* GCBA Luncheon February 23 * Law Day 2018 Details *
* Mock Trial & Volunteer Opportunities * Updates on the new tax law * & More *
* GCBA CLE: Getting Paid * Drug Court on Intervention * Section Updates *
February 2018 News and Updates

S. Carlton Rouse
GCBA President 2017-18
President's Corner : ME 2 WE; GCBA celebrates Black History Month with Mike "Stinger" Glenn

As we settle into 2018, the Bar Association has and will continue efforts to offer interesting opportunities for community involvement and personal enrichment (both professionally and otherwise). For example, many of our members volunteered in the local mock trial competition and the Bar will offer a comprehensive CLE this March similar to that offered last year.  The CLE will take the place of our March monthly meeting. The CLE agenda is outlined in more detail below, however,  more information concerning registration/etc. will follow.

As we commemorate Black History month at our regular monthly meeting at the 1818 Club on Friday, February 23, 2018, our guest speaker will be current Fox NBA analyst Mike "Stinger" Glenn.  Mr. Glenn, a historian and avid collector of African Culture and historical treasures, will share with us details of 125 rare source documents from Frederick Douglass and his contemporaries.  The historical relics will be on display at GJAC starting on February 12-28, 2018 (a special actor portrayal of Frederick Douglass will take place on February 20 th at 7pm at GJAC with a reception to follow).  Some of the featured records include, the January 2, 1863 newspaper that announced the emancipation proclamation, Lincoln's first and second inaugural addresses, the Gettysburg Address, the Frederick Douglass newspaper, Barbarism of Slavery speech by Charles Sumner, newspaper and artist prints of the 54 th Regiment and other historical treasures.

We hope you will join us at the February meeting and invite a colleague.  Should you wish to contact me directly, you can email me at: s.carlton@rousecolaw.com. As always, thank you for your commitment to this organization, your input and your support. 

Friday, February 23, 2018 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Come out and show some love for your local legal community and join GCBA at the February 2018 Luncheon.
The 1818 Club


In lieu of our March monthly luncheon, GCBA will be hosting a CLE on March 23, 2018, entitled Getting Paid. See the CLE agenda below. More details to follow as the date approaches.


This weekend is the District Competition, and we are very short on volunteers for evaluators for the competition. Normally, Gwinnett only hosts the Regional Competition and State Finals. Because we host the State Finals every year, we normally get a reprieve from hosting the District Competition. However, every fourth year, I believe, we host the District Competition, and this year is our year.

Many of our normal volunteers have already helped us once or are out of town for the President's Day Holiday. 

We will be very appreciative of anyone who comes out and volunteers, and in return, you will be eligible for CLE credit.

2018 Regional High School Mock Trial Competition Recap


Georgia Academic Decathlon Judges Needed for Speech and Interview Competitions

The Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD) needs around 150 Gwinnett attorneys and other volunteers to serve as judges for their annual high school academic competition the evening of Friday, February 23, 2018. Judges will  be needed for the Speech and Interview Competitions. Further information and Volunteer Forms are on the PAGE web site at www.pageinc.org/GADvolunteerinfo.

GAD  is a high school competition where teams of 9 students (3 - A, 3 - B, and 3 - C students) compete in different areas of academics. The regional winners compete at the state competition each year at Berkmar High School.

I hope we can count on your support of this great event. Please feel free to call or email me with any questions. My info is below. I look forward to meeting you in February at GAD!

Dee Rule
Volunteer Coordinator, GAD
Administrative Associate II
Kennesaw State University
Teacher Resource & Activity Corner (TRAC)
585 Kennesaw Ave NW, MD 0131
Kennesaw, GA  30144

LAW DAY 2018

LAW DAY 2018

We need YOU to get involved in Law Day this year.


