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When The Dust Has Settled: Fallout From The 2020 Presidential Election And S.B. 202 Placed Georgia’S Election Code In The Nation’S Crosshairs, William L. Wheeler Dec 2022

When The Dust Has Settled: Fallout From The 2020 Presidential Election And S.B. 202 Placed Georgia’S Election Code In The Nation’S Crosshairs, William L. Wheeler

Mercer Law Review

Long regarded as a “safe” red territory, Georgia was thrust into the center of a national debate on federal and state elections when President Joe Biden flipped the state blue in the 2020 presidential election. In the wee hours of the morning on November 4, 2020, as the final votes were tallied and the electorate results became clear, the Peach State became the ignition point for a fiery, and often hyper-partisan, national debate over federal elections and how states conduct such contests. Due in part to the contrived rhetoric espoused by acolytes of the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) party, …


Legal Ethics, Patrick Emery Longan Dec 2022

Legal Ethics, Patrick Emery Longan

Mercer Law Review

This Survey covers the period from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022. The Article discusses developments with respect to attorney discipline, bar admission, malpractice and other civil claims, ineffective assistance of counsel, disqualification of counsel, contempt, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial conduct, amendments to the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, and formal advisory opinions of the State Bar of Georgia Formal Advisory Opinion Board.


Administrative Law, Moses M. Tincher, Chelsea J. Harris Dec 2022

Administrative Law, Moses M. Tincher, Chelsea J. Harris

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys cases from the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Georgia Court of Appeals from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022, in which principles of administrative law were a central focus of the case. Review of decisions by administrative agencies will be the first topic discussed, followed by cases discussing discretionary appeals, followed by cases discussing procedural requirements, with scope of authority to follow. The Article will conclude with cases discussing statutory construction.


You Can’T Simply Say “No!” Almighty Ceo: Georgia’S View On The Apex Doctrine And Discovery Abuse, W. Warren Hedgepeth Dec 2022

You Can’T Simply Say “No!” Almighty Ceo: Georgia’S View On The Apex Doctrine And Discovery Abuse, W. Warren Hedgepeth

Mercer Law Review

Discovery is the process that allows litigants to gather information from the opposing party in a civil lawsuit. Discovery practices differ among states, and each state’s discovery laws generally determine (1) the scope and limits of what information can be gathered, (2) how it is gathered, and (3) when it is gathered. Depositions are included in discovery methods and allow parties to ask the deponent questions relating to the case. Depositions are not only expensive but can be disruptive, especially to high-level corporate executives whose time and dedication to their companies should be their primary focus. In some jurisdictions, corporate …


Commercial Transportation, Madeline E. Mcneeley, Joshua H. Dorminy, Spencer P. Mead, Caitlyn B. Clark, Stephn G. Lowry Dec 2022

Commercial Transportation, Madeline E. Mcneeley, Joshua H. Dorminy, Spencer P. Mead, Caitlyn B. Clark, Stephn G. Lowry

Mercer Law Review

Commercial transportation involves all the significant forms of passenger and freight transportation across the United States. This Article surveys significant judicial, regulatory, and legislative developments in Georgia commercial transportation law from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022.


Evidence, John E. Hall Jr., W. Scott Henwood, Krysta Grimes Dec 2022

Evidence, John E. Hall Jr., W. Scott Henwood, Krysta Grimes

Mercer Law Review

Georgia’s judicial system has continued to grapple with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more than two years since the Honorable Harold D. Melton, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia,
first issued the Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency on March 14, 2020. That order was extended fifteen times before finally terminating on June 30, 2021.

