The Stoddard Firm Blog

Sex Trafficking Sting at Fayette County Hotels Ends in 21 Arrests, but Many May Be Victims

Over the course of two nights at the end of last month, undercover police officers responded to prostitution advertisements and set up meetings at two hotels in Fayette County, one in Peachtree City and one in Fayetteville, as part of a coordinated human trafficking sting. Of the 21 women and men arrested in the sting, however, only four are suspected of pimping. Of the rest, 16 are being held only on prostitution and drug possession charges, and one on charges of prostitution and identity...

Fatal Crane Accident at the Port of Savannah Might Be Grounds for a Civil Suit

A union longshoreman, 50-year-old Stephen Cobb, was killed in a crane accident at the Port of Savannah on March 26th. He was pronounced dead at the scene at the Garden City terminal in the early morning. Little information has been released about the nature of the accident itself. It involved a rubber-tired gantry crane that was used for moving shipping containers, but it’s not clear whether Cobb was operating the crane or working nearby, whether there was an equipment malfunction, or w...

The Atlanta Massage Parlor Shooting Highlights a Fundamental Failure to Keep Spa Workers Safe

Last month, a man walked into three massage parlors in the Atlanta area and shot and killed a total of eight people, six of them Asian women. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, has confessed and confirmed that the crime was sexually motivated, calling the women “temptations.” Though Long has been arrested and is currently awaiting trial for the murders, the social attitudes that reportedly motivated his actions remain, continuing to endanger other massage and spa workers. Worki...

New Legislation Could Make It Easier for Georgia Sex Trafficking Survivors to Win Compensation in Civil Court

Two important bills in Georgia’s fight against sex trafficking passed the State Senate on March 8th, the General Assembly’s crossover day. These bills will now advance to the House for further debate, and could well become law in the near future. The first, Senate Bill 33, explicitly protects sex trafficking survivors’ right to sue their traffickers for monetary compensation, plus legal costs. Under Bill 33, survivors would have until 10 years after the trafficking incident in question, or...

The FAA Is Searching for the Cause of the Fatal Gainesville Cessna Crash

A single-engine airplane carrying three adults crashed in Gainesville this February. There were no survivors. The FAA is currently investigating the cause and details of the crash, and has so far confirmed that the three bodies found in the wreckage match the three people expected to be on board. The plane had recently taken off from nearby Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport and was on its way to Daytona Beach, Florida. In addition to the deaths of the pilot and passengers, the crash displaced a ...

Forsyth County Man Injured in Basement Explosion May Be Able to Sue

Jim Davis, a 38-year-old man from Gainesville, has been hospitalized with burns all over his body, including some third degree burns that will require skin grafts, following an explosion in his basement. Davis was spraying a flammable primer as part of a painting project, when the fumes ignited. Officials believe the basement’s water heater may have been the source of ignition. The explosion was powerful enough to cause the garage door to bow outward and multiple walls to shift out of posi...

Owner May Be Liable for Fire that Killed Five in a DeKalb County Home

Early in January, a home caught fire in DeKalb County with five people inside. By the time emergency response crews arrived, the fire had progressed too far to allow a rescue. The remains of the victims, 27-year-old Quaniece Gregory and her four small children, were later found in their bedrooms. The family dog was reportedly also killed in the fire. A sixth resident —Gregory’s husband, Thomas Reese — was in Maryland for work at the time of the fire. In addition to the devastating loss of his...

Victims of the Gainesville Poultry Plant Nitrogen Leak May Have More Options Than They Know

Six people are dead following a nitrogen leak at the Foundation Food Group plant in Gainesville on January 28th, 2021. The dead were all employees of the plant, ranging in age from 28 to 45, many of them parents of young children. Their names were Nelly Gisel Perez-Rafael, Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera, Corey Alan Murphy, Saulo Suarez-Bernal, Victor Vellez, and Edgar Vera-Garcia. Perez-Rafael was the one who made the call to report the incident, and she was last seen alive warning her col...

Surviving Family of Frederick Rooks Can Sue Ricky “Silento” Hawk for His Shooting

The rapper known as Silento, given name Ricky Hawk, has been arrested and charged with the murder of his cousin, Frederick Rooks. Rooks was found early the morning of January 21st lying on the pavement of Deep Shoals Circle in DeKalb County, dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the face and leg. Neighbors heard the shots at around 3:30am, and security cameras captured portions of the incident. Neither Rooks nor Hawk lived on Deep Shoals Circle, but residents of a nearby home were familiar ...

Underage Trafficking Victims in Coweta County Have Strong Grounds to Pursue Human Trafficking Lawsuits

Over the past year or so, Coweta County has become a significant focus in Georgia’s fight against sex trafficking. By searching social media for prostitution ads and working closely with organizations like the Human Exploitation Investigations Group and Homeland Security’s Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Group, local law enforcement has been able to set up several stings at Coweta County hotels. In November of 2019, officers made 15 arrests, two of them for pimping, one for pander...