> PAST PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Thank You for Opportunity to Serve
By Dan Snipes
I hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. As I conclude my time as GTLA President, I wanted to update you all on a few things.
First, thank you for your continued support of GTLA. During this time of uncertainty, I want you to know how much we appreciate your continued support of our mission.
I am hopeful that we can all be together in person again soon. As you know, we have rescheduled GTLA’s Annual Convention for September 10-11. We will be at The Whitley and will begin working on our agenda very soon. Auto Torts is still scheduled for July 23-25 at the Omni Amelia Island. A complete list of all upcoming GTLA events (both in-person and virtually offered) is available on the homepage of gtla.org.
The 2020 Legislative Session will reconvene on Thursday, June 11, at which point, our legislative team will again be at the Capitol every day during the remaining legislative days to ensure that no harmful legislation sees final passage. We know that our adversaries will continue their assault on civil justice – we’ve heard that even during the COVID-19 crisis, our adversaries have been talking about their strategy for bringing SB 415 back in some form. We have to be ready! So, if you are not already a Directed Giving donor, please make a commitment today.
A special thank you to all of you who came to the Capitol this session, who called and emailed your Legislators, and dug deep into your pockets to give to our friends in the General Assembly. We truly couldn’t have accomplished what we did without this effort. Our financial contributions are a critical part of our success. I can tell you after this legislative session, the presence of our members has been noted. There is a chance that the legislature will come back in just to pass a budget and then adjourn, but we just won’t know that for certain until they reconvene. Regardless, we all need to be ready to fight back every tort reform effort that we faced for the first 30 days of this session. While we were successful in defeating SB 415 in the Senate, there are certainly many ways that our adversaries can continue their efforts. We must remain vigilant.
Thank you to all of our members who have supported the incumbent justices of the Georgia Supreme Court. Due to the tireless efforts of past GTLA leaders, Georgia has avoided overly political appellate courts. With all judicial elections, GTLA remains committed to minimizing the roll of politics in judicial elections while encouraging our members to support qualified candidates and judges. While GTLA is not engaged in an official capacity in the current Supreme Court races, the leadership recognizes the character and quality of our current bench and hope that our membership continues to remain engaged.
On April 14 and April 20, Governor Kemp issued Executive Order 04.14.20.01 and Executive Order 04.20.20.01, respectively. These orders extend state and political subdivision immunity for emergency management workers or those engaged in any emergency management activity to certain healthcare providers for services provided during the Public Health State of Emergency. I know there has been traffic on the listserve recently about these Orders. Know that we worked proactively with the Governor and his staff to offer language that we thought would protect healthcare workers but not go too far. We were disappointed that our language was not used, but we will continue working in a productive way with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor during this period.
To borrow messaging from our friends in other state TLAs: Please, for the sake of all of our clients and our firms, carefully consider your actions in filing COVID-19 related cases, sending press releases, posting on social media about COVID-19 related litigation, etc. I am not telling you not to pursue justice for your clients, but I am asking you to be extra-mindful of the onslaught of overboard and 7th Amendment-threatening legislation that we are seeing – and will continue to see.
State Senator Blake Tillery, a GTLA member, has been named as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. I wanted to take a moment to recognize Blake and all our GTLA member legislators. Having been in the Capitol multiple times every week during this session, I cannot emphasize enough the value of these member legislators to GTLA. All of us owe them our thanks. All of us have an absolute obligation to associate them into our cases whenever it would be appropriate. These member legislators give up time from their practice year-round. They provide our leadership information about politics throughout the year and are advocates for our issues with other legislators.
On Thursday, April 30, we held the last Executive Committee meeting of my Presidency and on Friday, May 1, Lyle Warshauer became the 2020-2021 GTLA President. GTLA has changed a lot over the last year. I’m proud of the work we have done and am confident we are in a strong position to keep fighting the legislative fights we know are coming. Our organization is also in a strong position financially. The current GTLA Officers are all talented and their commitment to our caucus is unwavering. I look forward to becoming a Past President and not traveling to Atlanta as much. But I remain committed to our mission and thank you all for the tremendous opportunity you have given me as GTLA President.
All the best,
I remain committed to our mission and thank you all for the
tremendous opportunity you have given me as GTLA President.
A special thank you to all of you who came to the Capitol this session, who called and
emailed their Legislators, and dug deep into your pockets to give to our friends in the General Assembly.