Seemingly in response to the world of uncertainties created by COVID-19, Georgia appellate courts took the opportunity to provide some additional interpretation and explanation to various aspects of Georgia’s new Evidence Code. This Article highlights some of the continuing interpretations of Georgia’s evidence …


Insurance, Myrece Johnson, Maren R. Cave, Thomas D. Martin Dec 2022

Insurance, Myrece Johnson, Maren R. Cave, Thomas D. Martin

Mercer Law Review

During this Survey period, the courts in Georgia were somewhat quiet in the area of insurance following fairly active survey periods during the pandemic. In the three areas of insurance that typically dominate this annual update—automobile, liability, and property insurance—there were only a few cases in each area that seemed to break new ground or offer useful insights to practitioners of insurance law. This Survey period saw very few cases in the area of Georgia uninsured/underinsured (UM) law, which is typically the most active area of insurance decisions year after year. In fact, in this Survey period, legislative changes seemed …


Local Government, Russell A. Britt, Jennifer D. Herzog, Nick Kinsley, Jacob Stalvey O'Neal, Pearson K. Cunningham, Stuart Sumner, Rebekah Ditto, Philip E. Friduss Dec 2022

Local Government, Russell A. Britt, Jennifer D. Herzog, Nick Kinsley, Jacob Stalvey O'Neal, Pearson K. Cunningham, Stuart Sumner, Rebekah Ditto, Philip E. Friduss

Mercer Law Review

No abstract provided.


Real Property, Erica L. Burchell Dec 2022

Real Property, Erica L. Burchell

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia real property law between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. The 2021 Calendar year saw interest rates on a fixed-rate thirty-year mortgage hover at or around roughly 3%—oftentimes actually being below 3%. Since the beginning of 2022, those rates have continued on a nearly steady climb, with the average rate for a thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage for the week of May 26, 2022, clocking in at over 5%, a staggering difference from the year before. Rising interest rates have likely cooled demand for refinances. Nationally, while 2022 is showing a decline in new purchase …


Domestic Relations, Charles V. Crowe Dec 2022

Domestic Relations, Charles V. Crowe

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses noteworthy appellate decisions and legislative updates relevant to Georgia domestic relations law during the Survey period from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022.


Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel Dec 2022

Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses selected opinions and legislation of interest to the Georgia civil trial practitioner issued during the Survey period of this publication.


Zoning And Land Use, Newton M. Galloway, Steven L. Jones, Joshua Williams Dec 2022

Zoning And Land Use, Newton M. Galloway, Steven L. Jones, Joshua Williams

Mercer Law Review

Since 2017, this Georgia Survey of zoning law has annually chronicled judicial decisions transforming legislative zoning decisions into quasi-judicial actions, starting with City of Cumming v. Flowers, which held that a local government decision on a variance is quasi-judicial and may only be appealed by writ of certiorari. Subsequently, the Georgia Court of Appeals in York v. Athens College of Ministry held that consideration of a special/conditional use permit is also a quasi-judicial decision, thus extending the holding of City of Cumming. Though the appeal of a zoning decision has traditionally been de novo, York prohibited parties from …


Liberty And Justice For Y’All: Allowing Legal Paraprofessionals To Practice Law To Reduce The Effects Of Legal Deserts In Rural Georgia, Amanda Claxton Dec 2022

Liberty And Justice For Y’All: Allowing Legal Paraprofessionals To Practice Law To Reduce The Effects Of Legal Deserts In Rural Georgia, Amanda Claxton

Mercer Law Review

The lack of attorneys in rural America is not merely a social or cultural problem—it is a legal problem that officers of the courts cannot continue to ignore. Legal deserts are geographical areas where legal services are widely unavailable. Particularly in rural Georgia, legal deserts are a substantial issue. Attorneys and nonprofit organizations have attempted to ease the detrimental effects of legal deserts in a variety of ways; for various reasons, those efforts have been insufficient, and rural counties struggle to attract lawyers. Still, there is one method of resolving legal deserts that Georgia has yet to attempt: creating an …


Workers' Compensation, H. Michael Bagley, J. Benson Ward Dec 2022

Workers' Compensation, H. Michael Bagley, J. Benson Ward

Mercer Law Review

The Survey period featured limited legislation. House Bill 1409 increased the maximum rate of temporary total disability benefits from $675 to $725 and increased the maximum rate of temporary partial disability benefits from $450 to $483. Similarly, the maximum amount of death benefits payable to a sole surviving spouse was increased correspondingly from $270,000 to $290,000.

