Understand Owner and Landlord Responsibilities for Inadequate or Negligent Security in Georgia

If you’ve suffered an injury from negligent security, you have the right to be reimbursed for damages resulting from bodily harm, loss of personal property or income, pain and suffering, and other losses. In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages as well as civil damages.

Georgia residents should avoid speaking with investigators, insurers or adjusters for the other side until you’ve had the chance to seek legal advice from a qualified Atlanta injury attorney for a full explanation of Georgia injury law and how it applies to your situation.

The Atlanta “negligent security” attorneys at Hurt Stolz, P.C. works hard to protect the rights and interests of their clients, who have suffered unnecessarily because of an injury due to negligent, inadequate, or absent security measures.

Injuries From Inadequate Security? Hire an Experienced and Fully Qualified Athens Premises Liability Lawyer to Represent You


Did you suffer broken bones, bullet wounds, lacerations, or paralysis from a physical attack? An Athens premises liability lawyer from Hurt Stolz, P.C. will guide you through the complex process of identifying responsible parties, documenting injuries, gathering evidence, and build a persuasive case.

Our Athens injury lawyers carefully calculate losses, including medical (equipment and devices, long-term nursing assistance, etc), financial (job re-training, current and future lost wages, etc), and psychological (counseling, pain and suffering, etc). We attempt to mediate but are unafraid to litigate, and our record of successful verdicts backs up our claim.

Retain a GA Personal Injury Attorney Who Looks Out For You


Georgia law deals clearly with owners who fail to rectify known security weaknesses, such as inadequate or non-existent lighting, ignoring requests for additional or more secure door and window locks, or failure to provide extra security in high crime areas.

Unfortunately, hiring extra security guards but failing to screen or drug test them properly may result in an out of control employee who takes his or her frustration out on an innocent person who happens to be nearby. Even worse, an employee who stalks a tenant, or parking lot attendant who assaults a customer could be unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

Don’t you think it’s about time someone protected you? A GA personal injury attorney at Hurt Stolz, P.C. thinks you deserve that respect. Georgia landlords must provide reasonable safety precautions for tenants. Security issues also include the duty to provide and maintain fire and smoke alarms in residential or commercial buildings as well as operating emergency exit doors.

Contact a crime injury lawyer at Hurt Stolz, P.C. and let’s get you started on the road to full recovery.

Exposure to Toxic Chemicals and Materials May Lead to Long Term Health Problems

An Atlanta Product Liability Lawyer Will Help You Recover Your Losses

Injuries from toxic chemicals and materials can be especially catastrophic simply because of their heightened nature. On the job industrial strength solutions can be caustic to the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. Exposure to mold due to improper construction or repairs may cause serious health issues and failure to disclose lead-based paint may cause lead poisoning in small children, the elderly, and others who might have compromised immune systems.

product liability lawyer at Hurt Stolz, P.C. will help you recover your losses. As seasoned litigators for those harmed by dangerous chemicals and materials, we understand the traumatic after-effects that can and do occur. We are determined to recover full compensation for all you’ve suffered.

Hire an Atlanta Accident Lawyer With Experience in Litigating Cases Involving Toxic Materials

At Hurt Stolz, P.C., our toxic waste injury attorneys take a personal interest in your case.

Georgia state laws on toxic materials in the workplace are designed to keep citizens safe. Those who disregard public safety by cutting corners or creating dangerous conditions that lead to catastrophic injury must be held accountable, not only for our clients’ losses but to prevent future victims, as well.

An Atlanta accident lawyer at Hurt Stolz, P.C. is not only fully qualified to represent you in such matters, we draw on the expertise of a bank of professionals with experience in accident reconstruction, medical opinions, financial accounting, and more to document, justify, and prove damages, allowing us to present evidence to full advantage, whether in negotiations or in a courtroom.

Consult With an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Before Speaking to Adjusters and Investigators From Insurance Companies

Residents in the Athens/Atlanta vicinity should contact a chemical accident attorney immediately to discuss the details of your toxic material injuries and what steps you should take next.

Injury from toxic material cases may include multiple injuries and/or at-fault parties and each insurer will attempt to deny or substantially reduce a settlement payout

While we always strive to reach a mutually agreeable settlement, we are known as attorneys who stand up to those who attempt to reduce the financial, medical, and emotional damages due you.

Don’t trust the wrongdoers to do right by you. The odds are, they probably won’t, leaving you to face mounting expenses alone. Before speaking with adjusters or investigators from insurance companies, consult with an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer at Hurt Stolz, P.C..

