Kevin Patrick Law - July 2024

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JULY 2024

Legally Brief W ith K evin P atrick Automobile accidents | Daycare injuries | wrongful death

From Declaration to Celebration

A Lawyer’s Take on the Fourth of July

It may be no surprise that a lawyer’s favorite holiday is Independence Day! It’s a time when my passion for law and history manifests into vibrant celebrations on every corner. It’s the one day each year where law, liberty, and festivities intersect in a grand display of fireworks, parades, and yes — my favorite — barbecues! The journey of the Fourth of July from a revolutionary commemoration to an official national holiday is as fascinating as it is historically significant. It all started back in 1776 when the Continental Congress boldly voted for independence from Britain on July 2 and adopted the Declaration of Independence two days later, on July 4. But did you know it wasn’t until nearly a century later, in 1870, that Congress declared July 4 a national holiday for federal employees? And even then, it only applied to those in the District of Columbia. It’s funny to think about how things slowly evolve in the world of law.

of American independence, with John Adams envisioning fireworks as part of the festivities. He imagined a day celebrated with “Pomp and Parade ... Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” And boy, did his vision stick! On this day, as we share in the festivities, let’s also remember to cherish and uphold the freedoms we often take for granted: the freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, and the pursuit of happiness. These are the cornerstones of our nation, secured through the foresight of our Founding Fathers and protected by the rule of law. It’s a chance to connect with our community and remember why we value what we often overlook — the comfort and security that come with living in a free society. So, as we enjoy the spirited fun, let’s also honor our country’s resilience and the enduring spirit of liberty that defines us as Americans. Let this Fourth of July be a celebration of not just independence but also the gratitude we hold for these everyday freedoms that shape our lives. Whether you’re watching a spectacular fireworks show, enjoying a hometown parade, or grilling with friends and family, it’s a day to “Whether you’re watching a spectacular fireworks show, enjoying a hometown parade, or grilling with friends and family, it’s a day to appreciate our freedoms and the laws that help safeguard them.”

appreciate our freedoms and the laws that help safeguard them. Here’s to a safe, joyful, and legally compliant Fourth of July! Cheers to independence and everything that makes our community great!

This legal stamp solidified the Fourth of July as a cornerstone of American celebration, reflecting core values such as freedom and bravery — ideals that resonate deeply within the legal community and beyond. These celebrations have been a part of our national fabric since the earliest days

This publication is for informational purposes only, and no legal advice is intended.

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Why Effective Listening Is a Lawyer’s Greatest Tool A Silent Skill When it comes to law, where the power of persuasion and the art of debate often take the spotlight, it might come as a surprise to learn that listening, rather than speaking, is one of the most crucial skills for an attorney. As we approach July 18, World Listening Day, it’s a perfect time to reflect on why being a good listener is essential for an effective lawyer. Contrary to the common perception that lawyers are always ready to argue, effective listening forms the backbone of successful legal practice. In personal injury law, where clients’ lives and futures often hang in the balance, listening well can make all the difference. WHY LISTENING MATTERS IN LAW Listening goes beyond merely hearing a client’s words. It involves understanding the emotions and intentions behind those words. This skill is critical during depositions, where what is not said can sometimes be as telling as spoken words. A lawyer must be attuned to pick up on subtle cues and nuances that can reveal hidden truths. Moreover, personal injury cases are not just legal challenges but deeply personal matters that significantly impact clients’ lives. Clients need to feel heard and understood, not just legally represented. Active listening helps build trust and rapport, leading to more open and honest communications. It also provides the lawyer with the insights needed to advocate effectively on their behalf and support their clients emotionally. TIPS FOR BECOMING AN ACTIVE LISTENER 1. Give Full Attention: Avoid distractions. Put aside other tasks, turn away from computers or phones, and make eye contact. This signals that they have your undivided attention. 2. Show You’re Listening: Use body language and verbal sounds to show your engagement. Nod occasionally, smile, and encourage the speaker to continue. 3. Reflect and Clarify: Paraphrase what has been said to confirm your understanding. Ask clarifying questions to ensure you’ve grasped the full meaning. 4. Pause Before Responding: Resist the urge to answer immediately. Considering the person’s statement shows you value what they’ve said and are considering it thoughtfully. Incorporating these listening strategies into practice, whether you’re a lawyer or not, can strengthen your relationships and enhance your work. As we celebrate World Listening Day, let’s remember that in law, sometimes the quiet act of listening can speak the loudest.