While not an amendment directly to the Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), it is noteworthy that House Bill 389 amends the definition of “employment” applicable to the “Employment Security Law.” This definition now includes services performed for wages unless the Department of Labor makes …


Business Associations: Veil Piercing In Georgia, Judd F. Sneirson Dec 2022

Business Associations: Veil Piercing In Georgia, Judd F. Sneirson

Mercer Law Review

This year saw few developments in Georgia corporate law. The one reported case on the topic involved veil piercing and related doctrines—nothing novel, but an opportunity to review and clarify this important area of Georgia law.


Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, And Fiduciary Administration, Mary F. Radford Dec 2022

Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, And Fiduciary Administration, Mary F. Radford

Mercer Law Review

This Article discusses significant cases decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals during the period of June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022, and significant Georgia legislation enacted in that same period relating to Georgia probate and trust law, guardianship, and estate planning.


“The Times They Are A-Changin’:” A Dedication To The Past, Present, And Future Of Mercer Law Review, Cathy Cox Dec 2022

“The Times They Are A-Changin’:” A Dedication To The Past, Present, And Future Of Mercer Law Review, Cathy Cox

Mercer Law Review

Longtime readers of Mercer Law Review’s Annual Survey of Georgia Law likely know that Mercer Law School is steeped in history. It is the first American Bar Association-accredited law school in the state of Georgia, having earned that distinction in 1925—more than fifty years after the law school was actually founded in 1873. In the same vein, the Mercer Law Review was founded in 1949 and remains the oldest continuously-published law journal in Georgia.

When I became a student at Mercer Law School, I knew little about Mercer Law’s history or heritage, or for that matter, about lawyers or law …


Construction Law, Peter M. Crofton, David R. Cook, C. Jackson Parker Dec 2022

Construction Law, Peter M. Crofton, David R. Cook, C. Jackson Parker

Mercer Law Review

In addition to common issues of construction law, cases from this year’s Survey period address novel issues such as the interplay of construction law and constitutional law and mandatory COVID-19 vaccines. As predicted in last year’s survey article, cases covered this year address the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, while construction projects resumed, the industry faced normal problems as well as unprecedented supply-chain difficulties.


Criminal Law, J. Scottt Key Dec 2022

Criminal Law, J. Scottt Key

Mercer Law Review

This Article reviews some of the most important opinions impacting the practice of criminal law delivered by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Georgia covering the period from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, as well as legislation adopted by the Georgia General Assembly during the 2021 session. This Article is designed to be a mere overview to both prosecutors and defense attorneys of decisions and new statutes and serves as a broad guideline to how these decisions will affect the practices.


Labor And Employment Law, W. Jonathan Martin Ii, Alyssa K. Peters, Patricia-Anne Brownback, David S. Cromer Dec 2022

Labor And Employment Law, W. Jonathan Martin Ii, Alyssa K. Peters, Patricia-Anne Brownback, David S. Cromer

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys revisions to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) and decisions interpreting Georgia law from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, that affect labor and employment relations for Georgia employers.


Torts, David Hricik Dec 2022

Torts, David Hricik

Mercer Law Review

The Supreme Court of Georgia’s decisions from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, ran the gamut in terms of both significance and subjects. Among the major decisions affecting Georgia tort law were the court’s decisions addressing apportionment, personal jurisdiction, defamation, products liability, and intellectual property.


Admiralty, John P. Kavanagh Jr. May 2022

Admiralty, John P. Kavanagh Jr.

Mercer Law Review

The cases discussed herein represent decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as well as district courts within the Circuit, issued in 2021. While not an all-inclusive list of maritime decisions during that timeframe, the Author identifies and provides summaries of key rulings of interest to the maritime practitioner.


Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr May 2022

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s 2021 class-action work featured an important decision on the existence of an independent ascertainability requirement for class certification. In an abrupt reversal of two unpublished opinions acknowledging the existence of such a requirement, the court aligned itself with most circuits that have addressed the question in demoting the ascertainability of class membership to a factor to be considered in establishing the manageability of a class action, rather than an independent requirement. The court’s other significant cases concerned class settlements and standing.


