December 5, 2012

FIND A DEDICATED ATLANTA, GEORGIA, BUSINESS LAWYER TO PROTECT YOUR PARTNERSHIP INTERESTS AT THE FIRST SIGN OF FAILURE TROUBLE

In my many years as an experiencedAtlanta business attorney, I have witnessed countless business persons begin business partnerships with the best of intentions, only to find themselves in drawn out litigation or disputes. In a high profile partnership dispute case, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Spirit co-owner Steve Belkin has until Thursday, February 25th to pay $2 million or lose his stake in the partnership. The eight-person partnership has been fighting in court since 2005 to determine how much seven of the group must pay Belkin to buy out his 30% interest.

Belkin is part of a partnership bought the Hawks, Thrashers and Phillips Arena operating rights from Turner Broadcasting System in 2004 and shared voting power equally among three subsets of owners. Like many failed business partnerships, the group almost immediately began having disagreements and losing money.

Our Georgia business dispute lawyers see partnership disputes arise all the time, between partners, shareholders and family members. This is true for all kinds of business and over a wide variety of business matters. Moreover, the poor economy has caused more and more businesses to lose money. As such, business partners are blaming each other for the company’s failure and fighting over the company’s assets and future. As a result, many partnerships all across Georgia and the nation are floundering.

If your Georgia based business is suffering from internal disputes, disagreements and financial losses, you need an experienced business lawyer in Atlanta to be on your side and help you determine several issues such as:


• Do you want to sell your company?

• Do you want to retain control over the business?

• Do you want to operate the business yourself?

• Do you want to retain your personnel?

It is crucial you have an experienced Georgia business attorney with you to determine what your options are in the case of a break up. Typical solutions include settlement, buy-out, sale or distribution of the business, and arbitration.

If your partnership or business is failing or if you are in the midst of a partnership dispute, please contact the Atlanta Business Law firm, Adams Libby, LLC to help you undertake to protect your business interests.


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December 5, 2012

IS THE GEORGIA HOMEOWNER ARBITRATION PROCESS FAIR TO HOMEOWNERS?

As an Atlanta Construction Lawyer, I have worked with clients who have taken their Georgia construction arbitration, litigation, and disputes to the court system for resolution, and others who have gone through the process of arbitration. Many times, a construction contract specifically states that all disputes must be resolved through arbitration, yet unless contractually mandated, arbitration is often overlooked. It is important to note that while both methods have their advantages, arbitration is often the fastest and can be very cost effective.

In Georgia it can take a minimum of a year for a case to go to trial, while the date of the final arbitration hearing can be set much sooner. Disputes are often resolved just a few months after the arbitration process is initiated. The disadvantage to arbitration is that the parties named in the dispute will pay for the time of an arbitrator. Arbitrators belong to arbitration associations that are usually private businesses, and fees for an arbitrator can cost several hundred dollars per hour. The court system, on the other hand, is funded by tax revenue and requires that the parties pay only filing fees.

Besides the timing advantage, another strong point to arbitration is that the parties can choose the arbitrator that will preside over the case. Arbitrators have been trained in specific technical areas of the law and can be picked with this in mind. Judges in court proceedings cannot be picked and, although they have a broad knowledge of the law, the judge assigned to a case may not possess proficiency in the area that the dispute covers. In complex construction disputes, having the option to choose a knowledgeable arbitrator will ensure that all parties are treated fairly under Georgia law.

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December 4, 2012

WHY RETAIN AN ATLANTA LAWYER BEFORE A LEGAL CRISIS?

As an Atlanta Lawyer I have many clients that come to me to help them set up their businesses. Business entity formation, partnership and operating agreements, employment contracts and agreements, and employment law are all areas that I frequently work on for my clients. There are other times, though, when I do represent my business clients in court. In fact, according to a 1997 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court, any Georgia business that is facing litigation must hire a licensed attorney to represent the company. Thus, if you do not have a business attorney and become involved in litigation, you must retain one. What is more, many of my Atlanta, Business Law Clients who work with our Atlanta Attorneys out of our Atlanta or Marietta Offices, often comment on how glad they are to have us nearby for piece of mind, prosperity, profitability, but most of all, that they know we are there for them when something inevitably and/ suddenly arises. I have engaged in dialogue with many of my clients, on more on a few occasions, to find out what makes having a good Local Atlanta, Georgia Business Attorney essentially, on call (or on staff). Virtually all of the answers I received were statements about how a prudent businessperson cannot just go out and find a business lawyer their business can work with and trust at the last minute . . . like a Starbucks.

