January 2017
President's Corner

This month we will host Georgia Bar President Patrick O'Conner at the Gwinnett Bar Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. on January 20 at the 1818 Club in Duluth.

President O'Conner has recently highlighted the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), a confidential service provided to help Bar members with life's difficulties, including depression, stress, substance abuse, family discord and other matters.  The LAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling: 800-327-9631.

Through the LAP confidential hotline, available services include six pre-paid counseling sessions per year and individualized advice.

To learn more about the Lawyer Assistance Program, please visit https://www.gabar.org/committeesprogramssections/programs/lap/.


Speaker: Georgia Bar President, Patrick O'Connor
Judge of the Month: Chief Judge Michael Greene of the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court


Join us for a special Breakfast Meeting as we welcome the President on Inauguration Day!  GA Bar President Patrick O'Connor is our featured speaker and Chief Judge Michael Greene of the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court is our Judge of the Month.  

January 20, 2016 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. at the 1818 Club.  

Marks v. Soles, A16A0723
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (11/10/2016, 12/12/2016)

Fun Times with the Family: Custody, Parenting Plans for children of Different Fathers, Joint Custody for Grandparents, Motion to Intervene, Child Support, Retroactive Child Support, Garnishment - This case has it all!

by Margaret Gettle Washburn, Sr. Contributing Editor

This is a very lengthy, but entertaining, opinion dealing with a single mother (Marks) who has 3 children by 2 different fathers, one father (Soles) is pro se and one of the fathers (Lane) got the grandparents involved.  The Court of Appeals, Judge Elizabeth Branch, found that the trial court, Superior Court of Bulloch County, erred in granting joint legal custody of Brad Lane's child to the mother Marks, to the father Lane AND to Lane's parents, the child's paternal grandparents; stating for the Court of Appeals, that "joint custody arrangements do not include third parties when one or both parents are suitable custodians."

The Court reversed the grant of joint legal and primary physical custody in the third child to the paternal grandparents, as "joint custody arrangements do not include third parties when one or both parents are suitable custodians." The Court also noted that the trial court did not distinguish between legal and physical custody in its order on reconsideration.  The trial court judge did not explain in his Order how he awarded the mother, Marks, joint legal custody after finding her unfit for what it called "primary custody." Click here to read full article

News & Events

Volunteers Needed for Gwinnett Regional High School Mock Trial Competition

The Gwinnett Regional High School Mock Trial Competition is scheduled to take place at the Justice and Administration Center on the evening of Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28. As we do every year, we need help from the Bar to serve as evaluators for the young men and women who prepare so hard for this competition. The time commitment is just about 3 or 4 hours, and it is a great opportunity to network and see aspiring lawyers in action. Please click here if you're interested in helping out this year!

Consumer Law & Probate Clinic Volunteers Needed!

Sign Up for the Pro Bono CLE!
2016 in Review (legally speaking)
Wednesday, January 11, 2016 11:45 am-1:15
GJAC Conference Center, Room A
2016 is finally over! Join the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project in a brief review of new laws and legal decisions that affect us and our clients. We'll also discuss bills to watch in the new legislative session.

Pro Bono Thank Yous!

Thank you to the attorneys who have recently accepted Pro Bono Cases!
Andrea David-Vega

Kathlyn Khashan
Thank you to the Attorneys who volunteered at the Probate and Consumer Law Clinics!
Katrina Breeding

Brook Davidson

Schuyler Elliott

Robby Hughes

John Miles

John Welsh

Attorney Volunteers Needed for Georgia Academic Decathlon on February 24th 

Gwinnett's Berkmar High School is hosting this year's Georgia Academic Decathlon on Friday, February 24th. This year's theme is World War II, and the Decathlon still needs around 50 volunteers to judge and interview student competitors. Volunteers will attend training at 4:00 p.m. before the competition. The competition will begin at 6:15 and conclude around 8:30. All volunteers will be provided a complimentary dinner.

