Articles

The attorneys and staff at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP have provided the following articles as a resource for our current clients, potential clients who have found our website and colleagues seeking additional information on the following areas of our practice:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Georgia law firm. We offer a free initial consultation to new clients and are happy to work with referring counsel on achieving successful results for injury victims in Georgia and throughout the United States.


Motor Vehicle Accidents

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family not only when a driver who hits you has no insurance coverage, but also when the person that hits you does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for the injuries and financial losses you sustained through no fault of your own.

Helpful Driving Tips To Take On A Georgia Winter

Accidents and injuries can be avoided by taking safety measures to help prevent motor vehicle accidents, including multi-car collisions, during the winter months in Georgia.

Distracted Driving Is a Dangerous Habit

Car accidents remain the leading cause of death for individuals 5-35 years of age in the U.S. Leading the list of factors contributing to fatal car accidents is distracted driving.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

By gathering the right information and taking appropriate action, people involved in Atlanta car crashes can make the resolution of their accidents easier. If you are involved in a car accident, follow the steps in this article.

Trucking Accident Claims Life of Georgia Resident

Many truck drivers make it to their destinations without incident, but occasionally, truck accidents happen. The size of the trucks often traveling at high rates of speed can cause catastrophic accidents, resulting in serious injury or death for fellow motorists. A Georgia man was killed after colliding with an out-of-control semi.

Georgia Legislature Considering Hands-Free Cell Phone Law

After successfully pushing through two measures to curb distracted driving in Georgia last year in an effort to reduce motor vehicle accidents, lawmakers are turning their attention to passing a law against drivers using cell phones while driving.

Life After a Catastrophic Injury Involving a Semi Tractor Trailer

Rare Georgia Snow Leads to Traffic Chaos, Car and Truck Accidents

Millions of commercial trucks travel U.S. roadways. While human and mechanical faults are the causes of most accidents, weather also plays a role in truck accidents. However, bad weather does not have to mean bad driving for car or big-truck drivers. Careful planning, preparation and patience when travelling in inclement winter weather can save lives.

Tractor Trailer and Commercial Vehicle Liability Cases

Because of their huge size, improperly maintained equipment and frequently impaired or road-weary drivers, thousands of individuals and families suffer death and serious injury at the hands of tractor trailer companies and large commercial vehicle operators. The firm has an outstanding record for exceptional and innovative results in handling these cases throughout the United States.

5 Die At Sugar Hill Crossing

Jim Butler discusses the importance of adequate safety markings at railroad crossings after five people were killed in a car-train collision at Sugar Hill Crossing.


Auto Defects

Jeep SUVs and CommonSense Design

Despite at least one fatal accident tied to the dangerous rear placement of the fuel tank in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty, Chrysler has declined to issue a recall of over two million affected vehicles. On June 3, the NHTSA formally recommended the auto maker recall certain models because of the known safety defect.

Battery Fire "Sparks" Debate About Automobile Safety

General Motors offered to buy back Chevrolet Volt vehicles after a defect investigation was opened into the car's battery. Many of us are aware of the tragic and unnecessary injuries that can occur from poorly designed vehicles from media reports. Over the years, a number of vehicles have become infamous for their poor design.

Tire Tips: 10 Ways to Avoid Blowing Your Tire Case

Michelin Settles Tire Case After Big Sanction

Two months after a federal judge in Atlanta sanctioned Michelin North America with a finding that one of its tires was defective and unreasonably dangerous, the company has settled with an Alabama man left paralyzed after a 2008 auto accident he claimed was caused by a defective tire.

Exploding Tire Case Yields Secret Settlement

Lawyers at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP-a firm with a website that shows a scrolling list of eight and nine-figure verdicts and settlements-did not sound happy they will have to keep secret the key figure in a deal resolving a seven-year-old exploding tire case against Bridgestone/Firestone.

Ford Windstar Vans Recalled Due to Salt Issues

Drivers of Ford Windstar minivans should take note of an important safety recall by Ford. The Detroit automaker recently recalled more than 400,000 Windstars manufactured between 1999 and 2003 for problems with potential corrosion in undercarriage mounts and brackets.

NHTSA Rule Aimed at Saving Lives During Rollovers

Putting rollover safety squarely in the front seat, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new rule that automakers must design technology that prevents passengers not wearing seatbelts from being ejected - specifically, not moving more than four inches past the side window - in the event of a rollover car accident.

Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration/Brake Failure E-mail Made Public


Personal Injury And Wrongful Death

Troup Jury Awards $2.5M in Transport Crash Suit, Daily Report, December 30, 2013

Georgia Wrongful Death Actions: What's a Life Really Worth

Death Cases: What Duties You Owe and to Whom You Owe Them

Georgia High Schools Fail to Protect Players from Oppressive Heat

Football is the South's favorite fall tradition. While the games are usually played on cool autumn nights, high schools begin their preparation in August, during the most brutal heat of the year. Unfortunately, practicing this fall sport in the dog days of summer is a dangerous and often deadly mix. Already this year two Georgia high school students have died from heat exposure during football practice - two deaths that were entirely avoidable and treatable.

Equitable Apportionment of Proceeds from the Wrongful Death of a Child

What's a Human Life Really Worth


Whistleblower Lawsuits

Whistleblowers Net $45M Deal

JPMorgan Chase will pay $45 million to settle whistleblower claims by two metro Atlanta mortgage executives that the bank defrauded the federal government through a program that helped veterans refinance their homes, lawyers for the whistleblowers said Monday.


Legal And Trial Practice

When Private Doesn't Always Mean Private

The best part of social media? Through privacy settings, who sees comments, pictures and posts can be limited to a select group. Maintaining the "private" nature of your social media content can be more difficult and requires special attention.

Buried Treasure - By Brandon L. Peak

One of the most disturbing threats confronting our clients is the trend of corporate defendants going bare and operating their businesses with little or no insurance. Some corporate defendants are attempting to disguise their assets and immunize themselves from collectible judgments and we, as trial lawyers, can stop this trend and successfully recover the full value of our clients' claim

Is This Man Out To Get You? - By David Whitford June 1, 2003 CNNMoney.com

Everybody knows that big time trial lawyers like James E. Butler Jr. are the sworn enemies of business. But he's on your side-really.

An Offensive Strategy for Defending Against Daubert (PDF)

As with almost any area of the law, a key to a successful Daubert defense is extensive preparation and constant thought to your own vulnerabilities. Keeping Daubert in the back of your mind throughout a case is an unfortunate necessity for any plaintiffs - lawyer with a case in federal court. If your case needs expert witness testimony and it is pending in federal court, it is certain that defense counsel will file a Daubert challenge to at least one of your experts.

The Nuts & Bolts of Reimbursement & Subrogation Issues (PDF)

Potentially any person or entity that has provided benefits to the client as a result of his injuries may be entitled to a share of the settlement. A hospital or physician may have a lien for their charges. Alternatively, Medicare, Medicaid or the client's own health insurer may seek to recover payments made for medical bills.

The Preparation & Utilization of "Lay" Witnesses in Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Cases (PDF)

The late great trial lawyer, Moe Levine, aptly described the trial of a civil lawsuit involving personal injuries or wrongful death as "the equation of suffering and redress". In order to work through this "equation" and reach a verdict which provides the proper measure of "redress" for the plaintiff's suffering or the decedent's death, the jurors must be given a catalyst which will motivate them to return a sufficient verdict.

Georgia Nuisance Law Provides Relief for Wronged Landowners (PDF)

Everyone living in Georgia is familiar with the almost overnight appearance of large scale housing and commercial developments where large tracts of previously forested land once stood. Although many of us would prefer that the land remain in its natural state, economic growth is inevitable.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 2003. Annual Survey of Georgia Law - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

This survey period yielded several decisions of interest and importance to practitioners trying cases and preparing for trial. This Article will analyze the recent judicial developments in the law relating to evidence, insurance, jurors and jury instructions, professional liability, service of process, and damages, as well as other issues of import to the trial practitioner.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 2002. Article - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

The recent survey period yielded a great number of decisions of interest and importance to practitioners trying and preparing cases for trial. This Article will analyze the recent judicial developments in the law relating to punitive damages, tort actions, sovereign immunity, venue, arbitration, professional negligence, and juror qualification, as *546 well as other issues of import to the trial practitioner. This Article also impact trial practice.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 2001. Article - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

The recent survey period was most notable for the diversity of issues impacting trial practice and procedure. The appellate courts considered cases marking the culmination or continuation of evolving legal precedent from recent years, and they explored some seemingly new areas that may evolve and develop over the course of future surveys. This Article analyzes the recent judicial developments in the law relating to jury instructions, attorney fees and damages, actions against state entities, venue, pleading, judicial and collateral estoppel, and other issues of import to the trial practitioner. The authors also highlight the legislation passed by the General Assembly that will impact trial practice.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 2000. Annual Survey of Georgia Law - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