Sip & Swine BBQ Festival benefitting the Gwinnett Children's Shelter- March 2 & 3, 2018
  • Serve beer and wine to festivalgoers with wristbands
  • Timeslots available- volunteer, then join in on the fun!
  • Click Here for Application
Gwinnett County Schools Educational Outreach- throughout Spring Semester 2018
  • Teach a class about the law making process! (Don't sweat it, we have a pre-planned classroom exercise for you to follow)
  • Speak at a local Career Day
  • Already volunteering at a local school? Reach out to us so that we can recognize you in our Law Day Campaign 

We need donations to help fund:
  • High school scholarships
  • Law Day Awards and Prizes for Student Participants
  • Law Day Awards and Prizes to deserving members of our legal and law enforcement community
We can't do it without your help! All sponsors will receive recognition during our Law Day Campaign.
  • Sponsors at the Amicus Level ($500) will also receive 4 free tickets to the Law Day Banquet.
  • Sponsors Advocate Level ($1,000) will be receive 8 free tickets and a reserved table for 8 at the Law Day Banquet.
Corporate Sponsors at the Amicus or Advocate Level will also receive 10 minutes at an upcoming GCBA Event to promote their product or service.
Looking for teams of 5 for a friendly Flag Football game in the park. Come out for a day of family fun and fundraising.
Public vs. Private Practice
**Also looking for referees.

What is your favorite Courtroom Movie of ALL TIME? We all have one!
 The top result will be coming to a big screen near you... stay tuned!

We are now taking nominations for the following awards:
  • Law Enforcement Officer of the Year-given to recognize an outstanding Gwinnett County Law Enforcement Officer
  • Award of Merit - given to recognize an outstanding GCBA member
  • Liberty Bell Award - established more than 40 years ago to recognize a non-lawyer who has served our community in better understanding the rule of law

Law Day Judge's Reception - Thursday, April 26, 2018, from 11:45 am to 1:00 p.m. at the GJAC Breezeway

Law Day Banquet - Friday, April 27, 2018, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Hills Country Club
                                       $40 for Members and $50 for Non-Members
       Formal Invitations & Details To Follow
Email Applications/Interest to Amina Bakari 
Amina.Bakari@gwinnettcounty.com or call 804-274-0217
Membership Queries

GCBA is works to ensure all of its member lists and referral lists are kept as up to date as possible.

Please feel free to contact Jon Setzer for any membership queries or to update your contact information.

Please contact Danielle Britt Mays for any questions regarding the attorney referral lists.

All of the most up-to-date contact information for the Gwinnett Courts in one place! Thank you to Gwinnett AOC & Margaret Washburn for providing this list. 

EPPS UPDATE: March 13 Guest Speaker Tedra L. Cannella; Save the Date; Volunteer

The Gwinnett Estate Planning and Probate Section (EPPS) is pleased to host attorney Tedra L. Cannella for our March meeting.  Tedra is a partner with the law firm of Butler Wooten & Peak.  Tedra has expertise in breach of fiduciary duty, business tort, and trucking cases, but her favorite thing to do is to represent clients in cases involving catastrophic injuries caused by defective products.  She has litigated these cases in federal and state courts and traveled the country doing so. Tedra regularly speaks and writes on issues involving product liability law, trial strategy, and rules of evidence. 
Tedra serves on the Board of Georgia Watch and the Amicus Committee for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. She was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  She received her undergraduate degree from Emory College, a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law.  After graduating law school, Tedra clerked for the Honorable Hugh Lawson in the Middle District of Georgia before joining Butler Wooten & Peak.  She lives in Atlanta with her six-year old daughter.
The March meeting will be held Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 12:00 noon at The 1818 Club at 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097.  The cost of lunch will be covered by Civil Action Group

Please email Melody Glouton  if you plan to attend.
Note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings (please feel free to forward the message or bring a friend!).  If you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please email Melody Glouton or Lauren Bryant.
May 8, 2018
July 10, 2018
September 11, 2018
November 13, 2018

Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic (Monthly)

Who should volunteer: Attorneys with probate and/or guardianship experience (need not be an expert, but some experience is required to assist attendees)
What: Provide guidance to pro se petitioners with their filings in probate court
Where: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center
When: Third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm - 4:30pm 
Why: To help our citizens and the Probate Court in processing petitions more efficiently and effectively
How: Please contact  Elizabeth Strupe with questions or to sign up for the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic 

Thank You January Volunteers!
Pro Bono Representation

Wallace M. Berry Jr.
Melanie D. Fenwick Thompson
Dorothy "Dodie" Sachs
Joseph A. Zdrilich
Probate Clinic

