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FMG Law Blog Line

Archive for April, 2012

HB 397 Dramatically Changes the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts

Posted on: April 20th, 2012

By Robert Baker

Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 397 this week after two years of intensive negotiations and debate regarding Attorney General Sam Olen’s efforts to reform Georgia’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts.  The dramatic changes contained in HB 397 will clarify and enhance public access to government meetings and records, and create new obligations for state and local governments. (more…)

Georgia Utility Update –- April 2012

Posted on: April 11th, 2012

By Robert Baker

Georgia Power Files Fuel Case

Georgia Power Company filed a fuel cost case which will reduce fuel costs to all consumers.  The average residential consumer’s bill will decrease by 6% or $8.00 a month.  In its filing the Company stated that it expects the under recovered balance to be fully recovered by March 31, 2012.  In August 2006 the under recovered fuel balance peaked at $995 million.  According to the Company’s pre-filed testimony, “[t]he Company’s fuel costs have declined significantly, primarily driven by decreases in the cost of natural gas and decreases in demand for electricity, coupled with recent mild weather.” [The Recession and natural gas fracking] (more…)

Supreme Court Decides Fate of Healthcare Act

Posted on: April 1st, 2012

By Ben Mathis

With oral argument concluded, the United States Supreme Court will now decide the constitutionality of the new Federal Healthcare Act. I have had the privilege of serving on Attorney General Sam Olens’ team of pro bono lawyers representing the State of Georgia, which along with 25 other States, is challenging the constitutionality of the law. This has been a special experience the past year leading up to the historic Supreme Court decision. No matter which way the Court rules, it will have a dramatic impact on all of our day-to-day lives for years to come. (more…)

Practitioner Data Bank – Summary of Basics

Posted on: April 1st, 2012

By Mike Flint

Almost without exception, at some point during the first fifteen minutes of the initial meeting with a doctor who has been sued for malpractice, we get a question about the dreaded National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Our experience has taught us that this common fear among physicians derives more from what they don’t know about the NPDB than what they do. Usually, after a brief question and answer session, the doctor’s concerns are substantially diminished. Below is an attempt to cover the basics in a frequently asked questions format. (more…)

Different Severance Pay May Be Unlawful Discrimination

Posted on: April 1st, 2012

By Mary Anne Ackourey and Anthony Del Rio

Individuals offered less favorable severance packages than others in similar positions can sue for discrimination under Title VII, according to Karla Gerner v. County of Chesterfield, Va., a new decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (more…)