Drivers Have a Duty to Share the Road with E-Scooter Riders

The controversy surrounding the e-scooter micro-mobility trend has come to a tragic head in Atlanta in recent months. While the pros and cons of alternative vehicles, and the challenges of incorporating them safely and efficiently into the flow of traffic, have been subjects of heated debate since before e-scooters were even introduced, a recent string of deaths involving the devices has prompted new restrictions, new outrage, and new discussion. On July 17th, 2019, a scooter rider was run over by a bus at the corner of 15th and West Peachtree. Passengers on the bus say they heard the rider, Brad Alexander, pounding on the side of the bus to alert the driver to his presence, but she didn’t notice. Once a passenger got her attention,…

Hotels Must Do a Better Job Protecting Their Guests from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In a fresh, tragic reminder of the deadly power of carbon monoxide, two Best Western guests lost their lives this summer while visiting Asheville, NC for a rugby tournament. While police note that conclusive toxicology information may not be available for up to eight months, an initial investigation of the property points to improperly vented air and water heaters as a possible culprit. The Stoddard Firm has seen all too many cases of company owners failing to maintain safe premises for their guests, and we’re proud to help the victims of preventable accidents like CO poisoning, as well as their families, obtain justice. “Most carbon monoxide poisoning deaths can be prevented by installing and maintaining CO detectors wherever people sleep or fuel is burned,” says…

Testing Continues at the Sheraton Atlanta Following Legionnaires’ Outbreak

The Sheraton Atlanta has temporarily closed to conduct testing for legionella bacteria, after several guests of the hotel were diagnosed with legionnaires’ disease, a dangerous respiratory condition also known as Pontiac fever. According to a statement by hotel management, the closure will continue at least until August 11th. The Sheraton has not been confirmed as the source of the outbreak, but no other locations are currently being tested, and all ten victims identified so far appear to have attended the same conference at the hotel. Legionnaires’ Is a Potentially Deadly Waterborne Illness Legionella bacteria, which causes legionnaires’ disease, occurs naturally in wild fresh water sources and can become hazardous to humans when it colonizes plumbing systems. Transmission usually occurs through breathing aerosolized droplets of contaminated…

Wendy’s Employee Tests Positive for Hepatitis A, Signaling Danger of Foodborne Illness

A food service worker at a Wendy’s location in Lawrenceville has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A, after working while sick from June 13th through June 29th. In response, the Health Department is urging anyone who ate at the affected location during that time to visit a Health Department office for free testing and, if necessary, immunization. Meanwhile, Wendy’s management has sanitized the restaurant and vaccinated exposed employees. This incident occurred within days of a nearly identical one in Cartersville, at Willy’s Mexicana Grill, and northwest Georgia as a whole is currently experiencing what the state recognizes as an outbreak, with over 300 reported cases so far. However, no spread of the virus from the Wendy’s location has yet been confirmed. Hepatitis A Can Be Fatal…

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Whoever Wins the Tug of War for Hartsfield-Jackson, Passengers Still Lose

In a controversial move that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms likened to “declaring war on the city,” the Georgia State Senate voted on March 7th to remove control of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from the city of Atlanta and place it with the state. Weeks later, the Georgia House approved a heavily altered version of the bill, softening the state takeover into the creation of a state-run oversight committee. Yet amid all the debate over who has the right to control and profit off of the busiest airport in the world, few are talking about passengers’ rights to a safe travel environment, or how to fix Hartsfield-Jackson’s ongoing failure to provide one. The Record of City-Level Corruption Is Long and Indisputable As one of the biggest economic…

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Gwinnett County’s Rejection of MARTA May Be about More than Partisan Politics

The voters of Gwinnett County have recently rejected a proposal for a local MARTA expansion. This isn’t the first time — voters turned down similar proposals in both 1971 and 1990 — but greater population diversity and worsening traffic congestion had led many transit advocates to believe this might be MARTA’s year in Gwinnett. There were no doubt many factors contributing to the proposal’s defeat, some of them underhanded. The issue was left off the November ballot and relegated to a special election, excluding many lower income voters and giving the county’s dwindling population of wealthy suburbanites a louder voice. One anti-transit activist even arranged robocalls telling voters that MARTA was planning to “put thousands of apartments in Gwinnett,” exploiting racist and classist prejudices against…

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DeKalb County Has Raised Pay for Public Safety Employees by 4%

As of November 2018, public safety employees in DeKalb County, including police officers, firefighters, and 911 operators, have been granted a pay raise of 4%. This is in addition to the February 2018 vote to create 155 new police officer jobs. DeKalb County has good reason to focus on attracting quality talent to police positions and ensuring that officers are well incentivized and supported. In 2017, the DeKalb County police department was severely understaffed, leading to a rise in both unsolved homicides and homicides in general. By the middle of the next year, the unsolved homicide rate showed significant improvement, thanks to a fuller staff of detectives. One crime journalist and former councilman suggests that the link between officer retention and crime solving goes beyond…

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The Safety Hazards of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s “Plane Train”

The people-mover known as the “Plane Train,” which shuttles passengers around the busiest airport in the world, is so ridiculously unsafe that it’s become a running joke, yet nothing is being done to improve safety. The interior of each Plane Train car is empty, except for 10 vertical bars to be shared among 50 riders at a time. Before each start and stop, an automated voice advises travelers to “please hold on” — and it’s not kidding. The train then lurches in and out of its 24-35 mph operating speed abruptly enough to knock unbraced passengers off their feet. Automated voices also warn at each station that “the doors are closing and will not reopen.” Apparently, being caught in the doorway doesn’t instantly sentence a…

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…

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…