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UPDATE to DeKalb TSA Plan Litigation

On June 1, 2018, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an Opinion that (1) overturned the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims; (2) determined that the District is liable as  a matter of law for breaching its legal duty to the employees; (3) ruled the Plaintiffs were entitled to judgment on liability in their favor, with only issues of damages calculations remaining for trial by jury; and (4) ruled that the trial court must reconsider class certification in light of this Opinion.

 

Georgia Watch Challenges Public Service Commission

On behalf of Georgia Watch, Barnes Law Group has filed a petition to contest in court a decision of the Georgia Public Service Commission approving the continuation of the Vogtle nuclear expansion project despite a near doubling of the original budget, expansive execution risks due to a recent bankruptcy and a five-year delay of commercial operation. According to the filing, the Commission’s decision violates Georgia law and the Commission’s own rules. “In both process and outcome, the PSC unfairly tilted the scales in favor of Georgia Power’s shareholders,” says John Salter, an attorney at the Barnes Law Group who is representing Georgia Watch along with former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes.

http://www.georgiawatch.org/georgia-watch-challenges-public-service-commission-decision-on-plant-vogtle/

New York Times Exposes Scheme To Cheat Servicemembers – and YOU – out of Legal Rights

When the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Services are protecting our country, they should not have to worry about financial frauds and schemes at home. To alleviate some of this burden, Congress passed the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which grants certain legal protections to members of the military. Unfortunately, corporations including USAA and JPMorgan Chase have found a way to violate the SCRA law without being held accountable — forced arbitration.

The New York Times exposed this abusive practice in a front page story that you can read below.   As you will see, this is not limited to servicemembers’ rights. This could – and likely does – apply to you because forced arbitration is found in everything from cell phone contracts, to bank terms of service, to even nursing home admission forms.

Failed by Law and Courts, Troops Come Home to Repossessions, New York Times, March 16, 2015.

US TERROR VICTIMS WIN BATTLE OVER SYRIAN FUNDS

Congratulations to John Salter, for your hard work and MAKING IT RIGHT. John Salter said, “Representing these brave, patient and determined women is one of the greatest privileges of my professional life. Thanks also to Roy (Barnes), for trusting me with the case, our great staff and my very able co-counsel. But especially thanks to my clients for never giving up.”

JEEP RECALL

On June 6, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested a recall of 2.7 million Grand Cherokee (model year 1993 – 2004) and Liberty (model year 2002 – 2007) Jeeps.  The government says 51 people have suffered fiery deaths from a rear end collision because the gas tanks ARE mounted behind the rear axles AND MAY EXPLODE ON IMPACT.  Chrysler initially refused but has now agreed to recall 1.6 million of the vehicles to inspect and, if necessary, make repairs on the vehicles.  Rather than placing a steel plate over the plastic gas tank, as public interest groups like the Center for Auto Safety had called for, it will simply install a factory trailer hitch to provide some protection in the case of a low-speed, rear-end collision.

As always, there is never a cost or obligation just to talk with our lawyers and case managers.

 

 

UPDATE To All Class Members in Payday Lender Case

Congrats to Roy Barnes, John Bevis and Cam Tribble on a victory at the Georgia Court of Appeals against Georgia Cash America, a large payday lender.  The Court of Appeals agreed with BLG after reviewing a persuasive, well researched brief by Cam Tribble, that the borrowers’ claims against Georgia Cash America should be tried to a jury.  After 8 years of litigation, Georgia Cash will not be able to escape a jury’s determination of their many violations of law.   Read More!

Veteran Challenges Title Loan Company In Court

Click here to read an article appearing in the Marietta Daily Journal by Katy Ruth Camp about Army Staff Sgt. Jason Cox’s lawsuit pending against Community Loans of America.

Army Infantryman Strikes Back against Illegal Title Loans

Ft. Benning, Ga. (11/11/11) – Exemplifying his Infantry motto, Follow Me, United States Army Infantryman and Purple Heart recipient, SSG Jason Cox, hopes to stop predatory title loans from being made to members of the military and their dependents. Flanked by Georgia’s former Governor, Staff Sergeant Cox filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against the Atlanta-based title pawn lenders Community Loans of America, Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary, Alabama Title Loans, Inc., and 900 related corporate entities operating in 22 states.

