Social Media Evidence as Impeachment
Pursuant to the Georgia Civil Practice Act, parties are entitled to the discovery of “any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action . . . .” O.C.G.A. § 9-11-26. Our firm has successfully argued that content posted by plaintiffs to their social media accounts after a motor vehicle accident is subject to this provision. Such content has included photographs of a plaintiff smiling and jumping spread eagle into the air two (2) weeks before his deposition in which he testified that he could not walk more than a few blocks without pain. It has included a Facebook post of “I’m feeling so fantastic today!” the same day that a plaintiff reported to her chiropractor with moderate-to-severe pain complaints. Other content has included photographs of a still-injured plaintiff participating in a post-accident Muddy Buddy Run (a 3-4.5 mile long running race in which buddies work together to climb, jump and crawl through 8-10 obstacles). Many plaintiffs readily turn over post-accident social media content, acknowledging that it is as discoverable as post-accident vacation photographs and diaries. However, other plaintiffs have been resistant to the idea of producing content that they assumed was privately shared. Just because a plaintiff’s social media profile is controlled by privacy settings does not render the content protected. Judge Eddie Barker in Douglas County has noted that a plaintiff’s posting of information and photographs as to his or her daily activities is no different than a plaintiff telling a neighbor […]
Attempts to Amend UM Bad Faith Penalty Provisions
During the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 303 which provided for the amendment of Georgia’s Uninsured Motorist Act, O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11 to provide for a minimum bad faith penalty of $25,000, regardless of the UM limits, plus attorney’s fees. Of note, the initial version of the bill called for unlimited penalties. The bill did not reach the Senate floor, but will likely be revisited next year. As explained below, the bad faith provisions contained in the current statute provide considerable protection to insureds over and beyond typical breach of contract claims. Uninsured/underinsured motorist claims are a mixed bag of tort and contract claims. A claimant insured must prove an entitlement to a tort recovery against an uninsured/underinsured motorist in order to be able to recover from the UM carrier. However, the claimant insured must also show that the policy is applicable. For instance, sometimes there is an issue as to whether the insured actually qualifies as an insured under the policy. Sometimes there are issues with multiple insurance policies issued by multiple companies as to which companies and policies provide primary coverage. When there is an issue as to whether or not coverage is owed, an insurance company has a contractual right to undertake an investigation, take statements under oath, request certain documents, etc. Often, sixty (60) days does not provide sufficient time period in which to undertake all of these efforts. Nonetheless, if a claimant insured makes a demand […]
My Car, My Business: Navigating Insurance Issues in a Rideshare World
In the last five years, ride share services such as Uber have effectively changed the way that millions of Americans move around in our cities. The advent of nontraditional ride share services as an alternative to traditional taxicabs, however, has created a number of issues regarding insurance coverage in states across the country. Among those issues are policy exclusions for car-for-hire activities, the incentive for ride share drivers to commit insurance fraud, compulsory minimum liability limits, the primacy of any commercial policy over a ride share driver’s liability or collision coverage, and the primary duty to defend the insured. In an effort to address those issues, the Georgia Legislature passed a law that was signed by Governor Deal on May 6, 2015. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2016 as O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24. Ride share services such as Uber and Lyft operate online networks that allow a prospective rider to hail a ride using GPS location services. In order to use a service such as Uber or Lyft, a rider has to create a member account and store payment information. A driver can connect to Uber or Lyft via an online app, and when connected, a driver can see and pick up prospective riders who have requested a ride. Once a driver picks up a rider, the ride share service tracks the route via GPS and automatically bills the rider for the cost of the ride. Generally, any policy of insurance issued in Georgia to the […]
WACHP Announces New Partner
We are pleased to announce that John Alday has been named a partner of the firm.
Seven of our Lawyers Named Georgia Super Lawyers for 2015
As published in Atlanta Magazine, seven of our lawyers have been named Georgia Super Lawyers for 2015. These lawyers are Russell D. Waldon, Jonathan M. Adelman, Trevor G. Hiestand, Daniel C. Prout, Jr., Kimberly A. McNamara, Ashley Rice, and Rakhi McNeill.
WACHP Opens Savannah Office
We are pleased to announce the opening of our Southeast Georgia office in the heart of Historic Downtown Savannah at 100 Bull Street. We are committed to growing our Southeast Georgia practice by striving to make client access and satisfaction top priorities. Please continue to direct all communications to our Atlanta Office.
Adelman and Reardon Published in GDLA’s Quarterly Magazine
Jonathan Adelman and Kevin Reardon published an update on Auto Insurance Liability Law in the Georgia Defense Lawyer publication, Volume XI, Issue II, Summer 20014. Click to view the article: Summer 2014 GDLA Article
WACHP Announces New Partner
We are pleased to announce that Ashley Rice has been named a partner of the firm.
Six of our lawyers named Georgia Super Lawyers for 2014
As published in Atlanta Magazine, six of our lawyers have been named Georgia Super Lawyers for 2014. These lawyers are Russell D. Waldon, Jonathan M. Adelman, Trevor G. Hiestand, Kimberly A. McNamara, Ashley Rice, and Rakhi McNeill.”
Our New Name
We are pleased to announce that we have changed our name from Harper, Waldon & Craig to Waldon, Adelman, Castilla, Hiestand & Prout. This does not represent a significant change in the firm’s personnel, but is rather a reflection of our firm’s march into the future. We will continue to serve our clients with the same devotion and quality to which they have become accustomed to expect.