BARNES LAW GROUP SELECTED TO LEAD THE OPIOID LITIGATION IN GEORGIA

 

Carr Announces Selection of Legal Team to Assist in Opioid Investigation and Litigation

ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that he has selected outside private counsel to serve as co-counsel in an investigation and litigation involving the manufacture, marketing, sale and distribution of prescription opioid products in the state of Georgia. John Bevis of the Barnes Law Group will be appointed as Special Assistant Attorneys General (SAAGs) pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-15-4. The Barnes Law Group will work in conjunction with The Cooper Firm, Franklin Law, LLC and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. 

“As Attorney General, I have dedicated every available resource our office has to fight the opioid epidemic – whether by increasing communication and coordination through our Statewide Opioid Task Force, cracking down on illegal prescribing through our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit or conducting training opportunities for law enforcement and prosecutors through our national partnerships,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “As my office pursues legal action against those who may have had a role in fueling this epidemic, I feel very strongly that this legal team’s combined experience and expertise will help put our legal team in the best position to ensure the interests of Georgians are protected.” 

Qualified attorneys were invited to submit proposals to the Office of the Attorney General on or before Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. to include the following information: educational and professional background; particular abilities and experience relevant to representation of the Georgia Department of Law for purposes of conducting the investigation and litigation; the firm’s experience with the pharmaceutical industry; state consumer protection laws, including the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act; Medicaid and false claims laws; damage and economic loss recovery; the firm’s trial and appellate experience; and the firm’s arrangements for large and complex litigation matters (including the adequacy of financial resources for such litigation).

The Attorney General and staff reviewed 20 proposals. After reviewing, the Attorney General invited seven in for an interview before making a final decision.

A portion of each selected firm’s “About” section is listed below for reference. You can learn more about the firms by visiting their respective websites.

Barnes Law Group

The attorneys at Barnes Law Group have the unique charge of Making It Right for the citizens of Georgia and across the country. They are an unrelenting collection of individual talents that make up one of the most powerful and varied groups of litigators that always fall on the side of consumer advocacy and the rights of the individual. Our legal team is made up of the best legal minds in Georgia.  Our lawyers and experienced staff have literally spent decades working in both the public and private sectors on behalf of those who have been wronged by others’ actions.  As a result, Barnes Law Group is highly regarded as a top national law firm that provides results for our clients.

The Cooper Firm

We are a personal injury and wrongful death law firm that has successfully won multi-million dollar awards and settlements on behalf of our clients nationwide. Lance Cooper founded The Cooper Firm in 2006. With experience in substantial personal injury and wrongful death cases, he has represented plaintiffs in numerous civil jury trials and has successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases and gained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients. Mr. Cooper has built a practice that brings together a team that combines legal expertise and compassion to ensure clients receive the benefits of a large firm with the personal attention of a small firm. With this in mind, The Cooper Firm represents a select few clients in order to ensure that each client receives the attention they deserve.

Franklin Law, LLC

Franklin Law is a Georgia law firm operated by the father-daughter team, James (“Jimmy”) B. Franklin and Rebecca Franklin Harris. Franklin Law was formed by Rebecca in 2009 and Jimmy joined as Of-Counsel to the firm several years later. Together, the duo brings more than 65 years of experience in representing individual clients, businesses, and government entities. Specifically, the duo has substantial experience in product liability litigation and other complex matters.

Beasley Allen Law Firm

In 1979, Jere Locke Beasley founded the firm, which is now known as Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. The firm represents plaintiffs and claimants in civil litigation. The firm employs more than 75 lawyers and over 200 support staff. Our primary offices are based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama, although we work with attorneys and clients throughout the country. Our Atlanta office focuses on cases in the state of Georgia and especially in the metro area. Beasley Allen represents plaintiffs and claimants in the following areas: Business Litigation, Personal Injury and Product Liability, Medical Devices and Drugs, Fraud, Employment Law, and Environmental. Our attorneys are leaders in complex litigation in courtrooms around the U.S., including state and federal courts. Our attorneys and cases have been profiled in major national media such as Time Magazine, Business Week, Fortune Magazine, Forbes.com, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, New York Times, National Law Journal, New Orleans Times-Picayune, CNBC’s “The Closing Bell,” 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, Headline News, NBC’s “Today Show,” MSNBC, ABC’s “Good Morning America” Fox News and Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” We have also represented clients testifying before U.S. Congressional committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Read more by clicking the link above.