This survey period is most notable for the diversity of cases touching upon trial practice and procedure decided by the Georgia appellate courts. Among those were cases fleshing out the permissible parameters of attorney-client contractual relations, scaling back the malpractice affidavit pleading requirement, defining further what constitutes a doctor-patient relationship, interpreting the wrongful death act to determine who can properly bring a claim, and declining to apply the self-contradictory testimony rule to a party's expert witness.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 1999. Survey Articles - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

This survey period yielded several notable decisions covering the professional malpractice affidavit/pleading requirement, renewal actions, attorney-client relations, and the summary judgment standard. Refinements in the areas of insurance practice, jury qualifications, releases, default judgment, and privileges lend important guidance to practitioners, judges, and scholars in the area of trial practice and procedure. The most significant legislative development of trial practice and procedure addressed the longstanding "vanishing venue" doctrine.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 1998. Annual Survey of Georgia Law - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

The most notable and far-reaching judicial activity during this survey period dealt with the summary judgment standard applied in tort cases. Other noteworthy developments occurred in the areas of venue, renewal of actions, collateral estoppel, and bifurcation of trials in cases involving punitive damages. Only minimal legislation was enacted in the area of trial practice and procedure during the survey period. This Article focuses on the most notable decisions rendered by the judiciary and the most significant legislation touching upon trial practice and procedure in Georgia state courts.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 1997. Survey Article - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

The most interesting and significant developments in the area of trial practice and procedure during the survey period came not from Georgia's appellate courts but from the Georgia General Assembly. This Article will first analyze the significant legislation that came from beneath the gold dome in 1997. It will then review the most significant appellate cases.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 1996. Survey Article - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

Developments in the law of personal jurisdiction and venue, the professional malpractice affidavit pleading requirement embodied by Official Code of Georgia Annotated ("O.C.G.A.") section 9-11-9.1, [FN1] and the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel continued to refine the law during this survey period. Additionally, this survey reviews significant decisions discussing disqualification of jurors for cause, actions for prenatal injuries, procedure in connection with trials involving default judgment, and remedies for spoliation of evidence.

Mercer Law Review - Fall 1995. Survey Article - Trial Practice & Procedure (PDF)

Developments in the law interpreting and applying the Official Code of Georgia Annotated ("O.C.G.A.") section 9-11-9.1, the professional negligence affidavit pleading requirement, and Georgia's various statutes of ultimate repose overshadowed the usual decisions concerning personal jurisdiction, service of process, and venue. This review will analyze the developments in these areas of trial practice and procedure in Georgia for the survey period. Also, the authors will discuss new developments concerning Georgia's renewal and dismissal statutes, res judicata, and discovery.

Strategies for Maximizing Damages in Civil Cases (PDF)

THEME: A lawyer can often do more to mess up a good case, than improve it. The things "not to do" are just as important as "the things to do."

ICLE Seminar - Surgical Errors - The Difference Between a Recognized Complication & Malpractice (PDF)

When a patient's surgery results in an undesired outcome, lay persons immediately suspect medical malpractice as the culprit. In reality, surgery carries with it certain risks, and it is impossible to guarantee that it will produce perfect results without complications. Any physician will tell you that complications can occur in even the most carefully executed surgeries.

Electronic Database Discovery in Products Liability Cases - A Plaintiff's Perspective (PDF)

The law has finally entered the information age. Even though it has been common knowledge for years that the vast majority of corporations store their records on computer databases and internal intranets, the law and corporate defendants have been slow to recognize that computer searches are a necessary component to civil discovery. Now, computer searches are granted as a matter of course.

Making Sure your Hydroplaning Case is Watertight (PDF)

Hydroplaning cases present unique challenges in the Daubert era and must therefore be carefully prepared. However, a wet weather case properly prepared and presented can be very compelling.

Discovery of Corporate Computer Databases - A Commonplace Practice

The law has finally entered the information age. Even though it has been common knowledge for years that the vast majority of corporations store their records on computer databases and internal intranets, the law has been slow to recognize that computer searches are a necessary component to civil discovery.

Use of Videotaped Depositions in Business Tort Suits - Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (PDF)

As most trial lawyers were either born knowing or quickly figured out, one of the most effective techniques for presentation of a plaintiffs' case is to call the defendant, or if a corporation, one of its key employees, for cross examination.

Strategy - Making Crime/Fraud Allegations

Civil Discovery and Corporate Defendants

Fishing Corporate Defendants out of the Bushes and into the Sunlight

Giving Defendants a Choice: Obey the Rule or Pay the Price

Taking Cross Examinations in Advance: The Trial Viddep

The Boundries of Zealous Advocacy

The Bench as a Battleground