It is always prudent to have Atlanta Attorneys on hand who is familiar with the company and can step in if litigation arises. But, there are other very good reasons to hire a business lawyer. The first is to properly set up the business. Deciding on which type of business entity will work for the business model is important before filing the proper paperwork. A knowledgeable Georgia Business Attorney is invaluable at this stage in business formation. Personal liability issues and tax consequences need to be considered and an experienced Atlanta, Georgia business lawyer will have good insight into which options are best for the business. An hour could be all that is required to complete an initial assessment of this step, but doing it right can help you avoid future financial and legal issues and serious tax problems or lost tax benefits.

Before hiring employees at the new company, it is essential to draft solid Georgia employment contracts. Job duties, payment terms, non-disclosure agreements and non-competition clauses all need to be considered. These documents will ensure that future litigation is kept to a minimum. This is especially true given the most recent proposed changed to The Georgia Constitution wherein Judges will be allowed to “blue pencil” in changes to employer-employee agreements to make them enforceable so long as they are no less favorable to the employee. (This subject matter is a whole new set of Articles/Blogs which will be coming soon. The fact is, the fallout from this legislation has yet to be seen).

An Atlanta, Georgia business attorney and Atlanta, Georgia employment attorney can also help with the hiring and firing or the process of “laying off” employees and can assist with setting up a system to measure employee performance. The guidelines and contracts that are established early on will help protect the company if any employee ever files a lawsuit against the company. Besides paying employees, many companies purchase services from suppliers, have leases on property (for example, vehicles and commercial real estate) and sign distribution or licensing agreements. A business attorney will safeguard your company against one-sided agreements by negotiating favorable terms for the company.

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December 1, 2012

ATLANTA BUSINESS ATTORNEYS HELP GEORGIA COMPANIES FIGHT UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES

As the world economy tightens and companies strive to turn a profit, it is not only Georgia consumers who fall victim to illegal business tactics and unfair business practices. Georgia companies also can be affected by the illegal and unfair business practices of their competitors. Businesses today are operating in a cutthroat environment driven by increasing competition, changing sales goals, workforce cuts and cost reductions. So it is not surprising that companies of all sizes are vulnerable to competitors that will take any action required to get a competitive edge.

While many companies do follow the law when competing within a given industry and limit their strategies accordingly, some take actions that are clearly in violation of Georgia business law. When disputes do arise, it seems that the large companies with deep pockets are able to protect themselves. They appear to effortlessly litigate in order to safeguard their market share, leaving smaller companies in their wake. While some smaller companies do participate in unfair business practices, it is often smaller businesses that need greater protection. Because of their size, these smaller companies often face a challenge when defending their rights against larger companies and corporations.

The upside is that Georgia business law regulates how businesses operate so that all companies have the opportunity to do business in an environment free of illegal and unfair business practices. The laws exist to discourage unfair behavior, but for some companies the temptation is too great and the law is broken. There are a host of activities that fall into the category of unfair business practices including price fixing between competitors, false advertising, monopolies and boycotting certain businesses. When laws are broken and companies become victims of these types of activities, Georgia business lawyers are there not only to defend the interests of their clients, but also to fight for compensation for losses incurred.

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October 21, 2012

ATLANTA BUSINESS LAWYERS PROTECT AGAINST MINORITY SHAREHOLDER OPPRESSION (“SQUEEZE OUT”) (“FREEZE OUT”) TACTICS

As a Corporate business Lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, I am well aware the majority of the businesses in the United States are Close Corporations. Georgia Close Corporations are classified as having a maximum of fifty shareholders, no publicly traded stock, and active management by shareholders. Because Close Corporations usually employ the shareholders, these companies generally have a more relaxed management style. The downside is that this management model puts the minority shareholders in a situation where they quickly can be faced with Shareholder Oppression, also commonly referred to “squeeze out” or “freeze out” tactics. When this situation goes unchecked by the Minority Shareholders, this typically results in a negative impact on the minority shareholders and can lead to their termination of employment with the company.