Michael T. Smith
Consumer Law Clinic

Michael A. Arndt
Chung Hun Lee
Past Presidents Interview:
Tuwanda Williams

This article is the third in a series of interviews with past presidents of the Gwinnett County Bar Association.  I sent out the same questions to all the GCBA Past Presidents to gain some insight not only into the history of the GCBA but also into the motivation of the Past Presidents themselves.  If you would like to participate, please let me know.  I would be happy to send you the interview questions again.
Tuwanda Rush Williams is a Senior Assistant County Attorney in the Gwinnett County Law Department.  She focuses her practice in government law, Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation, Constitutional Law and Litigation, Contract/Procurement Law and Litigation, and Automobile Liability (Personal Injury and Property Damage) Litigation.  She was a member of the 2015 class of Leadership Gwinnett.  She received the Trailblazer Award in 2011 from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys for her recognition for being one of the longest practicing black women attorneys in Gwinnett County.  She received the Spotlight Award in 2009 from the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers for co-establishing the Gwinnett Chapter of GAWL in 2009.  Tuwanda was the president of the Gwinnett County Bar Association from July 2012 until June 2013. 
What sparked your interest in the law?  My participation on my high school's mock trial team.  It was a lot of fun.
What was your first job out of law school?  I performed clerical work for various temporary agencies while studying for the Bar and waiting for pass results. 
When did you first get involved with the GCBA?  Spring 2004.
Who were the first people you interacted with in the GCBA that made an impact?  Judge Pam South and Past President Sherriann Hicks.
When were you President of the Bar Association?  July 2012 to June 2013.
Who was on your Board?  President-Elect: Chuck Ross; Vice President: Joe Zdrillich; Treasurer: Mary Trammell; Secretary: Joshua Huckaby; Law Day Chair: Carlton Rouse; Membership Services Chair: Dodie Sachs; LEAD Chair: Julie Potts; Family Section Chair: Jammie Taire; Probate Section Chair: Hillary Cranford; Criminal Section Chair: Drew Mosley
What was your mission or project when you were President?  To increase the visibility of the GCBA through collaborations with other local bar associations.  Our association joined the Multibar Leadership Council ("MBLC") and participated in their annual cook-off in Grant Park.  We also joined with other Bar associations throughout Metro Atlanta to co-sponsor a judicial reception for judges serving in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit and the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  Today, the GCBA continues to be a member of the MBLC. It was also my mission to recruit and retain Bar members by appointing a Membership Services Chair to revitalize the Membership Services Committee.
How have things changed with the bar association since you were President?  I believe that bar membership and Law Day sponsorships have both decreased, although I don't have an understanding as to why they have declined.
How has the experience of being GCBA President helped your career?  It has enabled me to get to know some of the judges outside of the courtroom, which is a great benefit as a civil litigator because I often appear before them in written motions and briefs instead of face-to-face in trials.  Also, planning various Bar events has afforded me opportunities to enhance my professionalism and teamwork skills to accomplish a project, such as when I collaborated with Judge Rodatus and Matt Reeves to plan the "Hail to the Chiefs" retirement celebrations of Superior Court Judge Jackson, State Court Judge Mock, and Probate Court Judge Clark. 
In your opinion, what are the benefits of being a GCBA member? Networking opportunities, establishing new friendships through social activities (theater productions, happy hours, holiday parties, Gwinnett Braves outings, etc.), law practice tips, CLE hours for Bar sponsored courses, and potential client referrals for those members in private practice.
In your opinion, how can seasoned lawyers have a greater impact or connection with younger lawyers in Gwinnett? Seasoned GCBA members can be an informal resource for younger lawyers by sharing best practices for effective counsel and offering tips to lawyers who share their practice areas. The GCBA can also establish a mentor-mentee program, pairing seasoned lawyers with new lawyers according to practice area.
What ways do you think your experience can assist the development of the bar association moving forward?   As an African-American woman attorney and the first African-American officer of the GCBA in its 55+ year history, I know that I bring a different perspective to Bar membership that I often share with other racial minority attorneys, both seasoned and new.  I think that my experience as a "first" can serve as encouragement for them to join and become active in the Bar.
If you had a word of advice for a new attorney, what would it be? Seek a couple of well-respected, seasoned attorneys who are willing and able to mentor you or, at a minimum, be a resource for your practice questions. Also, don't try to be the "jack of all trades."  Instead, focus on developing your skills in only a few practice areas.  Lastly, enjoy the legal journey!
featuring keynote speaker Warren Savage

Please join the Gwinnett County Accountability Courts as we graduate participants from the Gwinnett County Drug Court Program on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 6 p.m. in the GJAC Auditorium.