The federal court suit, filed on Veteran’s Day in Columbus, is based on the special lending protections given to active duty service members and their dependents under the Military Lending Act of 2007, a federal law that prohibits creditors from charging more than 36% APR on title and payday loans and requiring service members to give up the title to their vehicle as security of the loan. Lawmakers passed the MLA after the Pentagon reported in 2006 that “Predatory lending undermines military readiness, harms the morale of troops and their families, and adds to the cost of fielding an all-volunteer fighting force.”

As title loans go, Cox’s story is not unique. To help meet family financial obligations, Cox initially borrowed $3,000 against his 2002 Dodge Durango that he owned free and clear. Cox was charged over 100% APR for each 30 day loan period. After rolling the loan over multiple times, and paying hundreds of dollars each time, Cox could no longer afford to keep making the monthly payments and the Durango was repossessed from his on base housing at Ft. Benning, while he was at work and on duty. SSG Cox is asking a federal judge for permission to represent all active duty service members and their dependents in 22 states who had similar loans, and to declare the loans and the unlawful.

This case challenges the practice of making illegal “vehicle title loans” to active duty service members and their dependents in violation of the Military Lending Act. Unlike other laws where the victims of predatory lending are not allowed to go to court, the MLA expressly bans lenders from requiring service members to arbitrate without a court’s involvement. The suit is asking a federal judge to force vehicle title lenders to comply with the requirements of the MLA, stop repossessing service member’s vehicles on the loans that don’t comply, and return the money that was wrongfully taken.

The suit, jointly filed by Roy Barnes, Georgia’s former Governor, and John R. Bevis (Barnes Law Group, LLC) and attorneys Scott C. Crowley and Kyle S. Fischer (Day Crowley, LLC), is the first of its kind. Asked why he filed suit, Barnes said “It’s simple, really. Every day we ask the military to fight for our freedoms. Now it’s time for us to step up to the plate and fight for theirs.  Predatory lending against our service members and their families violates all notions of decency and ethics. This is not only wrong – it is tragic. And it must end.”

BLG Wins $400 Million for Al-Zarqawi Victims’ Family

On a cool morning in September 2004, Marietta subcontractor Jack Hensley performed a daily ritual: he walked out of his house in United Arab Emirates to start the generator for he and the other subcontractors living there while they helped rebuild Iraq.  But this morning was different.

Jack was surrounded by al-Quaida militants and, along with his fellow housemates, abducted.  A few days later, Jack was gruesomely beaten and beheaded.  His death played out in a video that played across international television screens.

Left to pick up the pieces, Jack’s widow, Pati, and daughter turned to BLG for justice.  In a trial that took place in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia, BLG partners Roy E. Barnes and John F. Salter sued the country of Syria for aiding and supporting the terrorists who abducted and killed Jack.

Judge Rosemary Collyer awarded Pati and the family of another slain American subcontractor over $400 million in damages in 2008.  After two years, the appeals process has finally concluded.

As partner John F. Salter stated, “It is an extraordinary testament to the fortitude of these families. No one should ever have to witness a family member suffering such unspeakable brutality. They hoped the judge’s order would send a message. Together, I think we did exactly that.”

 

Roy Barnes works with new Governor to Make It Right for slain trooper’s widow

When former Georgia Governor and BLG founding partner Roy Barnes heard about the way Georgia’s insurance laws were treating the recent widow of a Georgia State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty, he decided to do something about it.

He immediately agreed to take Keisha LeCroy’s case pro bono, and then picked up the phone to call newly-elected Governor Nathan Deal. Despite facing each other in the November 2010 Governor’s race, the two quickly developed a plan to introduce a new bill before the Georgia Legislature to change the law.

Current law requires surviving family members of state workers who are killed in the line of duty to pay an increased rate to keep the state insurance policy. Keisha LeCroy would have been required to pay $900 per month for coverage of her and her son.