Social media is everywhere, and while it gives businesses an unprecedented opportunity to reach a record number of consumers at a minimal cost, it can prove to be a double edged sword when disgruntled employees or customers, or even those wishing to capitalize on your trademarks, decide to post about your company online. In this issue of Litigation Insights, we look at how companies can defend themselves against a variety of online assaults.
THE ART AND SCIENCE OF WINNING YOUR CASE
Four Steps to Protect Your Brand on Social Media
By: J. Tucker Barr
What do you do when you find unauthorized uses of your trademarks or intellectual property online? This article explores steps companies can take to protect against online infringers. More >
Social Media and Georgia’s New Anti-SLAPP Statute
By: Robert L. Rothman and Morgan E.M. Morrison
Someone has posted a nasty and unjustified review of your business online, and you want to sue. Before filing suit, however, consider Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute, which has been newly expanded to protect perhaps even online critics from litigation designed to silence them. More >
The National Labor Relations Board’s Crackdown on Social Media Policies
By: Edward P. Cadagin
Implementing a social media policy that governs what your employees can say about your company online is a great idea. But watch out for the National Labor Relations Board, which is increasingly shooting down employer social media policies that it deems too restrictive on employee speech. This article explores recent decisions from the NLRB and how to craft an effective social media policy. More >
AGG LITIGATORS IN THE TRENCHES
Client Wins Summary Judgment Motion to Disclose Payday Loan Records
Working with Henry Chalmers, Megan Mitchell argued and won a summary judgment motion on behalf of Campaign for Accountability in its effort to secure disclosure of public records regarding the payday loan industry through the Georgia Open Records Act. Following an appeal by the losing party, which had sued to prevent disclosure of the records, the case will be heard by the Georgia Court of Appeals early next year.
Summary Judgment for Bank Client Exceeds $4.1 Million
At a hearing in Henry County Superior Court on November 21, 2016, Jim Gober successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of his client, a bank, in the sum of $4,142,968.57 against one of the guarantors of a development loan that went into default in 2012. Over the past several years, AGG has collected $1,885,000.00 of the debt owed on the defaulted loan despite the insolvency of the principal debtor and most of the loan guarantors.
Tenant Avoids Eviction, Wins Court Award in Pro Bono Case
Working pro bono through the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Jennifer Shelfer successfully defended a tenant living in intolerable conditions in a two-day bench trial in Magistrate Court. The landlord initiated court proceedings to evict the tenant after she complained about the missing walls, plumbing problems, leaking roof, broken HVAC, shattered windows and door locks from criminal invasions, and roach infestation in her rented single-family house. Not only did Jennifer defeat the eviction and deny the landlord recovery of two months’ rent, but she also secured an award for her client of $15,000, plus costs and interest against the landlord and his company.
Court Persuaded Client Did Not Violate Anti-Discrimination Laws
On September 7, 2016, Henry Perlowski and Theresa Kananen won summary judgment on behalf of Buckeye Pipe Line Services Co. in a disability discrimination lawsuit pending in the District of New Jersey. AGG persuaded the court that Buckeye did not violate anti-discrimination laws by terminating the plaintiff on the day he returned to work from an eight month disability leave because the plaintiff failed to meet objective job expectations and was not entitled to any form of accommodation as a matter of law.
Adversary’s Appeal of $461,243 Judgment Dismissed
At a hearing in Gwinnett County Superior Court on September 29, 2016, Jim Gober successfully obtained an order granting the motion of his client, a bank, to dismiss its adversary’s appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals on procedural grounds. The appeal was filed to contest a judgment in the amount of $461,243.57 obtained by AGG for the bank against a borrower following a trial that took place in May 2016.
Summary Judgment Gives Commercial Landlord Client $200,000
Knox Withers won summary judgment for a commercial landlord on a claim for breach of promissory notes. AGG achieved a $200,000 judgment, plus interest and attorney’s fees. This matter is currently on appeal before the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Client Victorious in Dispute With Guarantor of Commercial Lease Agreement
In October, Jim Gober and Morgan Morrison obtained a summary judgment of over $225,000 on behalf of their client, a commercial/retail landlord, against the guarantor of a commercial lease agreement.