Author Archives: stoddardfirm

injury cause by damaged sidewalks

The City of Atlanta Is Being Sued for Unsafe Sidewalks — Again

Simply walking down the street can be a risky endeavor in Atlanta, where obstructed and deteriorating sidewalks are a fixture of everyday life. Getting around safely is even more difficult for those Atlanta residents for whom walking itself is challenging or impossible. Small cracks and rises that many able-bodied pedestrians don’t notice can pose a serious danger and obstacle for users of wheelchairs and other assistive devices. That’s the reason for the latest lawsuit concerning Atlanta’s sidewalks. Three Atlanta residents with physical disabilities have filed a class action lawsuit against the city, on behalf of themselves and others in similar situations, for its failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Atlanta Never Kept Its Promises from Last Time Being sued for the condition…

Georgia gang violence attorney

Victims of Gang Violence Are Entitled to Increased Compensation under the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act

When choosing an apartment, or even a place to spend a day off, local crime rates are a significant consideration for many. Raw crime data isn’t hard to find, but rarely does it mention whether that crime is organized or not. That’s unfortunate, because gang activity is a significant factor in predicting crime patterns, and often a sign of property owner complicity. Funding for federal data collection on gangs was suspended in 2012, but the most recent figures indicate that gang-related violence accounts for at least 13% of homicides nationwide, and closer to 50% in many big cities. More recently, the U.S Attorneys for the Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia estimated the ratio to be even higher locally, potentially as high as 90%. To…

Gas stations need to do more to protect customers from violence

Gas Stations Need to Do More to Protect Customers from Violence

If you feel vulnerable while filling up your tank, it’s not just your imagination. According to a survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S gas stations are the site of approximately 63,530 violent crimes per year. That’s almost as many as hotel rooms, banks, and public transport stations put together. Such crimes are so common that they almost run together on the news. In November of 2018, a drug deal in an Atlanta gas station turned sour and became a shooting that killed two people. Less than a week later over in College Park, another pair of people were shot at a gas station, one in the face and one in the hip. The next day, another young man was fatally shot while pumping…

City of Decatur to repair sidewalks

The City of Decatur Has Begun Another Long-Term Project to Fix Crumbling Sidewalks

As part of an ongoing attempt to address the state of local sidewalks, the City of Decatur has announced its plans to smooth out tripping hazards over the next 3-4 years, starting with West Ponce De Leon Avenue. This project, while badly needed, will focus solely on tripping hazards that are under 2” in height and can be corrected by sawing down the protruding edges. Larger hazards that require full sidewalk replacement will be left for a later project, though a particular timeline for such a project has not been given. Decatur’s Sidewalks Should Never Have Been Allowed to Get This Bad Sidewalk construction and renovation has been a consistent presence in Decatur for over a decade. Given the emphasis that pedestrian access and safety…

property liability in high crime areas

Property Owners in High Crime Areas Are More Responsible for Security, Not Less

In a 2018 analysis that’s caused no shortage of controversy, Atlanta has been ranked among the nation’s 50 most unlivable cities. Of course, statistical rankings offer only the shallowest glimpse of what life is like in a given city. The metrics used for ranking, especially crime rates, can vary drastically from one neighborhood to another, or even from one business to the one next door, depending on property owner policies. Another more fine-pointed study back in 2010 found that the specific areas of Atlanta where people were most likely to fall victim to crime were along Carter Street, Marietta Street, Richardson Street, and Humphries Street. More recently, residents have noted a crime spike in Buckhead, in spite of its safe reputation, made up especially of…

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…