When employed with a Close Corporation, income from employment and the input your Close Corporation shares allow the shareholder, is likely the most valuable stake that minority shareholders have. Shares held have no value on the open market. That, coupled with the fact that majority shareholders are unlikely to buy the minority’s shares at a fair price, leaves the minority shareholders with little or nothing upon being terminated.

The good news is that minority shareholders in Close Corporation have significant rights.
There are legal protections in place, which Close Corporation Shareholders can use to defend their rights. Many are as follows:


• Retaining an Atlanta Corporate Shareholder Attorney is the best route to protecting your Close Corporation interests.

• In the alternative, Business Law statutes in Georgia do provide protection for minority shareholders faced with this situation. Just as in ordinary corporations, all shareholders in Close Corporations have the right to inspect the documents pertaining to the company, including, but not limited to, bylaws, shareholders meeting minutes, documentation of actions taken outside of meetings and resolutions related to share classification.


• In the case of wrongdoing, documents discovered during inspection can provide the required evidence to file a lawsuit against the company.

• Georgia law states that the majority shareholders have a Fiduciary Duty to the minority shareholders, allowing minority shareholders to sue for dissolution of the Close Corporation when these duties are not fulfilled. These suits can be filed if the majority shareholders have acted are acting or are expected to act in an illegal, fraudulent, oppressive, or unfair fashion toward the minority.
• Minority shareholders also can sue for fair valuation of their shares.

Whatever the circumstance, it is critical to seek an Atlanta Corporate Business Attorney experienced in Shareholder Actions. Having a properly drafted operational agreement can prevent these types of disputes from developing, but if conflicts do arise, an Atlanta, Georgia Corporate Lawyer with experience in Corporate and Shareholder proceeding will ensure that all possible legal avenues are pursued to help Minority Shareholders receive fair treatment and compensation under Georgia Law.

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August 27, 2012

HIRING AN ATLANTA BUSINESS LAWYER IS A NECESSITY WHEN ESTABLISHING A GEORGIA BUSINESS -- DO NOT TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR FUTURE

In my Atlanta, Georgia Business Law firm, I have seen many instances of business owners that have suffered because of how their businesses were initially set up. When establishing a new business, or even when re-establishing an existing business entity, it is imperative to have legal counsel review the specific needs and circumstances of the business and draft the legal documents required by Georgia law. With a clear understanding of the structure and dynamics of the organization, a Georgia business attorney is able to determine the proper Georgia legal entity that the business should operate under and will file the appropriate documents with the Georgia Secretary of State to establish the entity. Per Georgia law, legal contracts and agreements will then be drafted that outline the relationships between business partners, and licensing and taxation issues will be reviewed. Addressing these matters up front is greatly beneficial in preventing or resolving any partnership disputes or litigation in Georgia courts.

In today’s tough economy, many people are starting their own businesses. But with the infiltration of online legal document services, it is easy for new business owners who may be strapped for cash to bypass using the services of a Georgia business attorney. Unfortunately, by their very nature, these online legal documents can cover only the most common legal issues and cannot begin to address the individual circumstances and requirements that ultimately face any business. These "e-documents" do not address specific Georgia business requirements and provisions. Relying solely on documents found through an online service may seem cost effective and quick at first glance, but the results can be disastrous. These documents are not legal advice and are not a substitute for an experienced Georgia business lawyer. A reading of the disclaimer from any of these "e-document" sites confirms that the provider of these "e-documents" has set forth these "e-documents" for information purposes only. Further, as you might guess, these "e-document" providers take no responsibility for the serious problems these "e-documents" cause or assist you when pressing concerns arise. As an Atlanta, Georgia business attorney, I have seen the countless problems these "e-documents" create. As a proprietor of a well-established Georgia business law firm, I find the sale of these documents untenable.