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta May 2022

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta

Mercer Law Review

The 2021 Survey period yielded decisions involving issues of first impression relating to federal trial practice and procedure in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. This Article analyzes recent trial practice developments in the Eleventh Circuit, including significant rulings in the areas of consumer debt collections, removal, jurisdiction and abstention, arbitration, and sanctions.


Healthcare Law, Kathryn Dunnam Harden May 2022

Healthcare Law, Kathryn Dunnam Harden

Mercer Law Review

This Article serves as a review of significant healthcare developments in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit during this past Survey period. Specifically, this Article will cover cases, legislation, and trends involving COVID-19, healthcare fraud, and reproductive rights.


Ding Dong! The Count Is Dead, Or Is It?: Criminal Defendants May Not Directly Appeal Convictions If Unresolved Counts Are On The Dead Docket, Lilly B. Nickels May 2022

Ding Dong! The Count Is Dead, Or Is It?: Criminal Defendants May Not Directly Appeal Convictions If Unresolved Counts Are On The Dead Docket, Lilly B. Nickels

Mercer Law Review

A defendant is indicted on two criminal counts, is found guilty on one of those counts, and is sentenced to time in prison. However, the jury could not come to a decision on the other count, so the trial court judge places the count on the court’s dead docket where the count could remain for an indefinite period of time, deeming the defendant’s case pending in the trial court. Due to the defendant’s case being classified as pending, the defendant does not have the right to a direct appeal. The defendant must helplessly serve prison time without any idea as …


Government Discretion Advised (Even If It’S Unconstitutional): How The Eleventh Circuit Has Expanded The United States’S Immunity From Tort Suits, John Rodriquez May 2022

Government Discretion Advised (Even If It’S Unconstitutional): How The Eleventh Circuit Has Expanded The United States’S Immunity From Tort Suits, John Rodriquez

Mercer Law Review

Mackie Shivers, a sixty-four-year-old man, was stabbed in the eye by his mentally-ill cellmate with a pair of scissors. Although the attack left Shivers permanently blind, he received no legal remedy to compensate him for his injuries. This result is due, at least in part, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s decision to interpret the discretionary function exception to the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) in a broader way than virtually all of its sister circuits. The holding by the Eleventh Circuit in Shivers v. United States bars FTCA claims under the exception even for …


Bankruptcy, John T. Laney Iii, Victoria Barbino Grantham May 2022

Bankruptcy, John T. Laney Iii, Victoria Barbino Grantham

Mercer Law Review

Following the pandemic-related drop in bankruptcy filings during 2020, bankruptcy filings for both individuals and corporations continued to decline in 2021. Experts disagree about the cause of the decrease of filings during a period many believed would see a windfall. Some cite government stimulus programs for both individuals, and corporations, others low-lending rates which allowed companies to access capital more freely, and some believe court closures and backlogs have discouraged parties from formal judicial restructuring. No matter the cause, all experts expect filings to increase in 2022.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued several notable …


Federal Income Taxation, Andrew Todd May 2022

Federal Income Taxation, Andrew Todd

Mercer Law Review

In 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit handed down several opinions involving U.S. federal income tax issues. Two of the court’s published opinions address federal income taxation of conservation easements. Conservation easements have been under significant scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), having earned a spot on the “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams in 2019. This Article surveys the two published opinions issued in 2021 involving the U.S. federal income taxation of conservation easements.


Environmental Law, Travis M. Trimble May 2022

Environmental Law, Travis M. Trimble

Mercer Law Review

In 2021, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, in an issue of first impression, concluded that the United States is not a “person” under the contribution provision of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), and therefore the provision did not waive the sovereign immunity of the United States. For this and other reasons a plaintiff could not recover in contribution from the United States for the plaintiff’s costs of cleaning up an oil spill, even where the plaintiff alleged the spill was the result of the sole negligence of the United States. The United States District …