If you are interested in volunteering for this event, visit www.pagefoundation.org/GADvolunteer for more information and to sign up online.
Center for Navigating Family Change Offers Conflict Assessment for Embattled Co-Parents
Attorneys, guardians ad litem and therapists have very different jobs when it comes to helping high-conflict co-parents, and can send mixed messages to clients if they don't develop good relationships with one another and learn each other's lingo. One of the problems I have discovered in working in this field for nearly twenty years, is that attorneys and guardians are somewhat desperate for mental health involvement in their cases, but struggle with understanding how to engage their services (much like I am at a loss as to how to advise my clients about the legal system). Consequently, I receive numerous court orders each year naming me as a helping professional that are too vague, or sometimes in error, regarding appropriate mental health interventions for this unique population. Clients are the ones who are truly in the dark, as they are trusting the professionals completely to guide them regarding both legal and mental health issues. Oftentimes after I receive a court order, I have to spend valuable time talking to the attorneys, and sometimes even the judge, to understand what is needed and have the court order rewritten in terms that are best for the client and the professional. This wastes client resources and erodes their confidence in the system. Click here to continue reading

Click above to see a short video to help you understand how to refer your difficult co-parent cases to us for an assessment and subsequent recommendation for Co-Parent Counseling, Parenting Coordination or Reunification Therapy. Just click on the Three Easy Steps video link below and feel free to call me with questions at 404-218-1739.

Gwinnett Law Day 2017 "Sip and Swine" Community Service Outreach Project
GCBA is pleased to announce that it will be partnering with the Gwinnett Children's Shelter for the 2017 Law Day Community Service Project, and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Volunteers are needed on Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, to collect tickets and serve drinks at the Gwinnett Children's Shelter's Annual Sip and Swine Barbeque Festival.  A complimentary Sip and Swine T-Shirt and lunch tickets will be provided to all volunteers. Specific time slots will be available, and more details are to come!

If you are interested in volunteering and haven't done so already, please contact 2017 Law Day Chair Danielle Britt Mays at dmays@cbjblawfirm.com or 770-271-2991.
11th Circuit ADA Update: Reassignment of Qualified-Disabled-Employee To Vacant Position Ordinarily Not "Reasonable" Accommodation Unless Employee Is "Best-Qualified"
By Lisa B. Golan, Attorney at Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. requires employers to reasonably accommodate otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA, "'reasonable accommodation' may include --... reassignment to a vacant position." 42 U.S.C. 12222(9).
In a decision released on December 7, 2016, United States EEOC v. St. Joseph's Hosp., Inc., 842 F.3d 1333, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21768  (11th Cir. 2016), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals significantly narrowed the duty of an employer in the Eleventh Circuit to reassign an employee to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  In that case, a nurse who worked on the hospital's psychiatric ward walked with a cane due to back problems and arthritis.  After the Hospital barred the use of canes in the ward due to safety concerns, it gave the nurse 30 days to find another position or be subject to termination.  Although the nurse applied for at least 3 positions for which she met posted job qualifications, the Court held that the employer did not violate the ADA in refusing to interview or reassign her: "Requiring reassignment in violation of an employer's best-qualified hiring or transfer policy is not reasonable "in the run of cases." As things generally run, employers operate their businesses for profit, which requires efficiency and good performance. ..."In the case of hospitals, which is this case, the well-being and even the lives of patients can depend on having the best-qualified personnel." 

Mystery Bar Member
By Judge Warren Davis

Many of our members have unique prior professions, education backgrounds and fascinating life experiences. See if you can guess this month's profiled member:
13 Mystery guest
  • Hiked the Krka waterfalls in Croatia
  • Adopted and owner of a husky mix puppy 
  • Earned a Certificate in International Arbitration from the Johannes Kepler Institute in Austria
  • Can trace North Carolina and Lebanese family ancestry back to the 1600's and Jamestown settlement 
Click here to find out who the Mystery Bar Member is!

Drug Court Graduation January 25th 

The Gwinnett County Drug Treatment Court program invites you to join us in honoring and celebrating our most recent Drug Court Graduates. The Gwinnett Drug Court Graduation will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046. Refreshments will be served immediately following the Graduation ceremony. We hope to see you there!

Nuts and Bolts of Gwinnett Drug Treatment Court

Gwinnett County's Drug Treatment Court is a rehabilitative sentencing solution for clients who struggle with drug addiction and are facing felony criminal penalties as a result of their addiction. A basic understanding of Gwinnett County's Drug Court program is a valuable asset for criminal defense attorneys, judges, and district attorneys looking to break the cycle of addiction-related criminal behavior. Below please find some answers to commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions that aren't covered below, please feel free to contact Drug Court Staff Defense Attorney Danielle Britt Mays at dmays@cbjblawfirm.com for more information.