Call a Hurt Stolz, P.C. accident injury attorney today and together we’ll begin to piece your fractured life back together.

Client Melvin Pittman and Attorney Jimmy Hurt interviewed by CBS 46 about the City of East Point Class Action Lawsuit

Client Melvin Pittman and Attorney Jimmy Hurt interviewed by CBS 46 about the City of East Point Class action lawsuit.

Posted by Hurt Stolz, P.C. on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

FTC Amends Used Car Rule; How to Challenge “As Is” Car Sales

Reposted with permission from National Consumer Law Center, www.nclc.org/library.

The FTC on November 10 issued a final rule amending its Used Car Rule, 16 CFR 455. The Rule chiefly requires dealers to affix a sticker on used cars for sale, disclosing whether a warranty accompanies the vehicle. The existing Rule is described in detail at NCLC’s Consumer Warranty Law § 15.6.

This article explains how the new amendments strengthen this disclosure, but the Rule still provides only limited assistance to the many consumers who purchase used vehicles “as is.” This article then lists 15 legal theories to challenge vehicle defects even when the vehicle is sold “as is.”

The New FTC Amendments

The FTC changes to the Used Car Rule go into effect January 27, 2017, but dealers can use their existing supply of sticker forms for an additional year.

The new rule adds a new requirement that must be disclosed on stickers affixed to all used cars for sale, directing consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls. The sticker informs consumers that related information can be found at www.ftc.gov/usedcars and www.safercar.gov. Even more detailed information on summary vehicle history reports can be found at NCLC’s Automobile Fraud § 2.3 and for full reports from state registries at § 2.4.

The amendment changes the language on the sticker describing an “as is” sale. The old language arguably misstated the law by saying: “The dealer assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any oral statements about the vehicle.” The language the FTC initially proposed in its new rule as a replacement would have been even worse: “The dealer is not responsible for any repairs, regardless of what anybody tells you.” After opposition from consumer groups, the language is now changed to “The dealer does not provide a warranty for any repairs after sale.” Since the Rule prohibits the dealer from making an “as is” disclosure when there is a warranty under state law, this is an accurate statement.

The new sticker also improves disclosures for service contracts and unexpired manufacturer warranties, increases Spanish language disclosure information, and adds air bags and catalytic converters to the sticker’s list of major defects that can occur.

Private Remedies for Rule Violations

While there is no private right of action for violation of an FTC Rule promulgated under the FTC Act, there is a private right of action for actual damages and attorney fees for violation of an FTC Rule promulgated under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. See NCLC’s Consumer Warranty Law § 2.7. Interestingly, as explicitly pointed out by the original rule’s statement of the authority under which it was adopted) and in the Supplemental Information to the new rule amendments, the Used Car Rule was promulgated under both statutes. (The supplemental information states that certain of the new amendments were promulgated under the FTC Act only but other provisions are pursuant to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act). As a result, many violations should be actionable under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Id. §

As to violations related to portions of the rule promulgated only pursuant to the FTC Act, violations should also be violations of a state UDAP statute, prohibiting deceptive practices, and offering strong private remedies. Id. §

15 Ways to Defeat an “As Is” Disclaimer in a Used Car Sale

Many used cars, particularly lower end cars, are sold “as is,” and dealers like to claim that this immunizes them from all consumer claims. The law cannot be more different. Here is a listing of 15 ways to litigate a used car case even when the vehicle is sold “as is.”

