The Stoddard Firm Blog

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...

Family of Man Who Died in Pike County Propane Fire May Have Grounds for a Civil Case

On the evening of December 15th, 2020, 56-year-old Kevin Lee Botsford burned to death in his Pike County home. He was the 91st person to die in a fire in Georgia in 2020 alone. When firefighters entered the building to attempt a rescue, they witnessed what different agencies described as either an explosion or a venting of gas from a propane tank. After determining that there was no chance of a person still being alive inside, they waited for the structure to be declared safe before retrie...

Man Shot at Gas Station Could Have a Case Against BP

A BP customer was hospitalized with several broken bones and a collapsed lung after an altercation outside a DeKalb County gas station on January 5th, near the corner of South Hairston Rd and Redan Rd. As the survivor describes the attack, he was approached by a young man who offered to sell him marijuana. After he declined, the man signaled to several others with gang signs, and more arrived in a black SUV. One of the men grabbed the survivor and slammed his head repeatedly against the wa...

Top Atlanta Resources for Escaping or Recovering from Sex Trafficking

As a law firm specializing in civil litigation, The Stoddard Firm tends to discuss issues like sex trafficking in terms of liability. However, we recognize that the litigation process is slow, and for many people facing sex trafficking, the idea of filing a lawsuit may seem impossibly distant and abstract. In this post, we’ll instead highlight just a few of the resources available to people in the Atlanta area who need immediate help avoiding, escaping, or healing from sex trafficking. ...

OSHA Introduces New Guidelines to Protect Construction Workers from COVID-19

Since the onset of the pandemic, construction workers have had to face even more dangerous workplaces than usual. The standard problems of falls and equipment accidents haven’t gone away, only been compounded by the contagion risk that now permeates all non-remote forms of work. As usual, however, employers have a moral obligation to make workplaces as safe as they can reasonably be, no matter what the potential hazards are. In a gentle reminder of this principle, the Occupational Safety a...

Atlanta’s Construction Industry Is Bustling in Spite of the Pandemic

Back in March, when the danger and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic first came to light in the U.S, the immediate fate of Atlanta’s construction industry came down to the placement of a single comma. In Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ initial stay at home order, the concept of “essential” work was defined as including “public works construction, airport operations, utility, water, sewer, gas, electrical…” and a multitude of other services. The specificity of “public works construction” se...

Can I Sue My Trafficker Even Though He Is in Prison?

The short answer is yes, you can sue a human trafficker, or indeed anyone who has harmed you with their negligent or illegal behavior, while they are incarcerated. There is no law preventing you from doing so, and there’s plenty of precedent for it. In fact, 80 survivors of Nxivm, the sex cult and alleged pyramid scheme that until recently was passing for an elite self-help group, are currently suing founder Keith Raniere for compensation. Their complaints range from sexual coercion to mon...

MARTA Employees Don’t Feel Safe From Violence At Work

Several MARTA bus drivers reported to Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News last September that they have been feeling unsafe at work, following repeated assaults from passengers. Upon investigation, Channel 2 was able to identify upwards of 20 such violent or threatening altercations over the previous three months, although drivers believe even that figure to be unrealistically low. Incidents ranged from punching and shoving, to spitting (in times of high contagion risk), to sexual exhibitionis...

The Suspension Of Jury Trials Under COVID-19 Has Made It Difficult For Accident Survivors To Cover Expenses

After a seven-month shutdown to protect against COVID-19, Georgia’s courts are just now beginning to reinstitute jury trials, with new social distancing precautions in place. Obviously, no one should have to risk their life or the lives of their family to participate in a trial — their own or someone else’s — but this extended lack of access to the justice system has had disturbing consequences of its own. Specifically, injured individuals who are counting on insurance settlements to cover...