Continue reading "HIRING AN ATLANTA BUSINESS LAWYER IS A NECESSITY WHEN ESTABLISHING A GEORGIA BUSINESS -- DO NOT TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR FUTURE" »

August 2, 2012

CAN YOU BE SUED IN GEORGIA? -- BUSINESSES BEWARE OF THE “LONG ARM” OF GEORGIA LAW

As a As an Atlanta, Georgia lawyer who both defends and files lawsuits on behalf of clients throughout GA and the US, I am writing to you today about Georgia lawsuit on contracts. At its simplest, a contract it is an offer by one party, accepted by another party, and performed, as agreed, by both parties.

Many parties entering into a new Georgia corporate business attorney-client relationship are either so eager to begin their business affairs, or so wary of delaying or derailing a Georgia business deal, that they are wary of bringing up the need for a written contract governed by Georgia Law. If a written contract is agreed to, many try to make it as simple as possible often without seeking the legal advice of an Atlanta, Georgia business contract attorney.

Our Firm has Atlanta business consulting lawyers giving advice to each business, which is custom tailored to their needs (we give such advice on an ongoing basis as needed after hours, on weekends, and more).
This is why many businesses enter agreements without a written contract, without attorney review of a contract, or without even reading a contract. This is also why so many contractual agreements that begin with such optimism and desire for speed, end up dragged down into the mire of contractual litigation, where they are finally forced to resort to the attorneys who could have prevented such a breakdown in the first place.
Protect your Georgia business with an Atlanta business lawyer’s advice and know that it is of the utmost important to have a written contract reviewed by experienced local Atlanta business contract attorney, that covers, simply but effectively, all necessary elements of the binding contract-agreement governed by Georgia law to ensure the rights and obligations of both parties are met.
A simple example of a situation where one clause can solve a great deal of time and expense is the question of jurisdiction to hear your case, the specific court (state or superior, etc.) and governing law.

Many Atlanta and Georgia businesses deal with other businesses, contractors, and customers that are outside of Georgia. So, if there is a lawsuit, where must it be filed? Many tend to believe that they can file a lawsuit in the state where they reside. This is not always the case, in fact, it is most often the very opposite.

Generally, a lawsuit must be filed in the state where the Defendant (the non-suing party) resides.

Thus, if you are a Georgia business, even one that feels it is the victim of a breach by an out-of-state company, you will still have to file in that company’s state with all the extra expenses involved in that.

If you wish to fight to have the case brought within your state and county, you will have to prove that your situation falls within the exceptions to this rule, known as the Georgia Long-Arm Statute (O.C.G.A. 9-10-91). Under the Georgia Long-Arm Statute a lawsuit can be brought in Georgia if the nonresident:

1. Transacts any business within Georgia;
2. Commits a tortious act or omission in Georgia;
3. Commits a tortious injury in this state caused by an act or omission outside this state if the tort-feasor regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this state; and
4. Owns, uses, or possesses any real property situated within Georgia.

This is a very high and fact-based standard and thus a time-consuming, expensive inquiry. It is also one that would have to be addressed before the merits of the case itself could even be considered.

THE BEST WAY TO AVOID THE ABOVE PROBLEMS?
A simple clause within the contract that states, “In the event a dispute arises, the parties agree that all lawsuits, claims, etc. will be brought within the state of Georgia [including county, city, and court where possible] and be interpreted and governed by and under Georgia law.”
[THIS - AND THE ABOVE AND BELOW INFORMATION - IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE - LEGAL ADVICE CAN ONLY BE GIVEN BY A GEORGIA ATTORNEY AT A PROPERLY SET CONSULTATION]

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August 1, 2012

ATLANTA CONSTRUCTION DEFECT LAWYERS SAYS "GEORGIA HOMEOWNERS AND CONTRACTORS PLAGUED BY IMPROPER CONCRETE INSTALLATION – THE MONSTER AMONG DEFECTS"