Our keynote speaker will be former WSB-TV/Channel 2 News Anchor Warren Savage, who publicly struggled with addiction and is currently in recovery. Click the video below to learn more about Warren Savage's story.

Warren Savage Interview- Part One
Warren Savage Interview-
Part One


Gwinnett Drug Court on Intervention
Gwinnett Drug Court on Intervention
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on A&E



Office Space For Rent
132-A Hurricane Shoals Road NE
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046

Contact person: Raluca Hanea - 678.615.8529
13 May Margaret Washburn
S17A1682; 808 S.E.2d 669; 
December 11, 2017

By:  Margaret Gettle Washburn, Cont. Ed.

  In this recent
In this recent case, the Superior Court of Houston County denied the former Wife's (hereinafter referred to as Wife) motion to hold the former Husband (hereinafter referred to as Husband) in contempt of their 1995 divorce decree.  The Wife filed her application for discretionary appeal with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, Justice Harold Melton, granted Wife's application, finding that, as "a matter of current law, the Court of Appeals, rather than this Court, has subject matter jurisdiction over "[a]ll divorce and alimony cases" in which a notice of appeal or application to appeal is filed on or after January 1, 2017. Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act of 2016, Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, §§ 3-1 (codified at OCGA § 15-3-3.1 (a) (5) ), 6-1 (c); Merrill v. Lee, 301 Ga. 34, 36 (1) n.1, 799 S.E.2d 169 (2017) . Because Wife filed her application to appeal before January 1, 2017, we have jurisdiction over this case.
Having accepted the appeal, the Supreme Court, then looked to issue as to whether or not the trial court erred in finding in favor of the Husband, and concluding that he was not in contempt for failing to make any of the monthly payments of 50% of his military retirement that he was required to make under the terms of the parties' final divorce decree, because the trial court found that the judgment had become dormant.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
Most everyone is aware of the new tax bill and the impact it has on individual and C corporation tax rates as well as brackets.  We know the standard deduction is greatly expanded and the deduction for property taxes and state income taxes will be limited to $10,000 and in 2019 the individual mandate for health insurance is repealed.  Much analysis has been done on this bill, but as the IRS begins to interpret and implement it, more details will begin to come out.   I want to cover just a few of the lesser known items contained in the Act:

1.        After reducing the C Corporation rate from 35% to 21%, Congress needed to reduce the tax on pass-through entities at the non-corporate level.  For years beginning after 2017, owners of S corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships or other specified structures, take a 20% deduction for "Qualified Business Income" on their returns.  When I explained this to a business owner client recently, her response was, "You mean I don't have to buy anything to get this deduction?"  The drag for many of us is that owners of "Specified Service Trade or Business" SSTB get the full deduction only if taxable income levels do not exceed $315,000.  This is for married filing jointly or $157,500 for other filing status.  Of course, businesses in the activity of law or accounting are listed specifically as SSTB.  It is interesting that architects and engineers were not listed.  Congress is apparently encouraging building and production, and because these service businesses are part of the construction industry, they got a pass.  It says to me that Congress does not think lawyers or accountants produce anything.

2.        For years beginning after 2017, there is accounting method reform and simplification. Businesses with average gross receipts of $25M or less should be able to use the cash method of accounting.  Also, the rules of Section 471 for inventory does not apply to these businesses.  Hopefully the IRS will allow this as an automatic accounting change.  Again, the details of these transitions including any businesses that may not be eligible will come forth from the IRS in the next few months.  This could be a big deal for many small businesses in the form of an accounting change transition deduction.  It could help cash flow because many companies will not be required to pay income tax as their earnings create receivables and inventories.  I think the message of this bill for business owners is to grow business, create jobs, and you will not be hit quite as hard by income taxes. 