Military Lending Act Litigation – Class Action Update

On October 6, 2016 the Court held a Fairness Hearing to determine: (1) whether the Court should approve the proposed Settlement; (2) whether the Court should enter the Final Order Approving Settlement; and (3) whether the Court should approve the Distribution Plan. After considering all of the evidence, the Court ruled in favor of the military service members and their dependents and issued their Final Order Approving Settlement.

Settlement checks were issued to class members on January 6, 2017 and must be cashed prior to February 28, 2017.

After nearly 6 years of litigation, Barnes Law Group is proud to help Make It Right for these service members and their families.

 

BLG helps Cobb, Gwinnett File Suit for $50 Million Owed for Local 911 Services

MARIETTA, GA—Today, the state’s second and third largest counties filed a series of lawsuits in federal and state court against fifteen Georgia telephone service providers for failing to bill, collect, and turn over the proper 911 fees designed by state law to fund local 911 operations. The lawsuits seek to recover for Cobb and Gwinnett’s 911 systems more than $50 million for three years of alleged unpaid fees.

“These suits are necessary because the telephone service providers have a statutory and fiduciary responsibility under Georgia law to properly bill, collect, and remit 911 fees,” said Roy E. Barnes, counsel for Cobb and Gwinnett counties. “We believe, based on the evidence we have received, that responsibility has not been met. These monies need to be paid for the benefit of the counties’ 911 systems.”

Fifteen telephone service providers allegedly are misrepresenting the types and number of phone lines upon which the 911 fees are applied and are significantly under-billing customers, the suits say. The under collection of 911 fees for each line allegedly translates to a $9 million annual loss in Cobb County and an $8 million annual loss in Gwinnett County. The Counties contend these funds are necessary and should have been available for improvements to Cobb and Gwinnett’s 911 systems. The legislature approved the collection of these funds to support the critical lifesaving mission of 911 systems.

“The failure of these companies to pay their obligations could eventually result in the taxpayers of Cobb and Gwinnett counties picking up the bill. The taxpayers should not have to supplement this gap,” said Barnes.

Roy Barnes, John Bevis and Matthew Wilson of Barnes Law Group and David Worley and James Evangelista of Harris Penn Lowry are representing Cobb and Gwinnett Counties in the litigation. No taxpayer dollars will be spent on the litigation. If the lawsuits fail, neither county will owe legal fees.

The individual lawsuits are against major telecommunications carriers operating in each County, including BellSouth Telecommunications, LLC (d/b/a AT&T Georgia); Verizon Enterprise Solutions, LLC; Bandwidth.com CLEC, LLC; Broadriver Communication Corporation; Broadvox, LLC; CBeyond Communications, LLC; Charter Fiberlink – Georgia, LLC; Earthlink, LLC (and its subsidiaries Business Telecom, Inc. and DeltaCom, LLC); Inteliquent, Inc.; Level 3 Communications, LLC; Network Telephone, LLC; Peerless Network of Georgia, LLC; Windstream Communications, Inc (and its subsidiaries NuVox Communications, Inc. and Southern Digital); XO Communications Services, LLC; and YMax Communications Corp.

The lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the Superior Courts of Gwinnett County, and Fulton County.

The Barnes Law Group, LLC– www.barneslawgroup.com
Founded in 2003 in Marietta, Georgia, The Barnes Law Group, LLC, is anchored by former Georgia Governor Roy E. Barnes. The firm has received national recognition and distinction for its skill and advocacy on behalf of citizens and consumers. Although small in number, BLG’s legal team is comprised of dedicated talents that create a formidable group of trial attorneys in complex litigation matters. Collectively, BLG attorneys have recovered over $1 billion for consumers and injured plaintiffs.

Harris Penn Lowry LLP — www.hpllegal.com
Founded in 2006, Harris Penn Lowry LLP, handles large-scale litigation throughout the United States. With offices in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., the firm’s partners are sought-after, highly skilled trial lawyers, who have gained impressive reputations for past trial work, including many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.

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.

FAST SIGN v. AMERICAN HOME SERVICES

If you have received a fax from our office about a class action, it is NOT a scam and is legitimate.

Please visit the Class Administrator’s website to learn how to submit a claim.  This claim must be submitted by December 24, 2014.

Please visit www.ahsclassaction.com or call the hotline at 1/844-322-8241 for more information.

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.

Soldier Sues Title Lender, Claiming Abusive Practices

Click here to read the article published in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution on November 17, 2011.

 

Georgia Soldier Claims He Was Predatory Lending Victim, Associated Press, 11.22.2011

Click here to read the Associated Press article by Russ Bynum.

 

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.”