$ 400,000.00 Settlement in a Georgia Case where a Woman was Hit by a Golf Cart: The Defendant’s Homeowner’s Insurance Policy will Pay

golf cart for july 28 2014 blogIn May of 2012 there was a concert in Peachtree City, Georgia outdoors where people regularly use golf carts as transportation. After the concert, as the crowd was dispersing, a woman, Tracy Self, was with her husband walking out of the concert venue when she was struck by a golf cart driven by William Helm.

Helm did not at first realize that he had struck Ms. Self as he was dragging her a small ways when another pedestrian stopped Helm and pulled the keys out of the ignition.  Even through the keys were missing, Helm attempted to drive again before he realized there were no keys in the ignition.

Helm was charged with driving under the influence and went to jail while Self was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and into surgery for broken bones in one of her legs.

As the Plaintiff’s Attorney’s were ready to file suit, the insurance company, American Strategic, called Plaintiff’s counsel and stated that the incident with the golf cart was excluded from the homeowner’s policy. Therefore, the Defendant’s counsel filed a complaint in Fayette County Superior Court for a declaratory judgment that the insurance company was not liable under these circumstances.  The Judge, Mack Crawford, disagreed with the Defendant’s contention and granted the Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement.


Arbitration Clause is Held Unenforceable in Case with Rehabilitation Center

picture for march 23 blogI discussed in my prior blog post about Do Not Sign Your Rights Away that Arbitration Clauses can be held enforceable in some agreements involving Nursing Homes.  In a recent case out of Arkansas with a Rehabilitation Center the Rehabilitation Center moved the court to enforce the Arbitration Clause.  The Court of Appeals held, and the Supreme Court affirmed, in this case that the Arbitration Clause was invalid due to a lack of mutual assent since both parties to the agreement had not signed the Arbitration Clause.

In the case I discussed in my prior blog post about Not Signing Your Rights Away the issue in that case was that the Arbitration Clause addressed financial issues and not issues of negligence and since, in that case, the issue was negligence and not a financial issue, the Arbitration Clause was held unenforceable.

I am an Arbitrator, and a Mediator, and I firmly believe that there is a place in our judicial system, and that this place is firmly rooted from the past, for both Arbitration and Mediation.  The point that must be considered in all contracts and in Arbitration provisions is whether or not the party entering into such a contract fully understands the implications of an Arbitration Clause or provision and that if the clause suggests Binding Arbitration that the parties have now waived their rights to a full judicial system for the adjudication of disputes.