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Annual Gala
Mandatory Arbitration
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September 18, 2013


Jimmy Hurt presents cy pres award to Elena

We have exciting news! Georgia Watch is honored to be the recipient of a $25,000 cy pres award from a class action lawsuit against an unscrupulous debt settlement company that was successfully prosecuted by Jimmy Hurt of Hurt Stolz


Cy pres awards are given when there has been a recovery in a class action lawsuit, not all of the members of the class can be found, and there is some money left over that can be donated to a non-profit. Georgia Watch provides financial literacy education to consumers and advocates against predatory practices, including by companies offering to "settle" debt for the financially distressed at high fees.


We are proud that the judge and Mr. Hurt chose to support this work through the award!    



Elena Small Signature

Elena Parent

Executive Director  

Please join us for our Anniversary Gala

October 24, 6-8 PM

The home of Gov. & Mrs. Roy Barnes


Please make plans to attend this special occasion! Drinks and a dinner buffet will be served. Tickets are $150 per person or $200 per couple.


For more information or to register to attend, please visit our Anniversary Gala event page.


Your support helps us continue our important work on behalf of consumers!

Mandatory Arbitration: What you need to know

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses concern Georgia Watch, particularly the decision in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant. In that case, a class action waiver in a contract was upheld despite the fact that it would cost the plaintiffs more to bring individual cases in arbitration than they could possibly hope to recover in damages.  This means it is possible for a company to completely protect itself from lawsuits even in the face of significant wrongdoing and it deprives citizens of their Constitutional legal protections, a cornerstone of our democracy.


This case demonstrates the important role class actions play in providing justice to consumers.  When companies harm large numbers of people, class actions are the only way to hold them accountable, and access to the court system must be preserved.


Georgia Watch is working to make sure consumers understand what everyday arbitration clauses mean. Many people do not realize that they sign away their rights to hold a wrongdoer accountable in court when they do basic things like open a credit card or a brokerage account.  More critically, people need to be aware of arbitration clauses in emotional situations, such as when admitting a loved one to a nursing home or other care facility. Our new consumer resource educates people about arbitration.


Consumer Empowerment Workshops underway

   Consumer Empowerment Workshop

Georgia Watch's Consumer Empowerment Workshops are underway at Butler Park in Atlanta!  Our workshops aim to provide attendees with tools they need to strengthen their personal finances and improve the quality of their lives. The eight-workshop series delves into topics such as how to improve your credit score, proactively manage your finances, create a plan for getting out of debt, and use energy efficient products to lower your utility bills. 


During the workshops, which are facilitated by Grassroots and Outreach Director Karla Johnson, participants receive resource materials and helpful consumer tips.  According to City of Atlanta Parks & Recreation Director Carla Kalip, the attendees have been surprised at how much new, practical information they are armed with through these sessions.


These workshops will be provided regularly by Georgia Watch in a variety of locations.  To schedule a workshop for your group or to learn about future workshops, please contact Karla Johnson at 404-525-1085 or


Georgia Watch thanks CredAbility for partnering with us on the workshops' content.