Cases involving employers viewing of employee “private” e-mails are popping up more and more frequently.  The latest case from the Georgia Court of Appeals on the subject shows the importance of having a policy that allows the employer to monitor computer usage by employees.             In Sitton v. Print Direction, Inc. (PDI), 2011 Ga. App. LEXIS 849 (September 28, 2011), the CEO of PDI “caught wind” that Sitton was operating a side business that competed with his employer, PDI.  The CEO entered Sitton’s office when he was not there, and moved the computer mouse.  An e-mail appeared on the computer screen, which the CEO then printed.  The e-mail was later used as incriminating evidence to show that Sitton had violated his duty of loyalty to PDI by diverting business opportunities to his own business.             Among other claims, Sitton alleged that the CEO’s actions constituted computer theft, computer trespass…       Read More

A corporation served with a summons and garnishment in Georgia must file an Answer in the Court issuing the summons. This Answer must now be signed by an attorney licensed in Georgia. This new rule applies to garnishments in Georgia State and Superior Courts but not in Magistrate Courts where garnishments under $15,000 are often filed. Previously, many corporations handled the filing of these Answers internally with non-lawyer personnel in human resources, or third party payroll providers.  A non-lawyer cannot now sign the Answer on behalf of the corporation. To do so would constitute the unauthorized practice of law (a possible criminal offense) and the corporation risks being declared in default for failure to file a proper Answer. Failure to file an Answer can make the corporation responsible for the entire amount of the garnishment, giving the plaintiff a deeper pocket to pursue without the headache of locating the employee…       Read More

From a maximum of fifty, thirty-six states now have some form of CON program.  After the passage of the Health Planning Resources Development Act of 1974, all 50 states were required to have some structure in place for the review and approval of new major projects.  After the Act was repealed thirteen years later, fourteen states discontinued their programs.  Of the 36 states that retained their CON programs, Georgia and its immediate neighbors comprise 6 of those 36.  The statutes and regulations in the 36 states are not uniform in the types of services they regulate.  For example, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina regulate ambulatory surgical centers, while North Carolina and Florida do not.  And while these programs have survived court challenges before, a recent decision, along with the the healthcare climate, may renew the debate of the necessity of CONs.  That is, if it ever stopped.          While not binding on states that make up the Fourth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits, just weeks ago the…       Read More