As an Atlanta, Georgia construction defect lawyer, improper concrete installation is a defect, which usually causes significant, costly, and severe damage. By the very nature of concrete’s physical makeup, its uses in construction, and its importance in our day-to-day construction world, construction defects are costly to correct. Oftentimes, these defects are not open and obvious and occur over time, making them even harder to detect or place blame on the party at fault. Nevertheless, Georgia law gives legal recourse to seek a legal remedy for all types of construction defects. As an Atlanta, Georgia Construction Defect Attorney, I always recommend that homeowners seek an Atlanta Construction Defect Lawyer with significant knowledge of concrete. Additionally, it is equally as important to find an engineer to work with you who understands concrete uses, its physical attributes, and how to rectify these defects. Usually a good construction defect attorney will have their construction expert they prefer. Quickly rectifying these issues, especially when they relate to concrete, is critical. If left unaddressed, concrete defects can worsen with time and seriously affect the structural integrity of the home. Ultimately, the safety of the dwelling, and ability of the homeowner to sell the property in the future, is at stake. Conversely, when working with construction companies to rectify their mistake or disprove accusations of fault, it is important to have independent concrete engineer and a working knowledge of concrete, its attributes, and the building industry standards.

As homeowners, we are forced to put our trust in many types of contractors and usually it is relatively straightforward to find a qualified professional who, through referrals, can make repairs. However, in new construction timelines and oversight of projects, contractors are usually not intimately involved in overseeing the project. This is especially true after the home is purchased and the pre-build out is complete. Unfortunately, it may be months or even years after the buyers move into the home, before the Georgia concrete construction defects discovered. Thus, it usually becomes a daunting task to rectify the situation by correcting the defects in a suitable fashion, finding the responsible parties, and holding accountable the responsible parties.

A Georgia construct defect attorney with knowledge of concrete can be invaluable in this process. This is especially true if this Georgia construction lawyer has a trusted construction concrete engineer by their side. One of the first things an attorney will do is to locate an expert who will inspect and evaluate the defects. This expert can also act as a witness during any necessary arbitration or litigation. The expert will have an insightful understanding of the science behind concrete application, not mere experience. This is critical and an experienced construction defect attorney will look for a construction expert who understands the importance of site evaluation, proper mixing techniques, the range of cement grades, correct concrete installation, proper curing for under different types of weather conditions and backfill quality.

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July 30, 2012

FIND THE BEST ATLANTA LAWYER AND RETAIN AN EXPERT FOR YOUR CASE -- FACTORS TO CONSIDER

As a Atlanta lawyer, I realize the importance of new Atlanta construction arbitration and its binding effect. The legal forum for resolving Georgia new construction disputes is usually binding arbitration and triggered by a clause in the “New Construction Dispute Resolution Section” in the “Home Purchase Agreement”. In most cases, the arbitration ruling is final. This means there is no chance to challenge the arbitration ruling, such as an appeal. In short, new home construction arbitration in Georgia is final. Should you disagree with the arbitrator’s award or judgment in your case, you are stuck with their ruling – and, no legal recourse. In your new home construction arbitration case, I know the importance and necessity of having affordable, zealous, and aggressive legal representation leading the way.

As an Atlanta construction law attorney, I have successfully represented countless clients in Georgia home construction defect arbitration cases. I have also represented countless clients in Georgia home construction defect negotiations. What is more, I have successfully brought contractors, builders, sub-contractors, and architects who are at fault, “to the table”, forced them to take responsibility and for their defective construction or design and pay damages, forced them to correct the defects at no charge to the home buyer, or both. It therefore stands that I know what you must look for in choosing a lawyer to represent you in a Georgia construction dispute. This is especially true if your dispute is to be decided through binding arbitration. Regardless, you must decide when it is the right time to seek the assistance of a Georgia construction attorney.

I would presume you found this article because you believe you have a construction defect in your home or other structure, which was caused by or through the negligence, malfeasance, or fraud of your contractor, builder, sub-Contractor, or architect. You will be glad to know, your search has landed you in the right place. The order of events in discovering and addressing a construction defect in your new home are as follows:

• You have found what you believe to be a construction defect
• You have tried to get the contractor to correct what you believe to be a defect, but you can’t get your contractor to correct the problem, or your problem gets the proverbial “band aid” placed on it
• You realize this is your house, it’s probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, you will call this place home, and your sixth sense tells you this is not a situation to take lightly and you should see a professional, such as a Georgia Construction Defect Law Attorney!

