Simon Law Firm October 2017

Let Us Guide You To Justice The Georgia Legal Report


October 2017

Protect Your Credit From Hackers

Between May and July, hackers accessed 143 million people ’ s private financial data housed on Equifax’ s servers .

Step 2: Set Alerts You can set a fraud alert that will warn you if an account is opened. This must be renewed every 90 days.

B etween May and July, hackers accessed 143 million people’s as though the data was housed in dispute complaints that consumers had filed over the years. The stolen data includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and 200,000 credit card numbers. Equifax is one of the big three credit agencies that houses and sells consumer credit and finance data at a huge profit. When credit card companies get an application from a consumer, this is one of the sources they use to determine credit worthiness. They know everything about you. So, what am I doing to fix it? Equifax’s own tool has been documented by CNET and others as unreliable, so just assume your data is out there and act to protect yourself. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Step 1: Survey the Existing Landscape Sign up with Credit Karma and see what your report looks like now, because the bad guys have had the data since May. Visit It’s free and trusted by experts. If there are accounts listed there, contact that company’s fraud department immediately.

Equifax: or 1-888-766-0008

Experian: or 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion: or 1-800-680-7289

Step 3: Freeze Your Credit This is pretty extreme and you will have to unfreeze it to apply for accounts, but it is the gold standard. You can freeze your credit by calling one of these numbers. This will prevent any new accounts from being opened up.

Equifax: or 1-800-349-9960

Experian: or 1 888 397 3742

TransUnion: or 1-888-909-8872

- Christopher Simon | 1

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Roundabouts Positive All Around

Roundabouts have two huge advantages over traditional intersections, in that drivers rarely come to a complete stop, which reduces traffic backups, and yet, they are forced to slow down so that there are much fewer opportunities for cross traffic turns that lead to hard head-on or T-Bone

collisions. By comparison, traffic studies have shown that there are 32 places in a traditional intersection where cars can cross each other’s path, versus only eight in a roundabout. In a 2007 report from the Transportation Research Board (an arm of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine) researchers studied 55 intersections before and after the installation of roundabouts. They found the following:

Having grown up in Europe until I was 10, I was very familiar with the traffic roundabout and always wondered why we did not have them here in the U.S. Then, a few years ago, they started popping up in neighborhoods, and now, we even have one in front of Lenox Mall in Atlanta. Almost 145 roundabouts have been constructed in Georgia in the last 10 years, with over 100 more on the drawing board. By comparison, in the ’90s, there were less than 100 roundabouts in the U.S., and that number has skyrocketed to over 2,300 today. See http://roundabout. for more information. As a lawyer who deals with traffic accidents, I have studied roadway design, and when you look at the massive benefits of roundabouts over traditional intersections, it’s not even close.

* reduction in accidents by 35 percent

* reduction in injuries from those accidents by 76 percent

* reduction in fatal or serious injury accidents in urban roundabouts by 81 percent

* reduction in fatal or serious injury accidents in rural roundabouts by 71 percent

Meet Our Newest Team Member:


Bear will be joining on as the official firm pooch full time moving forward. We’re certain that her friendly personality will fit right in at the office — though as a Great Pyrenees mix, her furry body might take up a little bit of room. Bear is a rescue pup from Georgia organization Angels Among Us , a nonprofit that saves dogs and cats from high-kill Georgia shelters and places them in foster homes. Angels Among Us is dedicated

responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering and heartworm prevention. They save as many animals as possible from these shelters and follow them from the initial rescue all to way to their loving foster home and, eventually, into the forever home that the animals always deserved. If you’re looking to adopt a dog or cat like Bear (and who wouldn’t — just look at her!) make sure to head to and check out the resources they have available. With their help, we can reduce the number of needless shelter fatalities of our beloved critters. Oh, and next time you’re near the office, stop in and say hello to Bear! She’s eager to meet all our wonderful clients. All of us look forward to working with her for the years to come.

