Author Archives: stoddardfirm

Georgia’s Condo Boom Puts Gun Violence Prevention in the Hands of HOAs

Condominium living has become increasingly popular in Georgia in recent years, between the wave of downsizing baby boomers and the influx of millennial first-time homeowners seeking more modest and centralized options than the suburbs. Although construction has yet to catch up with demand, there are more people living in Georgia condo complexes with each passing year. Unlike apartment complexes or detached houses in informal communities, condos are usually regulated by a governing board or homeowners’ association (HOA). Among their myriad powers over residents, condo associations have the final say on many matters of security, gun safety, and violence prevention. More Square Footage Doesn’t Necessarily Mean More Safety One of the reasons condo living is so popular is that it feels safer than the alternatives. Condos…

Non-Functioning Apartment Complex Gates Expose Tenants to Violence

To many security-conscious renters, a gate is an important amenity, more essential to daily life than a laundry room or onsite parking. The law requires that each individual apartment have a working deadbolt, so in areas where residential crime is common, a properly locking gate for the complex as a whole is a sensible added precaution. Property owners and managers are quick to appeal to prospective tenants’ safety concerns when advertising a gated apartment complex, but after the lease is signed, they’re not always so quick to address those concerns when the gate is misused or in need of repair. It’s standard practice in many complexes to leave broken gates open and unmonitored until they can be fixed, which doesn’t always happen with any particular…

Georgia Work Injury Attorney

New Toyo and SEWON Expansions Mean More Jobs… And More Deaths and Disfigurements

Since the recent expansion announcements by both Toyo Tires and SEWSON America, Georgia’s elected officials have been applauding the promised creation of at least 250 total jobs between the two companies. Those jobs are expected to become available in SEWSON’s Troup County manufacturing plant and a new Toyo Tires production facility in Cartersville in the near future. With statewide unemployment at 3.6% as of October 2018, new local jobs are certainly something to celebrate, but struggling Georgia residents deserve safer, healthier opportunities to support themselves and their families than the few options Toyo and SEWSON are likely to provide. Factory Work Continues to Be One of the Most Dangerous Professions The National Safety Council ranks manufacturing and production as the third most dangerous industry for…

Film set injury

Corner-Cutting on Georgia Film Sets Puts Cast and Crew Members at Risk

It’s no secret that the selection of filming locations depends heavily on local tax laws and other financial factors. It’s also no secret that cost-cutting attempts are one of the most common reasons for neglecting worker safety. Production-friendly local policies have made Georgia one of the movie and TV capitals of the world in recent years, bolstering the state economy with both entertainment industry and tourism dollars. It’s worth recognizing, however, that the same business priorities that bring film crews to Georgia are also the priorities that keep sets unsafe and lead to preventable injuries and deaths. Stunts Aren’t Supposed to Be Deadly Stunt performer fatalities are often treated as an accepted and inherent hazard of the profession. However, the point of hiring trained stunt…

Atlanta Hotel Child Trafficking

Atlanta’s Hotels Are a Haven for Child Sex Traffickers

Ever since the publication of the Urban Institute’s 2014 report on the illegal sex trade, the city of Atlanta has been trying to shake the unofficial title of “Sex Trafficking Capitol of the U.S.” Although it would take more research into the nationwide issue of sex trafficking to prove that Atlanta’s share of it is in fact the worst, the report did reveal Atlanta’s sex trafficking problem to be far larger than most locals would ever have guessed. As of 2007, the illegal sex industry was worth an estimated $290 million within Atlanta alone.   Both adults and children, male and female, are at risk of sex trafficking, but adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable. According to the Center for Public Policy Studies, about 374 underage…

Fireworks are dangerous

Fireworks Are Dangerous, Even in Responsible Hands

Every year, families across the U.S look forward to putting on their own backyard fireworks displays for Independence Day or New Year’s. Depending on local ordinances, and the type and quantity of pyrotechnics, this tradition can range from completely legal to a felony offence, but unfortunately, it’s always a serious safety hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home fireworks caused eight deaths and 12,900 injuries severe enough to require emergency room treatment in 2017. Those numbers are pretty typical, and have been since at least 2002. Accidents Are Not Always the Result of User Error Because of the questionable legality and inherent risks of fireworks, many people assume that they have “no one to blame but themselves” for firework-related injuries. Others believe that…

Pressure Cookers Can Fail Catastrophically and Unpredictably

Pressure Cookers Can Fail Catastrophically and Unpredictably

There are few things harder to render completely safe than a pressure vessel. Many products have the occasional defective unit, or a limited lifespan under the stress of normal use, but most products don’t cause second and third degree burns when they fail. Pressure cookers do, and it can be dangerously difficult to guess when that failure is approaching before it’s too late. Pressure Cooker Burns Are More Severe than Ordinary Scalding Injuries Pressure cookers were designed for canning meat and vegetables at higher-than-boiling temperatures to prevent botulism (a type of food poisoning from dangerous bacteria). They work by stopping water from evaporating and escaping at its natural boiling point, causing it to become superheated. People use them many types of recipes because their high…

The Gun Violence Epidemic Hits Georgia Families Hard

The Gun Violence Epidemic Hits Georgia Families Hard

The issue of preventing gun violence was a bitter and prominent point of contention in the 2018 midterm election, locally as well as nationally, and it’s no wonder why. As of 2016, Georgia ranked fourth in the nation in its gun violence death toll, losing 1,571 residents to shootings that year alone. Why 2016? Because those numbers come from the brief period after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when government research into gun violence was reopened by executive order. That program has since been shelved, resuming the gun violence research blackout instituted by the Dickey Amendment in 1996. This imposed shortage of hard data makes debates on the subject all the more frustrating, filled with partisanship and guesswork, but one thing is clear: the…

Parking Garages Should Be Safer

Parking Garages Should Be Safer

If you’re a woman living in Atlanta, or any big city for that matter, you’ve probably felt uncomfortable while returning to your car in a parking garage or dark parking lot. Even if you’re a man, these common settings of everyday life are inherently creepy places, isolating and full of blind corners. You may feel paranoid or laugh at yourself once you’re back on the road, but sadly, it’s not all in your head. Incidents of parking garage violence do occur with terrifying regularity in the Atlanta area alone. In March of 2018, a woman was carjacked in a parking structure while returning from her workout class in Atlanta. A group of attackers demanded her car keys at gunpoint. She handed them over and then…

Swimming Facilities Are Responsible for Keeping Customers Safe

Swimming Facilities Are Responsible for Keeping Customers Safe

Taking a swim is a great way to stay cool and keep in shape in the summer, but it’s easy to become wary of this pastime amid the many reports of fatal drowning. Here in Atlanta, the last few years have been especially rough on that front. In 2014, a 4-year-old girl drowned during a pool party at the Ansley Golf Club. A lifeguard was on duty, but apparently didn’t notice when the girl fell in. Just two years later, a 10-year-old boy drowned in the pool of the Westin Peachtree Plaza, at a birthday party for his friend. His death was made all the more sad and frustrating by the lack of information on how it happened. The Plaza’s representatives and the party’s chaperones…