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FMG Law Blog Line

Archive for June, 2011

Federal Court Enjoins Portions of Georgia’s New Immigration Law

Posted on: June 28th, 2011

By Leanne Prybylski

Yesterday, June 27, 2011, United States District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. signed an Order enjoining enforcement of portions of HB87 that were set to go into effect on July 1, 2011.  The ruling applies to Sections 7 and 8 of the law, which would have allowed state and local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of persons under certain circumstances involving suspected criminal activity.  As long as the injunction remains in effect, “[s]tate and local law enforcement officers and officials have no authorization to arrest, detain, or prosecute anyone based upon Sections 7 and 8 of HB87.”  See page 45 of the Order. (more…)

Non-Compete Law Goes Into Effect (Again!)

Posted on: June 1st, 2011

By Brad Adler and David Cole

After more than two years of legal wrangling, it appears that the Georgia Restrictive Covenants Act finally is now in effect after Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 30 on May 11, 2011.  Of course, while Governor Deal’s signature may have cleared up uncertainty over the application of the statute from May 11 forward, real questions still loom over the true effective date of the predecessor statute. (more…)

United States Supreme Court Revives Challenges to RLUIPA

Posted on: June 1st, 2011

By Dana Maine and Whitfield Caughman

In 2000, Congress enacted the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), which is intended to prevent state and local governments from placing “substantial burdens” on religious exercise in the institutionalized persons and land use context.  Although the statute has been in effect for a decade, a decision by the United States Supreme Court on April 20, 2011 calls its legitimacy into question in two ways.  The decision in Sossamon v. Texas revives dual arguments repeatedly rejected by lower courts and all but abandoned by state and local governments:  whether the legislation might not be constitutional in the zoning context and whether it provides for money damages as compared to equitable relief.  In the wake of Sossamon, these issues will be litigated anew leaving the continued vitality of RLUIPA in question.    (more…)

The Redistricting Process for Local Governments

Posted on: June 1st, 2011

By Bobby Baker

The United States Constitution requires a census be done every ten years for the purpose of redistricting Congress, but every state and local government entity must also adjust their district lines as a result of population changes.  Many people are interested how the redistricting process works at the local level for city and county offices.  Redistricting for local government entities is simpler than redistricting for federal and state legislative offices, yet caution must be exercised when redistricting city and county offices.  The following is a basic primer laying out the steps that are followed in the redistricting process for cities and counties to simplify the process and secure preclearance from the Justice Department. (more…)

Differing Site Condition Clause Pays Off for Georgia Contractor

Posted on: June 1st, 2011

By Bart Gary

Differing site conditions (DSC), sometimes called changed site conditions, are latent conditions on, in, or under the construction site that were not anticipated by the parties in their contract or that were not shown on the plans, specifications, and other contract documents. In the absence of a contract term that allocates the risk of such conditions, the risk is born by the contractor and its subcontractors. The conditions may be asbestos or other hazardous materials in a structure to be renovated or expanded, but most often are subsurface conditions in the soil, which may include rock, ground water, toxic substances, or unsuitable soil. These unexpected substances make the work more difficult or even impossible. (more…)