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Fellow GTLA Members,

On Monday, the members of the Georgia General Assembly returned to the State Capitol to begin the 2013 Legislative Session. With nine members of the GTLA Family among them, these lawmakers are set to embark on a challenging and far-too-often thankless mission. Though they come from opposite sides of the aisle and from all different walks of life, legislators convene under the Gold Dome for one reason – to make the State of Georgia a better place. But legislators should not be expected to carry this burden alone. 

As lawyers representing people, families, and small businesses across the state we are uniquely qualified to serve as an invaluable resource to our legislators. Whether you are willing to draft or review legislation, assist in policy research and legal analysis, or simply provide your respective legislator with feedback from his or her own constituent, you have the opportunity to foster mutually beneficial alliances with our Legislature. Our legislators accomplish an extraordinary amount of work in just 40 working days at the Capitol, and the guidance and assistance from an experienced legal professional like you may very well prove to be a difference maker for a large majority of them. 

GTLA needs everyone, everywhere, all the time to succeed. I encourage each of you to reach out to your Senators and Representatives during the next few months and simply ask, "How can I help you?" Then, follow this offer up with the true sincerity and good will for which so many of our members have become known. If all GTLA members engaged in the legislative process in this way, our positive impact at the Capitol would truly be immeasurable. 

Another opportunity available to each of us is the GTLA Lawyer of the Day program. Now entering its third year, Lawyer of the Day has been a tremendous success for our outreach efforts, and has allowed many GTLA members to experience the legislative process first-hand. If you have not done so already, or would like to participate again, please consider signing up today by clicking here or visiting for more information. I promise you will enjoy the experience of being at the Capitol – and who knows – it might even cause you to think that you too could be a legislator one day.   

Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. There will be many issues before our General Assembly that will directly impact your clients, your practice and Georgia’s Civil Justice System, and we must meet these challenges head-on. We simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. 

Of course, you can call me anytime with further suggestions, information or ideas. Your interest and commitment to our clients’ rights are always welcome. At the same time, your willingness to get involved in hands-on outreach to legislators is absolutely priceless. We must commit ourselves to helping our public servants do the best job they possibly can for the people of Georgia. 

I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol!

Jay Sadd
GTLA President 

Mayfield Medical-Legal Nurse Consulting, LLC
The 2013 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly began this month, and we are excited to continue the GTLA Lawyer of the Day program! Our program is now entering its third year, and we need everyone to engage during this year's vital legislative session!

During your day at the Capitol, you can expect to participate in the following activities:

  • Read and review bills and resolutions
  • Review relevant print media, blogs and online articles
  • Attend legislative committee meetings and hearings
  • Monitor the House/Senate debates from the galleries
  • Meet with your State Representative and Senator
  • Meet with other state elected officials
  • Attend lunch meetings with legislators
  • Attend evening legislative receptions/dinners

If you care about the Civil Justice System and how our state government can affect that system, you will enjoy the experience of engaging in our legislative efforts and doing one more thing to make a positive difference for your clients and for your practice. If you wish to participate, please login and sign up under the Legislative Menu. We look forward to seeing you under the Gold Dome!
The Good in the first week of the 2013 legislative session was the swearing-in of nine members of the GTLA Family into the Georgia General Assembly. With family, friends and several GTLA members looking on with pride, GTLA members Sen. Jason Carter, Rep. Stacey Evans, Rep. Dusty Hightower, Sen. William Ligon, Rep. Ronnie Mabra, Sen. Curt Thompson and Rep. Tom Weldon, along with Rep. Mandi Ballinger (spouse of GTLA member Eric Ballinger) and Rep. Micah Gravley (GTLA Grassroots Coordinator), were sworn in on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. These nine legislators are proud to be affiliated with your GTLA but we are even more proud of our affiliation with them. Together, we will strive to preserve the Civil Justice System in Georgia yet again this legislative session. That is the Good.

The Bad came in the form of assaults on the Civil Justice System experienced in the earliest hours of the 2013 legislative session. By the end of only the second day of the session (Jan. 15, 2013), your lobbying staff had been approached by legislators or lobbyists for other interest groups regarding the desire to introduce legislation in this session concerning each of the following:

A bill concerning time-limited demands, which terms of a settlement demand or offer will be considered material terms and which ones will be considered not material terms and whether discussions about the non-material terms can invalidate an agreement reached regarding the material issues;

A bill creating an administrative process for addressing medical malpractice claims in lieu of allowing juries to address those claims;

A bill that would limit a plaintiff’s evidence of past medical bills to the amount of the bills the plaintiff’s health insurer (or some other source) paid instead of the total amount of the bills the plaintiff incurred; 

A bill that would require the parties to share the costs associated with E-discovery rather than each party paying for its own costs;

A bill that would make the failure to wear a seatbelt admissible at trial under certain circumstances and allow a jury to reduce a plaintiff’s recovery of damages because of that failure;

A bill that would permit nursing homes to require all patients to agree upon admission to binding arbitration in the event of harm to the patients;

The annual workers’ compensation package from the SBWC which this year will increase the maximum TTD and TPD benefits and cap medical treatment at 400 weeks from the date of injury for all injuries (except for catastrophic injuries) occurring after July, 1, 2013;

A bill that would provide immunity for gasoline can manufacturers under certain circumstances;

The "Provider Shield Act" which would preclude a patient from placing into evidence his or her healthcare provider’s failure to adhere to any federal healthcare regulation;

A bill providing that a health insurer’s refusal to pay for medical treatment cannot be considered evidence that the treating physician failed to meet the standard of care;

A bill reducing future economic damages to present value via expert testimony or by application of a set percentage;

A bill providing immunity under certain circumstances to a school’s governing authority for its entering into a ‘joint use agreement’ that would allow another entity to use a school’s recreational property or facilities during after-school hours; and,

A bill that would make a ‘guilty plea’ to a traffic citation inadmissible in a related civil case.