When you have verified that something is wrong with your home, and that the contractor, builder, sub-contractor, architect, etc. are not going to assist you in addressing or correcting the situation, it’s time to move on to more assertive behavior to protect your asset, as follows:

• Notify the contractor that there is a problem and give him one last chance
• Verify through a third party expert that the problem you believe is a home defect is the type of defect the contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect should be responsible for, and should correct
• Verify through a third party inspector, expert, or other such person privy to the costs of correcting construction defects, and determine that the costs involved in hiring an attorney are justified. Make sure you consider the total affect the defect will have on you such as diminution in value, future sale value, the problem becoming worse over time, etc.
Now, you have properly identified and noted a construction defect for which the contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect should be responsible, but will not correct. You have double-checked your findings through a third-party, and you have calculated that the problem is significant monetary issue to seek the assistance of a professional. Now it’s time to seek out your Georgia construction defect attorney to assist you.

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July 19, 2012

ATLANTA LAWYERS FIND ‘FAILURE TO DISCLOSE’ CASES ON THE RISE

As an Atlanta, Georgia lawyer, I have noticed that failure to disclose defects in Georgia real estate (mainly in residential homes), are on the rise. In fact, some cases of ‘failure to disclose’ serious defects in real estate rise to the level of real estate fraud in Georgia, and even involve action on the sellers behalf to hide, cover up, and disguise defects so the buyer or inspector will not notice them.

As an Atlanta Property Attorney who advises clients on the purchase and sale of real estate, I make sure and advise the sellers of real estate it is illegal to fail to disclose to potential buyers, major and/or material construction defects, in the ‘home for sale’. While sellers may view these disclosures as a burden, these laws exist to protect sellers and homebuyers.

By being upfront about your home’s defects in Georgia, a home seller can avoid serious lawsuits and legal liabilities in Georgia for failure to disclose defects. Your seller’s disclosure form shows both parties exactly what the defects are, so you can be exempt from future problems.
Before you put your house on the market, consider getting an inspection, so you are aware of any potential problems that need repair. This will allow you to decide if you wish to repair the defect now, or offer a discount to buyers who wish to repair the Georgia construction or home defect themselves. In fact, you may even consider having the house inspected by a high-level inspector such as a person with an engineering degree. This is because not all defects are evident, foreseeable, and/or predictable. Remember, the term “CAVEAT EMPTOR” means buyer beware under Georgia real estate law! This means that there is a high-level of responsibility put of the buyer to inspect the property thoroughly and in a manner such as a reasonably prudent person would do under like circumstances.

What is in a Georgia Real Estate Disclosure Statement?

Your Atlanta real estate agent should be able to give you a standard disclosure form, so you can see what you need to disclose. This Georgia Seller's Disclosure Statement is treated as part of the Purchase and Sale Agreement and incorporated by reference. So, this "Disclosure Statement" is part of the Georgia Business Contract for the Sale of Georgia Real Estate. Thus, it is wise to disclose any defects that may affect a buyer’s decision to buy your house.

These include:

• Plumbing defects

• Sewage issues

• Water leakage

• Fire damage

• Termites

• Bug infestations

• Roof defects

• A/C or heating system defects

• Drainage problems

• Foundation cracks

• Issues with neighbors

• Lead paint or hazardous materials

• And more

Choosing Not to Disclose

If you are selling your home and do not disclose a known defect, you may face serious legal consequences. Buyers can demand money for repairs and damages due to the defect long after your house is sold. If an agreement is not reached or if someone was injured due to the neglected defect, you may also face a serious lawsuit. This can result in you owing the buyer large sums of money for repairs, legal fees, compensatory damage, exemplary damages, and even punitive damages if it is determined you have committed fraud, and/or more. In addition, you could be forced to take or buy the house back the house under the theory of rescission.