This month, all of us at the firm are thrilled to welcome our newest member of the team: Bear the dog!

to educating the public on the plight of the animals that tragically end up in high-kill shelters throughout the state, as well as encouraging

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What Constitutes ‘Punitive Damages’? Under Georgia Law, Proving It Is No Simple Task

Earn a Date Night ... Two Movie Tickets and a Dinner Gift Card! We are conducting a Facebook client review drive. For each client that leaves us a review and “likes” us on Facebook, we will be mailing you two movie tickets and a gift card for dinner! Search for Christopher Simon, Attorney at Law on Facebook. We will check the site and list the winners in the November newsletter!

Sausage and Barley Soup

In most negligence cases, a plaintiff’s recovery is generally limited to the actual damages — the price of a totaled car, compensation for lost wages, etc. For some people, that’s more than enough. But in special cases, the plaintiff will see reason to go further. Sometimes, in the state of Georgia, the judge will agree. These are called punitive damages. The recovery of such damages is narrowly circumscribed under Georgia law, so the courts are typically wary of them. However, in special cases, they’ll still get through. Georgia law states that punitive damages may only be awarded in a tort action if “it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” They won’t be rewarded simply because it’s fair; they’ll be rewarded to set a precedent and make an example. That means neither regular nor gross negligence is enough. There has to be proven outrage or aggravation. It must have been a personal matter or a result of a pattern or policy on the part of the defendant. Those with viable negligence claims should inquire whether there is evidence sufficient to support an entitlement to punitive damages, and the assistance of experienced trial counsel is necessary to do that. At Simon Law Firm, we’ve handled many cases where punitive damages were discussed. We know what constitutes the right type of negligence and how to prove it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us to schedule a complimentary case consultation.

INGREDIENTS • Cooking spray •

6 ounces turkey breakfast sausage 2 1/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped 1/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach 2 cups water

• •

DIRECTIONS 1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. 2. While sausage cooks, place stir-fry and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth. 3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.

Recipe courtesy of

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2860 Piedmont Rd NE #210 Atlanta, GA 30305

Protect Your Credit From Hackers


The Benefits of Roundabouts Meet Bear, the Great Pyrenees What Constitutes ‘Punitive Damages’? Sausage and Barley Soup




The Origins of Fear


Where does fear come from? As the jack-o’- lanterns show their grinning, glowing faces and skeletons, cobwebs, and gravestones adorn yards around the neighborhood, it’s a question hanging in many of our minds. When you recoil from the giant mechanical spider suspended above your neighbor’s garage, is that fear instinctual, or is it learned? Many people, spurred on by evolutionary psychology, believe that the fear of creepy crawlies, particularly spiders and snakes, is innate. Certainly, spiders and snakes are among the most common phobias in the world. But research shows that, though humans and apes may be predisposed to easily develop a fear of these poisonous animals, the fears are just that — learned. In a 2016 study, babies were presented with videos of snakes and other animals like elephants, paired with either a fearful or happy auditory track, measuring the babies’ physiological responses when the videos were interrupted by a startling flash of light. Though babies were more interested

in the snakes, they weren’t more startled, indicating a lack of fear.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, there are only two fears we inherit at birth: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. A 1960 study, conducted by psychologists Gibson and Walk for Cornell University, sought to investigate depth perception in human and animal species. They suspended a sheet of transparent plexiglass about four feet off the ground and covered one half of it with a checkerboard-pattern cloth, creating a simulated cliff. Infants, both human and animal, were then encouraged by their caregivers, usually their mothers, to crawl off the “cliff” onto the clear half of the platform. Animals and humans alike avoided stepping over what they perceived as a sharp drop, and pre-crawling-age infants showed heightened cardiac distress on the “suspended” side.

of several involuntary reflexes healthy newborn infants have at birth. Often called the “startle reflex,” it occurs when a baby is startled by a loud sound or movement, especially a falling motion. The reflex usually triggers the newborn to lift and spread their arms as if grasping for support, followed by crying. Though the Moro reflex usually disappears at around 5 to 6 months of age, our instinctive aversion to sudden loud noises stays with us throughout our lives.

Coupled with this innate fear of plummeting to the ground is something called the Moro reflex, one

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