Your GTLA Legislative Team and our legislative allies will be working diligently to repel these and other attacks on the Civil Justice System during the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Please follow the daily progress of the Team’s efforts and be prepared to respond to our requests to have you engage your state legislators on behalf of your clients and your law practice. Together, we can make a difference for the Civil Justice System in Georgia.
In light of our ongoing effort to bring you all of GTLA's updates in a timely, concise and convenient manner, we encourage each of you to connect with us not just through the traditional means of email and on our website, but also over social media - the fastest growing information medium in the world today! 

The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is actively updating our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and we hope that you will consider visiting us there!

Happy New Year! I hope each of you had plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with friends and loved ones. It was certainly a time to enjoy each other for our family, as well as a time for reflection and thanksgiving.  

As many of you know, an opportunity to serve my local community in the Georgia General Assembly was presented to Heather and me this past September. With the support of my family, colleagues, friends and the citizens of House District 67 (Douglas & Paulding Counties), our campaign successfully earned 68 percent of the vote on Nov. 6 in the General Election. Having received the support of those in my home community to be their voice in the Georgia General Assembly is a tremendous honor, and one that I am deeply humbled by. I want to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to each of you for the support you gave to me, as well. Your encouraging emails, phone calls and financial support meant a great deal to me.  Thank you. 
Going forward, I want to let you know that my commitment to the continued success of GTLA's Grassroots Initiative and the development of our local TLAs will be my primary focal point within the association. Though my role has changed at GTLA, I will continue to serve on staff as the Grassroots Coordinator and point of contact for all local TLAs. As Bill Clark noted, contact with the "mother ship" will not be interrupted. I am still here and looking forward to getting back out across the state to assist you in building and growing strong local chapters.  

During the legislative session, I will be available to each of you by phone and email and will be working to schedule guest speakers and arrange sponsorships. I also will continue to attend your local luncheons, meetings and community outreach projects as the legislative session schedule permits during the months of January through April. Also, I am partnering with Emily and Sheila who will be attending as many TLA meetings in the Metro area as they can. Additionally, I also will continue to serve as a resource for all of you at our GTLA seminars, conventions and workshops as I have done over the past five years.  

Although I no longer will manage GTLA's Lawyer of the Day program, we have brought in a firm, Centennial Strategies, to facilitate that task. I am confident their two principals, Blake Waycaster and Patrick Ward, will do a fine job assisting our members at the Capitol. I have personally worked with Blake and Patrick and will be in contact with them daily during the session to advise and answer any questions they might have.

Suffice to say, it is going to be a new and different year for me and for GTLA. But, you and your Local TLA will continue to have all the support, guidance and direction that you will need to make your TLA all that it can be! I will look forward to seeing you under the Gold Dome!
Insurance Specialists, Inc
Civil Justice PAC, Inc. of GTLA thanks our contributors for making the 2010-2012 election cycle positive and successful. Your PAC has a singular purpose: to contribute to candidates we believe will help protect the Civil Justice System. Your generosity has helped to ensure that our voices – and the voices of our clients – will be heard under the Gold Dome during the 2013 Session. 

As the 2013 Legislative Session kicks off this week, please make a New Year’s Resolution for this year! Invest in your clients and make a contribution or pledge to Civil Justice PAC, Inc. To contribute, please contact Dawn Painter at or 678-491-0462. You may also visit or mail a check to us at the address below. We give our sincere appreciation to the commitment and dedication of all Civil Justice PAC contributors.

Civil Justice PAC, Inc. of GTLA
101 Marietta Street
Suite 3350
Atlanta, GA 30303
Thank You to Our Newest GTLA Champion Members!
Alan Hamilton & Jeff Shiver 

Welcome New GTLA Members!
Robert Ononogbu Akomah, Peter H. Boehm, Jacob Born, Kim Keheley Frye, John Gamble, Tricia Purks "CK" Hoffler, Michelle Izquierdo, Michael McCain, Nikki Shipley, Leah Singleton, Kenneth Webb
The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association invites you to join us on Friday, Feb. 15 for the Essential Torts Workshop! Held at Mercer Law School in Macon, GA, the Workshop promises to be the most informative, useful and engaging one yet. 

For more information on the Essential Torts Workshop, please contact Sheila Thomsen at or 404-522-8487 x24.
Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, Inc.
Empire Settlement Funding
Regional Medical Group
Fast Funds, Inc.

Founded in 1956, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Georgia’s civil justice system and protecting the rights of Georgia citizens and consumers.

GTLA works in the legislative, political and media arenas to ensure that Georgians know and understand the importance of their rights to justice and to make certain that these rights, which are at the very core of what it means to be American, are safeguarded and protected.

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
101 Marietta Street, NW
Suite 3350, Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone (404) 522-8487 | Fax (404) 522-3705

We would appreciate your comments or suggestions. Your email will be kept private and confidential.