Yeargan & Kert - September 2019


SEPTEMBER 2019 404-467-1747


If there’s one thing growing up in Atlanta has taught me, it’s that it’s tough being a Falcons fan. Even when we have a championship team, we always seem to find a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory at the last possible second. And yet, no matter how much past seasons may sting, I still get excited every time football season rolls around again. Part of my begrudging love of the Falcons probably comes from the fact that I went to Emory. Our “Emory Football: Still Undefeated” T-shirts are probably the most popular item in the student store. But, despite attending one of the only Georgia schools to lack a college team, I still have a deep respect for the sport. In fact, as a lawyer, I relate to the game quite a bit. Hear me out. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of attending the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University. Essentially, the college consists of three-day seminars led and attended by some of the top defense attorneys in the country as a way to better our craft. In a sense, it’s the Super Bowl for DUI lawyers. It was at one of these seminars that a veteran lawyer drew clear parallels between criminal defense and football. “Law is a game of inches,” he said, playing the Al Pacino speech from “Any Given Sunday.” The connection made a surprising amount of sense. To paraphrase from the famous locker-room scene, in either game, law or football, the margin for error is so small. One half-step too late or too early, and you won’t make it. Mounting a good defense means fighting every step of the way. This is especially true for tough cases when the evidence is stacked against you. Rather than throw in the towel or go for an unlikely Hail Mary, the best attorneys dig in their heels and make gains wherever they can. Only by probing the prosecution’s formation can you set up big plays that will go the distance.

Sometimes a case comes down to running out the clock. When a statute of limitations is within sight, the best strategy is often to drag out proceedings until the law no longer applies. But more often, a good lawyer will be looking for ways to go on the offensive. Like a gap in the offensive line or a botched pass, a great NFL defense is always looking for a chance to flip the script on the other team. From hard-hitting sacks to pick-sixes, these opportunities to seize the momentum of the game can be the difference between a win or a loss. That’s why whenever the prosecution slips up, like lacking the evidence they need or using an unreliable witness, you can bet we’re going to take that ball and run with it. Of course, it’s not a perfect analogy. When I take the field, I don’t have fame, fortune, and a Super Bowl ring on the line. I’m playing for something far more valuable: my clients’ future. With such an important outcome at stake, no defense lawyer can afford not to fight for every inch they can get.

Here’s to a great season,

–Jim Yeargan



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Intellectual property is defined by Merriam-Webster as “property (such as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect.” As you can no doubt glean from this definition, intellectual property can be a lot of things, so it’s important to identify and protect you and your business’ intellectual property. Here are the main categories and protections for your company’s creations. TRADE SECRETS A trade secret is any useful piece of information that the public doesn’t know about and the owner has taken steps to protect. If you have taken the steps necessary to protect your own trade practices, you may have a case if you ever discover your trade secret has been leaked. Having your employees sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is a great way to initially establish your unique business practices as trade secrets. TRADEMARKS The name of your business, product, or service — anything a customer uses to identify a product — generally requires a trademark. This may include your company’s name, product name, etc. Think of the distinctive Nike “Swoosh” and the familiar ending sound of Dell’s commercials. To properly protect your trademark, file a trademark application to have it registered.

COPYRIGHTS Most people seek protection under copyright law for a variety of things related to their product or business, like images, specific words on packaging, labeling, the actual product, and the business webpage. The best thing about copyright registration is that it’s inexpensive. Plus, the law allows you to demand attorney fees from those who infringe on your copyright. PATENTS Patents are a fantastic way to protect your designs, and companies have utilized patents to maintain their competitive advantage. A great example of this strategy is when Sony Pictures patented their animation style for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” which grossed over $375,502,565. There are two types of patents: one for utility (function) and one for design (aesthetic). To apply for a patent, register with the United States Patent Office. Regardless of the type of intellectual property you have, it’s important you identify what type it is and which type of protection is most appropriate. Even a small amount of intellectual property is worth protecting, so start the process now to safeguard it.

More Than Jail Time


FAMILY It goes without saying that serving prison time can put a strain on you and your family’s relationship. But what you may not know is that upon your release, your crime may continue to severely impact your ability to build a stable home. In custody battles, for example, having a felony on record can weigh heavily in a court’s decision whether to let you care for your children. Similarly, adoption, while not off limits, can be made significantly harder by having a criminal history. YOUR FUTURE Last, but not least, felons struggle to find gainful employment. It’s hard to find companies that don’t see a criminal background as a liability even if you have a college education. A possession felony is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

understand is the risks they are taking when in possession of controlled substances like cocaine. Beyond the mandatory jail time you will face, a guilty verdict will hang around you long after your release. These are consequences it never hurts to be aware of. WHAT SECOND AMENDMENT? Georgia is home to many avid hunters and firearms enthusiasts, but with a felony, you can’t be one of them. Any firearms you own will be removed from your possession, and you will not be able to purchase one in the future. And this may not be the only constitutional right you’re giving up. In our state, you won’t be able to vote again until after your parole and probation period is up. While this is not a permanent loss, you will spend decades being unable to make your voice heard in American politics.