Have you ever wondered how moviemakers can afford to blow up piles of money on the big screen? It turns out that it’s tricky, as the government has a set of strict rules to follow when studios feature U.S. currency on screen. So, roll out the red carpet because we’re about to explore the laws of prop money. IDENTICAL BILLS ARE ILLEGAL. Prop money can’t look identical to actual bills because of concerns about whether it could be circulated to the public and used. This happened after a “Rush Hour 2” scene where they blew up billions of dollars in prop money. Extras took home some of the fake cash and tried to use it in Las Vegas. The Secret Service got involved immediately, shutting down the shoot and confiscating the bills. If the money is a replica, it must be either 75% smaller or 150% larger than real bills. One of the most common methods studios use is printing only one side of the fake money. The design can also be altered slightly, like changing the shading or picture. REAL CASH CAN’T BE DESTROYED. Even though blowing up or burning money on camera can pump up the action for the audience, legal tender cannot be destroyed in movies. Anyone can be charged with a federal crime, punishable by 10 years in prison and fines for destroying money. Only the Federal Reserve has that power. Technically, it’s illegal to even flatten a penny. YOU CAN’T PRINT MONEY. Real currency is printed on a unique blend of cotton and linen available only to the U.S. government. Prop money can’t feel like the real deal. It has to be on paper and printed at a lower resolution. Robert De Niro didn’t like how the prop money felt in his hands while filming “Goodfellas.” To get around it, the prop master withdrew money from his bank account for De Niro to use. At the end of each scene, no one could leave until all the money was counted and returned. Why Real Money Can’t Take Center Stage Lights, Camera, Cash

So, next time one of your favorite movie characters has cash to burn, remember, those are fake bills in the flames!

You can always reach Kevin directly at 404.566.8964 or (If you ever need it, his cellphone is 404.409.3160.)

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involving drivers unfamiliar with local roads. Understanding the implications of the Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act is crucial because it ensures that if you’re visiting Georgia and happen to be involved in a traffic collision, you will be aware of the possibility that you might have to defend yourself in a Georgia court. If you’re an out-of-state driver involved in an accident in Georgia, contacting a local attorney is vital. Given the complexities of the Georgia Non- Resident Motorist Act, consulting with a Georgia lawyer can provide you with guidance tailored to your situation and help you navigate the potential legal proceedings. Whether you’re just passing through or coming to experience the vibrant life in cities like Atlanta, understanding your legal responsibilities and rights is critical to a hassle-free vacation.

As summer swings into full gear and vacationers hit the road, the chances of encountering traffic mishaps unfortunately increase. If you’re planning a trip to Georgia or just passing through, there’s a particular law you should be aware of — the Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act. Understanding this statute could significantly impact how you handle any potential car accident situations while you’re away from home. The Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act, outlined in OCGA 40-12-1, is a legal provision that addresses how automobile accidents involving out-of-state drivers are managed within the state. This act is particularly relevant during the summer and holiday seasons when the influx of tourists and travelers peaks in places like Atlanta, known for its bustling activity and busier roads. Here are more specifics about it.

This act allows for legal proceedings in Georgia if a road accident involves a non-resident motorist on Georgia’s roads. Suppose you’re visiting from another state and are involved in a car accident in Georgia. In that case, you can be sued in Georgia, and any legal action regarding the accident will be processed under Georgia law. The rationale behind this act is straightforward: It aims to simplify the legal process for residents by allowing them to pursue claims in their home state without traveling to the state where the non-resident motorist resides. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT DURING SUMMER ROAD TRIPS? The summer brings a notable increase in road traffic, including a higher presence of out-of- state drivers, raising the probability of accidents


Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake

Bursting with fresh strawberries and layered with fluffy biscuits and creamy whipped topping, this recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Ingredients • 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/2 cup butter, softened • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1 large egg • 2/3 cup milk • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 2 tbsp granulated sugar • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. 2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until blended. 4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; mix until blended. 5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan before serving. 6. Whip cream and sugar together until stiff peaks form. 7. Arrange strawberries on top of cake and spread whipped cream over top before serving.


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529 Pharr Road N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30305

Inside This Issue 1 How the 4th of July Became a National Holiday 2 The Surprising Rules of Movie Currency

Why the Best Lawyers Are Also the Best Listeners

3 A Visitor’s Guide to the Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act

Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake

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4 How a Cat Saved an Army Veteran in Need

Fluffy’s Heroic Deed Saves a Veteran

In 2020, Ron Williams, a Korean War veteran in his mid-80s, lived alone. His only lifeline was his Life Alert, a small device designed to alert healthcare officials if an emergency occurred. That was until he was gifted a black-and- white spotted cat named Fluffy. From the moment they met, it was clear the two would make a perfect pair. But what Ron didn’t know was that he had been given more than a companion — he had been given a savior. FELINE FRIEND While Ron did not have many people to talk to, he did have Fluffy. The two shared mostly one-sided conversations, likely interspersed with the occasional meow. Whenever Ron received a call on his cellphone, he got in the habit of saying, “Ring-a-ding.” While the two shared a deep bond, Ron never considered that Fluffy was actually listening.

which he had relied upon for situations like this, was charging in the other room. His cell phone, his only other means of calling for help, was on the bathroom counter, out of reach. The hours ticked away, and Ron lay in agonizing pain on the bathroom floor. At just past midnight the next day, Ron had an idea. Fluffy had wandered into the bathroom to check on his friend. “Ring-a-ding,” Ron told him, and Fluffy knew to retrieve his phone and bring it to him. Ron was able to call for help in time to save his life. Fluffy’s quick thinking prevented tragedy. This heroic act is a great reminder that our pets care — and listen — more than we may ever give them credit for.

“I just fell in love with him,” Ron said of Fluffy in an interview with FOX17 in Michigan. As it turned out, Fluffy loved him back.

FLUFFY TO THE RESCUE One fateful day, at around 8 a.m., Ron slipped and fell on his way out of the shower. He landed on his arm, which became pinned under him. His Life Alert,

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