each has a full understanding of what new measures might be implemented to address the changes.

Employers and employees alike are advised to take the time to investigate the details of these new regulations, consult with their professional advisors and human resources departments, and develop a full understanding of how they may be affected by these new directives.

David L. Walker, Jr. is a partner with Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP. He focuses his legal practice to collaborate with business owners, mid-sized and closely held corporations, as well as real estate owners, developers, and contractors. David has a depth of knowledge in the areas of construction law, contracts, probate law and estate administration, and various matters related to the business operations of employers and business owners. 

  215 Hits
215 Hits