Contact Us

If you feel you have become the victim of a real estate scam in Georgia by being sold real estate with hidden defects or defects, which were not properly disclosed, or you are being threatened by homebuyers who did not adhere to the Georgia law principle of Caveat Emptor, our Firm can assist you.

Adams Libby, LLC Atlanta Real Estate Attorneys have significant experience representing both sellers and purchasers in real estate transactions. It is my strong advice that you find an experienced real estate lawyer to assist you with any Georgia “failure to disclose” issues. This is true whether you are the buyer or the seller.

These cases are also known under Georgia law as “hidden defect” cases and usually arise in the context of the sale of residential real estate. Adams Libby, LLC Atlanta property and real estate lawyers represents clients in “failure to disclose” claims and lawsuits throughout the metro Atlanta area and Georgia. Our Firm can protect you from over-zealous home purchasers and keep you from being swindled by tricky sellers. Contact our Main Office by calling our Main Number (404) 467-8611, Toll Free 1-877-412-3267 or through our Buckhead confidential Contact Us Form. Our Main Office is easily found, has safe secure free parking, and Our Firm is conveniently located near the intersection of Piedmont and Peachtree Roads near the Buckhead Triangle.

July 16, 2012

ATLANTA LAWYERS WHO KNOW HOW NON-COMPETE, NON-SOLICIT, AND BLUE PENCIL” LAWS WERE CHANGED BY “THE GEORGIA RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS ACT”

As an Atlanta, business lawyer, I deal with non-competition (non-compete) and Non-Solicitation laws on a regular basis. The Atlanta Small Business Lawyers at Adams Libby, LLC specialize in Georgia Contract Law for small to medium sized businesses. Adams Libby, LLC is a well-known and well-respected Atlanta Law Firm. Our Firm represents a numerous small and medium sized businesses in an abundance of capacities. In this Blog, I analyze the “Georgia Restrictive Covenants Act”, which I believe will significantly change relationships between employers and employee in small and medium sized businesses. I believe this will be especially true in small to medium sized businesses and businesses that employ in specialty areas.

THE “GEORGIA RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS ACT” – THE “BLUE PENCIL” COMES OUT
I write this Blog as an Atlanta Attorney, to let you know a most recent change in Georgia Contract Law, which is bound to have a profound affect on Atlanta Small Business Employer – Employee relations. Georgia voters have favored a constitutional amendment on November 2nd, 2010, which speculated on stringent trade laws; thereby setting constraints on trade and its laws for workers in Georgia. The newly enabled law allows Georgia Courts to repair Restrictive (Non-Compete) Covenants in Georgia Contracts, which bind the employee. In the past, any illegality in the Georgia Restrictive Non-Compete Covenants would have caused the whole contract to fail.
To put it plainly, a fatally drafted Georgia Non-Compete clause or Non-Solicitation Clause drafted by an employer will be given effect as if it were drafted within the limits of the law. Thus, it alters already existing law, which previously rendered the entire restrictive covenant ineffective. This means if any of the restrictive covenants in the contract were unenforceable, whether because of geographical restrictions, scope of work restrictions, or time constraints, the whole contract will be held void ab initio. Now, the Judge can write in the restrictive covenants so that they are enforceable. This action is referred to as “blue penciling” and is tantamount to the judge correcting the contract so that the restrictive covenants are enforceable.

The new law is viewed as dubious, given the incongruity/discrepancy in the date of it being effective. While those who drafted the Georgia House Bill 173 declared that it would be enforced from November 3rd, 2010, the Georgia Constitution asserts that new laws should come into effect from the beginning of the coming year, January 1st. How this drafting error will affect anyone legally is uncertain and chances are that it may have to do the rounds of the courts to determine how it will be applied.

