While the world is going through this difficult time dealing with COVID-19, we wanted to take a moment to thank our clients for their continued support. We really appreciate you!
Remote depositions are becoming the new normal for the legal profession amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One common concern from attorneys is can the witness be sworn in remotely. The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(4) and similar state rules, such as O.C.G.A. § 9-11-30(4) authorize remote depositions by stipulation of the parties or court order.
Following Governor Brian Kemp’s declaration of a state health emergency in Georgia, Justice Melton issued a statewide judicial emergency limiting court functions and suspended or otherwise granted relief from a number of statutory judicial deadlines.
Currently the order will remain in effect until April 13, 2020. During this time, EGCR is waiving any web or videoconferencing fees as long as EGCR is not required to provide a location or equipment outside of EGCR’s facility. Standard deposition rates will apply.
Our team is working diligently to prepare our staff and our clients for the best experience possible. Below are some helpful links.
We urge our clients if they run into a situation that is unique, to call or email our office so we can provide a solution.
We also have a comprehensive YouTube tutorial on web depositions, along with other tutorials.
We believe remote depositions will continue to be relevant in the future for situations relating to weather. Georgia can shut down for a week at a time due to weather. You no longer have to.
While, during this crisis, the EGCR and Ancillary teams are working remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are still available to answer your questions or concerns.
The American Bar Association (ABA) Journal reports a Florida-based dentist can pursue intellectual property rights of the before-and-after photos of his cosmetic dentistry patients after a federal appeals court reversed a trial court’s decision. The Atlanta-based 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision tossing out a Florida dentist’s claim to establish his before-and-after smile photos of his dental patients had enough originality to get copyright protection. The unpublished May 1st per curiam decision gives the Boca Raton dentist, Dr. Mitchell Pohl, the ability to seek intellectual property rights on those photos of his cosmetic dentistry work, which are displayed on his website.
Dr. Pohl originally sued after a company named Officite used the dentist’s 2005 photo of a patient’s before-and-after images. Officite used the photos on websites that promoted other dentists’ practices. Last summer, United States District Judge Mark Walker held the photos in question did not have enough “creative spark to merit copyright protection.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, holding Judge Walker failed to acknowledge some evidence or originality that favored Dr. Pohl’s position. The 11th Circuit reasoned that Dr. Pohl took the before photos when the patient was in the dental chair while the after photos included a photography screen, close-up photos, and under direction to look at the camera and smile. The 11th Circuit highlighted that the United States Supreme Court has set a low bar when it comes to originality; it only requires some slight – or minimal – degree of creativity. When the court looked at the evidence in the light most favorable to Dr. Pohl, it found there was enough for him to proceed with the case. This was because the court found Dr. Pohl had a specific intention on how he wanted the photo to look. Dr. Pohl’s attorney, according to the ABA Bar Journal report, stated he will ask the lower court to rule on the issue of copyright infringement.
The Bigger Picture
The lower court’s decision to toss Dr. Pohl’s copyright infringement claim out last year could have had the potential to disrupt long-standing copyright protection as it has historically been applied to photographs. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ reversal clearly shows the court is not veering from precedent that sets a low bar when it comes to determining originality in this area of the law. To be sure, the input of the author must be factored in when determining originality in intellectual property law. Notwithstanding, the 11th Circuit’s decision also makes it clear that the use of a photograph is not enough to determine whether or not the image is sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.
An inmate from Pennsylvania who served more than a decade in prison on a murder charge recently won an acquittal in his pro se representation on appeal in a fourth trial, according to a report published by the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal. After just an 81-minute deliberation, the jury acquitted defendant Hassan Bennett in the 2006 shooting death of one teenager and the wounding of another, according to reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post. Bennett was just 23 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison.
Bennett stated he was in his home on the phone when he overheard gunshots. He ran outside of his home to investigate. The two teenagers involved were friends. According to the prosecutor’s theory of the case, Bennett had planned the crime as a result of losing $20 to one of the victims in a game of dice.
The first trial for Bennett’s case, which was held in 2008, ended in a mistrial due to jury tampering. In the second trial, later that same year, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Bennett won a new trial, however, based on his appellate arguments regarding ineffective assistance of counsel. A third trial, held in 2018, resulted in a hung jury. Bennett represented himself.
The Fourth Trial
In the fourth trial, which began in April of 2019, Bennett also represented himself. He argued that law enforcement detectives coerced the shooting victim who survived and a co-defendant to identify him as the assailant. The detective in question has had similar accusations against him in at least 10 other cases.
Bennett argued to the jury that prosecutors failed to call the detective to testify, and accused the witness of coercion. The shooting victim and the co-defendant recanted their statements during trial that identified Bennett as the shooter. Bennett also introduced evidence including phone records to support his story, as well as three corroborating witnesses.
Self Taught Advocate
The newspapers reported that Bennett studied the law in the prison library when he began to represent himself in the appeal. His cellmate would destroy his written documents if they were not properly formatted. According to the reports, Bennett is considering a legal career as a result of his appellate success. Bennett is a high school graduate. He has accepted a position with his standby attorney performing paralegal and investigative work.
To read more about the case, click here.