Georgia law is clear that in the event that an injury is deemed compensable, the employer must provide the injured worker with medical treatment which is prescribed by a licensed physician, and which “shall be reasonably required and appear likely to effect a cure, give relief, or restore the employee to suitable employment.” Less clear, however, is how the law will be applied if–or perhaps more aptly, when—an authorized physician prescribes medical marijuana to an injured worker in a workers’ compensation claim. The likelihood of this scenario just became much closer on the horizon in light of the passage of a new bill by Georgia lawmakers on March 25, 2015, which is expected to be signed into law by Governor Deal. This law, which will allow for the use of cannabis oil for eight different medical conditions, will make Georgia one of 24 states which have already legalized the “Schedule…       Read More

Target will pay $10 million to settle lawsuit from data breach Fortune Target Corp has agreed to pay $10 million in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit related to a huge 2013 data breach that consumers say … Medical data is becoming the next revenue stream for hackers Computerworld With medical data, “there’s a bunch of ways you can turn that into cash,” he said. For example, Social Security numbers and mailing addresses can be … Hospitals prescribe more data security Boston Herald Local hospitals are boosting their health data security as medical records move from paper files to online databases – a trend that’s attracting hackers … Breaking Down HIPAA: Health Data Encryption Requirements HealthITSecurity.com Should health data encryption be required? What exactly determines if an entity incorporated encryption methods into its privacy and security … 2015 is already the year of the health-care hack – and it’s…       Read More

In January, President Obama announced that he would release a draft Consumer Privacy Bill intended to give consumers more control over how data about them is collected and used. The draft Bill was released on February 27, 2015, and already there is no shortage of critics, including the President’s own Federal Trade Commission. (http://wapo.st/192KVXA) The FTC applauded the effort, but stated they were concerned the draft Bill did not “provide consumers with the strong and enforceable protections needed to safeguard their privacy.” My question is whether the real reason the FTC does not like the draft Bill is that it does not give them enough authority to investigate and penalize companies for perceived privacy and security violations. Some have perceived the FTC’s current self-appointed authority in this area as nothing more than unfettered discretion to make up the rules of privacy and security as they go. Currently, the FTC is…       Read More

Jo Jagor, a partner at Hall Booth Smith’s Atlanta office,  and Nathan Gaffney a senior associate have been selected to present at the Hinman Dental Seminar in Atlanta on March 27th.  This makes the second year in a row that Ms. Jagor and Mr. Gaffney have had the distinction and honor  of presenting to this distinguished meeting.  Their topic of a simulated Dental Malpractice trial will involve records and transcripts from an actual trial.  Ms. Jagor specializes in medical liability cases with a focus on dental claims. She is an experienced litigator involved in all aspects of the defense of dental providers. She is especially recognized in the state for her expertise and experience in successfully handling all aspects of dental claims.  Mr. Gaffney is co-chair of the firms Appellant Practice group and is a regularly requested speaker before many dental groups including the annual Hinman seminars. His presentations on…       Read More

Mike Frick, Partner at HBS presented Anatomy of a Lawsuit in a Correctional Healthcare Setting at the American Correctional Health Services Association National Conference on March 20th, 2015 in Orlando, FL.  Mr. Frick presented an informative and entertaining anatomy of how a lawsuit can occur in a correctional healthcare setting. From an initial fact pattern, the audience will be walked through how a seemingly innocuous, every day event becomes litigation. Many interested scenarios were presented and discussed from both the plaintiff and defense perspectives, from the initial event and documentation of the same through a resolution via settlement or a trial. Attendees learned how policies and procedures, the medical record, interactions with the claimant and/or plaintiff and his or her counsel, as well as testimony at depositions and trial are all vitally important.

Premera Blue Cross Says Data Breach Could Affect 11M People ABC News Premera Blue Cross, a health insurer based in the Pacific Northwest, said Tuesday that it was the victim of a cyberattack that could affect 11 million … Ex-NSA director: China has hacked ‘every major corporation’ in US CNN Money Several hacking experts who consult companies on cybersecurity backed up the idea that … In it, they talk about China’s rampant “cyber thievery.”. State Dept. Shuts Down Email After Cyber Attack ABC News Last November, the State Department conducted similar repairs to its system stemming from a cyber-attack it suffered the month before. The attack … Survey: 54% of Patients Would Switch Providers After Data Breach HIT Consultant 54 percent of patients say they would be “very” or “moderately likely” to change providers after a security data breach impacting their personal health … Why Some Emails Are So Easy…       Read More

About the program The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation certifies employers as a drug-free workplace. Those certified receive a 7.5% reduction of their workers’ compensation premiums. Employer must submit a copy of their certificate each year to their carrier in order to receive the discount. (O.C.G.A. §33-9-40.2) (O.C.G.A. §34-9-412) Self-insured employers who qualify for the Drug-Free Workplace Program must attach a copy of their certificate to their Annual Payroll Report. The calculated premium for that company will be reduced by 7.5%. The reduced premium will reduce the amount the company is assessed. (O.C.G.A. §34-9-412.1) Certification fee for the Drug-Free Workplace Program has increased from $25.00 to $35.00. (O.C.G.A. §34-9-421) Apply On-Line In an effort to facilitate (re) certification of the Drug-Free Workplace Program, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation is proud to announce that ONLINE SERVICE has been provided for your convenience. Once your application is approved, credit card…       Read More

Think for a moment about the international business opportunities that Georgia companies already are realizing. Just last year, according to recently-released data, Georgia exports were a record high: nearly $39.4 billion in goods and services, representing an increase of 4.9% over the previous year, making Georgia the 11th largest exporting state in the nation. (Georgia Department of Economic Development, “2014 Georgia Global Trade Summary,” Feb. 5, 2015.) And that’s just exports. Georgia companies interact with foreign parties in numerous other forms of international commerce as well – whether the direct investments of Georgia manufacturers, partnerships with foreign companies, activities of franchisors and distributors, and other activities. Much of our region’s international business is focused on emerging markets in developing countries: whether China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, or Nigeria, as examples; where growth rates are soaring and demand for US business is high. Our agribusiness products – pecans, peanuts, wood pulp,…       Read More

Section 9-3-51 of the Georgia Annotated Code provides an eight (8) year statute of ultimate repose for construction defect claims. This does not alter the applicable statute of limitations (O.C.G.A. §§ 9-3-30 – 4 years for damage to realty), but establishes the outermost time in which any action for construction defects can be asserted. Moreover, no action to recover damages for injury to a person arising out of any deficiency in the construction of an improvement to real property shall be brought against any person performing construction of such an improvement more than eight years after substantial completion of such an improvement. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-51(a)(1), (3) In Wilhelm v. Houston County, 310 Ga. App. 506 (2011), the Court of Appeals held that the purchaser’s house and septic system were completed before she moved in, but she did not file suit for damages allegedly resulting from construction defects in the septic…       Read More

DOJ Indicts 3 Men Accused Of ‘Largest Data Breach In History’ NPR Blog “These men – operating from Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Canada – are accused of carrying out the largest data breach of names and email … The FTC wants to know how companies are tracking you across computers and smartphones The Washington Post blog The Federal Trade Commission is the de facto federal privacy watchdog. … into Facebook or Google on your computer as well as your smartphone Hillary Clinton’s home server hard to trace CNN It’s something done by people particularly concerned about privacy or … CNN found that Clinton’s computer server wasn’t using trusted Web … Student data privacy bill passes Senate Education Committee The Denver Post Technology companies would be prohibited from sharing, mining, selling or using student data to peddle products under a bipartisan bill that cleared a … Health app developers face their…       Read More