Click here to read full Q & A article on the program


Milich Minute

In a divorce case, Husband offers a computer generated printout from a GPS tracking device that indicates the wife's car went to her alleged paramour's home 15 times in one week. Wife objects on authentication grounds. Which is the best answer?
  1. Overruled with proper foundation under the business record exception.
  2. Overruled IF foundation evidence describes the system used to produce the report and supports its accuracy.
  3. Sustained unless an expert witness verifies the report.
  4. Sustained.  This is too creepy.
Click here for the answer!
12 Milich

Click to purchase his book here!
ABA News
Criminal Defense Update

The Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Bar hosted our annual Toy Raiser luncheon in December to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.  The Toy Raiser is Egleston's largest donation of toys during the holiday season.  This year was a huge success - over 70 attendees with over one hundred toys and more than $2,000.00 were collected.  Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Toy Raiser and we look forward to doing it again next year!

Past Events
The Speaker at the January 6th meeting was Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Board-member Robert E. Keller- Robert E. Keller from Clayton County was appointed to the Board by Governor Sonny Perdue on January 3, 2007. Mr. Keller presented on the policies and procedures used at the Board.  He was accompanied by two additional officers from the Board to answer specific questions attorneys had regarding cases and policies. These officers were Felony Probation Officer, Tripp Powers, and GCCDB Vice President Jessica Towne, a criminal defense and DUI attorney.
Join the Section
Interested in joining the section or need more information? Please contact Constancia Carter at constancia@cuadrapatel.com.
Estate Planning and Probate Update

We are excited for our first lunch meeting of 2017 and to welcome Heather Strickland, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, GBI, At-Risk Adult Investigations & Special Projects, who will present on the topic of exploitation of elderly and otherwise at-risk individuals.  In the State of Georgia, financial exploitation of at-risk adults has risen more than 50% over the last 3 years, according to the substantiated referrals sent to law enforcement by Adult Protective Services. Attorneys are often the first call from an elderly or otherwise at-risk individual or their family members when it appears that the individual is being taken advantage of.  Ms. Strickland's presentation will include tips for spotting abuse, neglect, and exploitation of our most vulnerable population, and provide information regarding resources available to attorneys and their clients to fight such abuses.  Barbara Scurry of Senior Partners will also be present to describe the services offered by her company that can assist in preventing financial exploitation.  

Agent Strickland is a graduate from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.  She has been in State law enforcement for 18 years.  Agent Strickland joined the GBI in 2002 and worked as a Field Agent, as well as an Agent with the Medicaid Fraud Unit.  She is currently is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the At-Risk Adult investigations for the GBI, where she is focusing on investigations dealing with the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of at-risk adults.
The lunch will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 12:00 noon at Dominick's on the Square in Lawrenceville.  The restaurant is located at 197 W. Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 and can be reached at (770) 277-8477. Please email Lindsey Cambardella if you plan to attend.

The Estate Planning and Probate Section (EPPS) brings you 2 excellent opportunities for giving in 2017 - sign up now!

Opportunity #1: First Responders Wills Clinic
Who should volunteer: Attorneys with or without estate planning experience (note: there is a short training session in advance for all attorneys, and attorneys work in pairs which always include at least one experienced estate planner)
What: Provide free basic estate planning documents for first responders and their spouses (event organized by the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia & the Gwinnett County Bar Association EPPS)
Where: Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., Duluth, Georgia
When: Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 9:00am - 2:00pm (3-hour volunteer blocks)
Why: To thank our first responders!

Opportunity #2: Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic
Who should volunteer: Attorneys with probate and/or guardianship experience (need not be an expert, but some experience is required to assist attendees)
What: Provide guidance to pro se petitioners with their filings in probate court
Where: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center
When: Third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm - 4:30pm  
Why: To help our citizens and the Probate Court in processing petitions more efficiently and effectively
How: Please contact Elizabeth Strupe to sign up for the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic
Save the Date: Please save the date for the following EPPS lunch meetings at 12:00pm (speaker and location details to follow):
March 14, 2017
May 9, 2017
July 11, 2017
Note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings, but if you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please contact Melody Glouton or Lindsey Cambardella
Family Law Section Update: 
Next Meeting Information

The Family Law Section of the Gwinnett Bar will have the next meeting in February of 2017. The location and time will remain the same, 12:00 noon at La Cazuela Mexican Restaurant, 179 West Crogan Street, located at in downtown, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046.

Upcoming Events:  (The last Wednesday of every other month - even months)
In This Issue
January Bar Breakfast Details

Friday, January 20th
from 8 - 9am  
at the 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway


Duluth, GA 30097

Gwinnett County Bar Association | | warren.davis@gwinnettcounty.com | http://www.gcba.org

P.O.Box 576

Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Gwinnett County Bar Association | P.O.Box 576 | Lawrenceville | GA | 30046