In its most practical aspect, what concerns those employees who intend to start a new business venture, is that; (a) An employment contract implemented before November 3rd, 2010, consisting of a restrictive covenant (a Georgia Non-Compete or Non-Solicitation Clause) will not be qualified for the new law; and, (b) Conversely, any employment contract implemented after November 3rd, 2010, with restrictive covenants; in particular, the restrictive covenants referred to as Non-Compete or Non-Solicitation Clauses, will fall under the new law. However, given the discrepancy in the dates, employment contracts may not be carry the power of this law as the date of commencement, or the new law may be held unconstitutional. This grey area in Georgia Contract Law may be of great concern to those workers aspiring to compete with their previous employers. This is particularly true in a densely populated competitive area such as Atlanta.

Continue reading "ATLANTA LAWYERS WHO KNOW HOW NON-COMPETE, NON-SOLICIT, AND BLUE PENCIL” LAWS WERE CHANGED BY “THE GEORGIA RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS ACT”" »

July 15, 2012

THE GEORGIA REPAIR ACT IS AN IMPORTANT WEAPON IN GEORGIA CONSTRUCTION ARBITRATION

As a construction lawyer in Atlanta and a homeowner, I am painfully aware that doing any form of modification to your home is not only time consuming but expensive as well. Stress builds up even more when things do not go according to plan, and Atlanta construction disputes brought by Georgia homeowners and Georgia construction contractors can ultimately lead to lawsuits and court time. To control the amount of construction cases going through the Georgia legal system, the Georgia Right to Repair Act became effective in 2004 to facilitate the settlement Georgia construction defect arbitration, disputes, lawsuits, litigation, and other construction issues outside of court. The following steps should be followed prior to filing a Georgia construction defect lawsuit or Georgia construction defect arbitration proceeding against a contractor in the State of Georgia.


Step 1: Homeowners Understanding Of The Georgia Right To Repair Act

Prior to beginning a home improvement project, Atlanta contractors are supposed to alert homeowners to what the Right to Repair Act states and what is required of both parties if the construction does not satisfy both pairings. As an Atlanta homeowner, it is necessary to do your research before you begin any home improvement project, so you are aware of your rights. Not following the Act correctly can result in a loss for you as well.


Step 2: Homeowners Must Notify Contractor Of Any Issues

If you have any concerns about a project that was completed, you must submit a written notice to the Georgia contractor describing in detail the issues you have with the construction. This “notice of claim” should outline all problems including photographs and the nature of the defects. To ensure your problem gets resolved you must address the problem immediately.


Step 3: Contractors Reaction To The Claim

Once a contractor has received the claim notice they have exactly 30 days to respond in a variety of ways.

Option A: Offer a settlement in the form of money, repairs, or both. Some contractors prefer to fix the problem themselves until you are satisfied with the finished product. This allows for positive client relationships and a high reputation in that area for being a reliable company.
Option B: Contractors have the right to get another option and have the home inspected by a third party. This gives an outsiders perspective that does not have a bias toward the project and can offer a true estimate of the problem.

NOTE: If your home is to be inspected you must allow for that within the 30 days

Option C: The contractor decides to do nothing regarding your claim. If the claim is denied then they must also provide a written explanation of why they do not believe their work to be defective. Regardless a contractor must respond to your claim within 30 days otherwise you are free to pursue legal action.


Step 4: Acceptation Or Rejection By Homeowner

Once the contractor has chosen how to respond to your claim, you must then accept or reject their proposal. If you chose to accept their proposal, then both parties will create a settlement for the project to be re-done until deemed accepted. If you decide to reject the offer, then you must again put into writing your reasoning and you can then decide to take the matter to court.

The Georgia Right to Repair Act was put into effect to help Georgia homeowners get their money’s worth when it came to home improvement projects. Knowing your rights and what you are entitled to as the client can prevent any legal fees and additional upsets.

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Adams Libby, LLC Atlanta construction arbitration lawyers and Atlanta construction litigation attorneys can help Georgia homeowners who are involved in any type of Metro Atlanta, Georgia construction disputes. To learn more about how the Atlanta, Georgia construction disputes and litigation attorneys at Adams Libby, LLC can protect and advance the best interests of you and your family, contact our Main Office by calling our Main Number (404) 467-8611, Toll Free 1-877-412-3267 or through our Buckhead confidential Contact Us Form. Our Main Office is conveniently located easily found and provides plenty of free covered secured parking.