A favorite of movie icons like Scarface and Jordan Belfort, cocaine has been given quite the glamorous image by Hollywood studios. The message is clear: This is the drug of choice for people who have seized their own destinies — freebooters, rock stars, and Wall Street giants. But in stark contrast to these glorified symbols of freedom, a single cocaine charge can strip you of many of the rights and privileges an average, sober American can enjoy.

We aren’t here to moralize. That’s not our place. But what we do want people to



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A Little-Known Law Can Spell Big Trouble PILL PLANNERS AND THE POLICE


A cheap plastic accessory you can find in most pharmacies and big-box stores could land you in jail. Those handy little “pill planners,” usually marked with the days of the week, help countless people around the world keep track of their medications. But here in Georgia, the law sees these innocent little organizational tools as a means to get away with drug crimes. KEEP THOSE ORANGE VIALS Now, to be clear, the state doesn’t care that you have one of these planners. But, if you’re caught with one containing prescription drugs, you’re more than likely to be charged with a crime. This is because of Georgia’s “original container” law, which states that prescriptions need to be kept in the same bottles, vials, or boxes that the pharmacist gave you. Thus, whether you have your next dose stored away in a plastic bag, a pill planner, a pocket, or anything other than the original packaging, you are committing a misdemeanor. OR ELSE Taking a drug out of its packaging seems like such a small thing, but Georgia law doesn’t see it that way. Those charged with not having drugs in their original container face serious consequences, including up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. As bad as these punishments are on their own, being found with drugs like OxyContin outside their original container can lead to a downward spiral of legal consequences. THINGS GET MESSY Part of the reasoning behind the “original container” law is the idea that it, hypothetically, cuts down on the illegal sale and use of prescription drugs. Pharmacy containers will have your name listed on them, so an officer can verify that the pills are in fact yours. Because it’s assumed alternative means for storing these drugs might be used for criminal purposes, you may wind up facing even more severe crimes like possession with intent to sell. Obviously, the police aren’t going to raid your house to find out if you’re using a pill planner, but what if you pack your planner for a road trip and get pulled over? You consent to a search because you “have nothing to hide,” and suddenly you’re staring down jail time. Never consent to warrantless searches, stay informed, and never be afraid to call a lawyer you trust.


Inspired by Food Network

What do you do when apples are in season but you don’t have time to make a pie? You opt for a crisp, of course.

INGREDIENTS Filling: • 5 lbs Granny Smith

Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/3 cup brown sugar • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp salt • 6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

• 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour • 2 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tbsp lemon juice

DIRECTIONS 1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.



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Yeargan & Kert, LLC 1170 Peachtree Street Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30309 404-467-1747



Football, Al Pacino, and the Law

Types of Intellectual Property Cocaine and the Loss of Freedom

A Little-Known Law Can Spell Big Trouble Classic Apple Crisp

How to Respond to School Bullies


A new school year is a prime opportunity for kids to make new friends among their classmates. Unfortunately, kids also form connections during the school year that aren’t always positive, and many children become the targets of school bullies. If you suspect your child is being bullied, there are a few things you can do to help. KNOW THE SIGNS Kids usually don’t open up about being bullied right away. However, there are some common signs that your child is being harassed. Here are a few of them:

If you spot one or more of these signs, it’s time to talk to your child about what’s happening to them at school.

LISTEN When your child does open up, the best thing you can do is listen. It can be tempting to try to give them advice or question the way they handled the situation, but doing this can give your child the impression that it’s their own fault they are being bullied. Let them tell you the whole story, without judgment, and then help them come up with ideas on what to do next. FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION Once you’ve been informed that your child is being bullied, you should inform teachers as soon as possible. Apart from that, there are several ways you can help your child to deal with bullies, so talk to them about what approach they would be most comfortable with, such as de-escalation strategies or a buddy system with their friends. As with most conflicts, the sooner you handle the situation, the better.

• If they’re refusing to go to school or ride the bus, they may be dreading their bully.

• If they’re rushing to the bathroom after school, it may indicate that they’re being bullied in the bathroom, which is a common tactic bullies use to avoid teachers.

• If their grades suddenly change, it may be the result of constant harassment.

• Anxious or depressed moods can be the result of bullying as well.



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