  • 1. A car sold “as is” still has a warranty of good title–that the transfer is rightful, and that the car is delivered free from liens–unless excluded by specific language or by circumstances that give the buyer reason to know that the seller may not have clear title. Id. § 15.2.
  • 2. Express warranties cannot be disclaimed. Express warranties can be created by representations or even descriptions on sales documents, the odometer reading, and oral statements. See § 15.3.
  • 3. Federal law provides that a dealer that “makes any written warranty” or “enters into a service contract” cannot sell a car “as is.” § 15.4.3.
  • 4. Used car lemon laws in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island generally eliminate “as is” sales and provide strong consumer remedies. § 15.5.2.
  • 5. Every state has enacted a new car lemon law that may provide remedies not just to new cars, but also to demonstrators or for fairly recently manufactured used cars. § 15.5.3.
  • 6. Minimum standards for used cars are created by statute in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. § 15.5.4.
  • 7. California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, and West Virginia all prohibit disclaimers of implied warranties (including “as is” sales) for used cars and other consumer goods. § 15.5.5.
  • 8. State vehicle inspection laws in 13 states require an inspection shortly after a used car sale and may provide a remedy even in an “as is” sale where the vehicle does not pass inspection. § 15.5.6
  • 9. All in all, 32 states have statutes that limit “as is” sales in some fashion. § 15.5.7.
  • 10. Acceptance of a vehicle can be revoked where there is a nonconformity that substantially impairs its value. § 15.7.
  • 11. State UDAP statutes in every state apply to oral or written misrepresentations or the failure to disclose defects or a wreck, flood, or other salvage history, even where a vehicle is sold “as is.” § 15.8.3.
  • 12. Common law tort claims such as fraud, negligence, strict liability, and good faith duty to disclose known defects, apply despite the “as is” sale. See § 15.8.4 and § 15.8.5.
  • 13. The federal odometer statute, including $10,000 minimum damages and attorney fees applies, despite the “as is” sale, to odometer misrepresentations, mis-disclosures or tampering. § 15.8.6.
  • 14. Laundered lemons (undisclosed re-sale of vehicle previously returned as a lemon) are subject in most states to a special statute that applies despite the “as is” sale. § 15.8.7.
  • 15. Other automobile fraud statutes provide consumers with a remedy where prior physical damage or prior use is not disclosed, or where air bags are not properly replaced, even when a car is sold “as is.” See NCLC’s Automobile Fraud § 7.2.

Can utility company charge new tenant for a previous occupant’s bills?

Reposted from the “Ask Consumer Ed” article from the Georgia Attorney General’s consumer protection unit.

Dear Consumer Ed:

Can a utility company charge me for a previous tenant’s utility bills? I am a new tenant in a rental home. The owner passed away last year, and apparently after the medical bills were paid, there was no money left in the estate. I am now being told that I cannot get electricity or water service until these bills are paid. Who is legally responsible – me or the estate that is financially broke at this point?

Consumer Ed says:

While we cannot give legal advice, as a general rule, a tenant in a residential property who has no connection to a previous occupant is not responsible for paying the utility bills attributed to the previous occupant’s use.

Furthermore, if you are renting a house, the utility provider may be prohibited from denying you service because of the previous tenant’s unpaid bills.

For example, Georgia law prohibits a public or private water company from refusing to supply water to a new residential tenant because the prior owner or occupant owes it money.

With regard to electricity, if your power company is regulated by the Georgia Public Service Commission, it is prohibited from denying you service on the basis of a previous occupant’s unpaid bill. If your provider is a municipally-owned electric system, you would have to either refer to your city’s code of ordinance or contact your municipal utilities department. Similarly, if your provider is an electric membership corporation (EMC), you would have to contact your local EMC provider to inquire about the rules and regulations that apply to you.

If a utility company insists that you are responsible for the previous occupant’s bills or refuses to give you service until those bills are paid, you may want to ask it to show you in writing where the Public Service Commission or other authority permits it to take this action. The utility companies may simply need to update their billing records to reflect that a new tenant will be occupying the home and start up the utilities under your name.

If you unable to resolve this situation, you may want to consult an attorney about your options.

My Social Security number was compromised in a security hack.

Re-posted from the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit.

Dear Consumer Ed:

I just heard about a security hack that left my Social Security number out there.  How can I protect myself?

Consumer Ed says:

Identity thieves use Social Security numbers for a variety of purposes:  to file tax returns, to apply for government benefits, to obtain employment, to open credit cards, bank accounts and/or take out loans, or get medical care. If you think your Social Security number was compromised during a hack, follow these steps:

Contact the Social Security Administration. An identity thief may use your Social Security number to get work. If the employer then reports that individual’s income to the IRS using your Social Security number, you might have issues later because it will appear as though you didn’t report all of your income to the government. You can contact the Social Security Administration to review your earnings record by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An identity thief who has used your Social Security number to obtain a job or file a tax return might try to change the address on file with the IRS in order to have a tax refund sent directly to him or her. To contact the IRS Identity Protection Unit, call 1-800-908-4490 or visit www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection.

Place a security freeze with each of the three credit bureaus. A security freeze (also known as a “credit freeze”) locks your credit file so that no one can see your credit report or credit score unless you lift the freeze. Since banks and lenders access your credit file in order to determine whether or not to extend credit to you, a security freeze will prevent an identity thief from using your information to get a credit card or loan. You will need to contact each of the credit bureaus to place the credit freeze:




Get copies of your credit reports.  You can get free credit reports each year by going to annualcreditreport.com. Review your reports carefully. If you come across any accounts or collection items that you do not recognize, contact the credit bureaus to dispute the matter and get it resolved. Note that under federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Georgia residents are entitled to an additional two free credit reports per year from each of the bureaus.
For more information, visit the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit’s website at www.identitytheft.georgia.gov.

I’m on the hook for a loan I never signed

[Reposted from the “Ask Consumer Ed” column of the Georgia Attorney General]:

I  have been placed as a co-signer on a student loan for my grandson. I never signed for this loan. When I contacted the loan provider they told me that I  “e-signed” for this loan. I don’t know what information was provided to verify my identity, but now I am on the hook for $95,000. What can I do to rectify this since I never signed the loan?

Consumer Ed says:

In Georgia, the law on e-signatures is governed by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which means that electronic signatures are guaranteed the same force and legal-effect as traditional paper signatures.  That being said, basic contract law still applies, so for you to be bound to the contract, both parties must have the intent to form a contract, have notice of the transaction terms, and give proper consent to the terms.

When determining the enforceability of a particular electronic signature, the context, actions and circumstances of the parties are taken into account.  Authentication of a signer’s signature is critical here. The loan provider must show proof that the agreement was actually signed by you.  If the signature is being disputed in court, evidence such as the signer’s IP address or the use of an email account can be used to verify the identity of the signer.  In some instances, courts have found e-signatures unenforceable where, for example, someone else routinely uses the computer (IP address) that the signer uses.

It is important to know what it means if the loan is enforced against you.  By co-signing a loan, if your grandson stops making payments, you will have to make the payments for him.  The law in Georgia says that a lender can immediately start collecting from a co-signer if the borrower misses a payment.  Also, if your grandson misses any payments, this can also hurt your credit score.

If you did not sign for the loan then you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

How long does a lien stay on a property in Georgia?

There are several types of liens that can be attached to a person’s property.  Each has a different expiration date, and if successfully enforced, could result in the sale of your property to obtain the amount of the lien from the proceeds (with any remaining funds going to the property holder).  While this list is not exhaustive, the most common types of liens are:

Tax Liens

A state tax lien occurs when taxes are due to the state, or to counties of the state, or other special tax districts of the state.  State tax liens don’t expire, and the only way to get rid of them is to pay the amount owed-otherwise, when you sell your home, the state will collect the amount owed from the proceeds of the sale.

A federal tax lien is one that the federal government can use when you fail to pay a tax debt.  A federal tax lien exists after the IRS puts your balance due on the books (assesses your liability), then sends you a bill that explains how much you owe (Notice and Demand for Payment) after you fail to fully pay the debt in time.  The lien continues until it is paid, or it expires.  Generally, the IRS has ten years to collect after it is assessed.  The IRS can extend the ten years under two different circumstances.  First, the statute of limitations can be extended if you enter into an installment agreement; this extends the expiration date to 89 days after the installment agreement expires.  The second is a release of levy with an agreement to extend the statute of limitations to a specific date, provided the extension date hasn’t passed.  A release of levy may be given if the lien is creating an immediate economic hardship.  This doesn’t mean you are excused from paying what is owed, only that you will be given some leeway to make the payments.  The IRS will generally work with you to establish a payment plan or other steps to help you pay off the balance.

Judgment Lien

A judgment  lien is created when a judgment is obtained in superior, magistrate, or other state courts.  This lien can become unenforceable after seven years, if the lien holder doesn’t seek to enforce the lien by providing public written notice of its efforts, and by including the names of the parties to the enforcement action, the nature of the action, and having it recorded in the court.  The lien holder is able to re-record the judgment every seven years to keep it enforceable; however, if the lien holder fails to re-record the lien within the seven year period, he or she has only three years after that expiration date to re-record it.  If the lien holder fails to re-record during the three years, he or she is barred from enforcing the judgment.

Laborer’s Lien

A laborer’s lien is a lien filed by a person who provides services under a contract for manual labor or physical work.  The lien can only be for the work performed, and cannot include any materials provided (but these would fall under a materialman’s lien, described below). The lienholder must go to court to obtain a judgment against you within twelve months, or the lien becomes unenforceable.

Mechanic’s or materialman’s lien

A mechanic’s or materialman’s lien is a type of lien that contractors, subcontractors, and others who have contributed services and/or materials to improve a new or existing home can file against a homeowner’s property if they do not get paid, even if the homeowner paid the general contractor.  Liens like this don’t go on your credit report, and expire within 12 months unless the subcontractor or contractor actually files a lawsuit to collect the money.

I keep on getting past due letters for a product I never ordered. I’ve tried to explain the error to the company, but I never get responses; I only get past due notices with additional fees. What should I do?

Above all, don’t be pressured into paying for goods or services you never ordered. Many of these so-called “invoices” appear at first glance to be legitimate bills, and may include threatening or confusing legal jargon to create a false sense of urgency to pressure recipients into making quick payments. Scammers are hoping that you’ll simply pay the bogus bills without checking them out.

Another variation on the phony invoice is a solicitation that is designed to look like a bill. It may contain a required legal disclaimer that says in large boldface type: “THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION.” Unfortunately, this disclaimer is often absent or obscure. If you’re deceived into paying for the solicitation, you may never receive the goods and services advertised, and will probably have little to no luck in contacting the company, let alone getting them to refund your money. If you don’t see the above disclaimer, don’t assume it’s a legitimate invoice.

The following are steps you should take to avoid falling into this trap:

Verify. Search the name of the company sending you an invoice to see if others are reporting similar issues or other problems. Check a company out with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), and also try doing an online
search using the company name and words like “complaint” or “scam.”

Carefully read all invoices and solicitations that are sent to you. Check account numbers and the name of the company sending you an invoice. If you do receive a bill that appears to be legitimate, or from a legitimate company, look it over carefully for the name and location of the company sending the bill. If there is any difference (no matter how small) between the name of the business entity which sent the “invoice” and the name of a legitimate business, this is likely an indication that the invoice is phony.

Contact the company. If you ever question an invoice that you have received, call the number on the invoice. Legitimate businesses will have direct contact information, and will welcome questions. Ask for a purchase order or other supporting documents. An inability to contact the sender at the number provided is also an indication that the bill is a fake.

File a complaint. If you’re getting bogus bills, file a complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint, as well as with the Better Business Bureau. If the scheme involved and/or was sent to you via the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also should alert the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit online at www.consumer.ga.gov, or by calling 404-651-8600.

Odometer and dealer sticker on used car did not reflect true mileage

[Reposted from the “Ask Consumer Ed” column of the Georgia Attorney General]:

I bought a car at a used car dealership. The sticker on the window read “89,000 Miles” and the odometer reflected the same number. The paperwork the dealer gave me had the same mileage but also had “TMU,” which means “true miles unknown.” I now want to return the car because I discovered through an AutoCheck vehicle report that the car actually has 300,000 miles on it. The dealer is saying I can’t return it. Help!

Consumer Ed says:

Under these circumstances, you may have limited options in returning or refunding your vehicle if, as appears to be the case, the dealer correctly disclosed the vehicle mileage. Federal law requires sellers to disclose the miles on the odometer, and, if the seller knows that the odometer reading is different from the number of miles the car has actually traveled, include a disclosure indicating the true miles are unknown. It appears that the dealer who sold you this car made the appropriate disclosure to ensure that you knew the 89,000 miles odometer reading was inaccurate.

You may still have some recourse, however, if you can show that the dealer knew the actual vehicle mileage at the time of sale. If the dealer knows the real mileage, then he or she must disclose that number and is not lawfully able to hide a higher odometer reading by using the “TMU” designation.

Clearly, at some point, the vehicle odometer was altered. Although not necessarily suggested by these facts, it is possible the dealer may have unlawfully manipulated the odometer reading. AutoCheck may be helpful in determining the approximate time the odometer discrepancy occurred. If the appearance of this discrepancy coincides with the dealer’s purchase or acquisition of the vehicle, this could suggest the dealer unlawfully altered and/or replaced the odometer and then disclosed the mileage as “TMU” in an effort to cover its actions. The law prohibits sellers from changing the odometers in this fashion and misusing the “TMU” disclosure. Both of the instances above would be an unfair and deceptive practice under the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act as well as under applicable federal law. You may have a claim under these laws if you can prove the dealer engaged in these practices.

With very few exceptions, however, purchasing a used car is an activity that is almost always at the buyer’s risk. Unless you can show that the dealer knew the real vehicle mileage or altered the odometer to begin with, you may be stuck with your higher-mileage vehicle. You can visit the website of the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit at www.consumer.georgia.gov to learn more about your rights in these situations or to file a complaint against the company.