3.        The act eliminates the deduction for alimony and separate maintenance payments.  These payments would not be includable in the income of the recipient.  The effective date of this provision is for 1) any divorce or separation agreement executed after 2018 and 2) for any agreement executed before 2019 and modified after 2018 if the modification expressly provides the amendments are made by the act.   The timing of implementation for alimony payments may bring forth some planning opportunities during the coming year.  There is likely going to be a push to get divorces executed before the end of 2018.

4.        Deductions will no longer be allowed for entertainment, amusement or recreation after 2017.  The 50% deduction is retained for meals consumed by employees during away from home travel. The point seems to be, to make sure your employees are not entertained while dining.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has many more provisions that will be coming to light in the next few months and even years.  I anticipate significant guidance from the IRS as the provisions of the act are implemented.  Provisions go back and forth between benefitting taxpayers and eliminating deductions, but the prevailing message I take away is for business to grow and create jobs.
Recent Updates in the VA Disability Appeals Process

Representing veterans in appealing denials of their compensation benefits for service-connected disabilities is one of the most rewarding areas in which a lawyer can serve.  It can also be one of the more frustrating practice areas at times, in significant part due to the inherent delays in the appeals process and the hardships these delays place on our veterans.
Many of my VA disability clients have recently received correspondence from the Department of Veterans Affairs on their VA's "Decision Ready Claims" or "DRC" process.  I've reviewed recent guidance on the DRC program and am still not clearly convinced as to whether this program would be of benefit to most veterans in either their existing claims and/or appeals, or with any potential new claims.  Based on what I've reviewed thus far, however, it appears that this program is aimed at providing expedited decisions on initial applications or on newly filed requests for either increasing ratings on existing conditions or otherwise pursuing reopened claims that have previously been denied.
I have received some questions from clients as to whether they can use the DRC program to obtain a decision in an existing claim or appeal within 30 days, or in the alternative, whether they have to opt into this program within 30 days to be eligible.  Based on the language used therein, the letters that my clients have received to date from the VA can result in confusion on this issue.  I don't see that there is any 30 day suspense to file a claim under the DRC, however, but only that the DRC process claims to be able to provide a decision on a new application within 30 days if the new application meets all other requirements. 
The DRC program appears to be similar to the VA's current "Fully Developed Claim" (FDC) process, where VA will issue an expedited initial decision if they have all medical records and other evidence needed and so long as no additional evidence is submitted thereafter.  One of the key differences that I see between the DRC and FDC processes are that the DRC process may be slightly faster (30 days or less versus what the VA reports as the anticipated 109 days for initial decisions on FDC claims and 120 days for regularly processed claims).  The key difference otherwise is that a FDC claim can be filed directly by the Veteran online whereas a DRC application must be filed through a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) like the American Legion and other similar organizations.
From what I can tell at this point, however, is that the DRC process does not apply to existing claims that have been decided and that are already moving forward on appeal on the same conditions, or if another disability claim is already pending.  Also, even if a veteran files a new claim for new conditions or for an increase in an existing condition under the DRC process, the VA will transfer that claim over to either the FDC or regular claims processes if they determine any further information is needed to decide the claim.  Therefore, while the DRC process cannot be used on existing claims or appeals, it may be useful for filing new claims for new conditions, or filing new claims for ratings increases that are not already on appeal.
Representing veterans can be one of the most rewarding and challenging areas of law practice.  It is also an underserved area of practice that is in need of attorneys to represent veterans at all levels from their initial appeals before the VA in hearings at the Regional Office ("Agency of Original Jurisdiction" level, on further appeal before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), and as high as the federal court level before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).  For more information on how to become accredited by the VA to represent veterans in their appeals, please review the VA's OGC website at the following link:  https://www.va.gov/ogc/accreditation.asp .

In 2010, § 9-11-4.1 of the Official Code of Georgia was passed and later modified to define a "certified" process server.  The intent was to allow trained, tested, bonded, and sworn "private" process servers the ability to operate throughout Georgia without having to be appointed on a case by case basis.  A certified process server would be a private process server with an I.D. card issued by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.

Aside from certified process servers, many Georgia counties have an appointed process servers list which identifies private process servers authorized by an Order signed by a Judge and filed with the county Clerk.  These lists are approved and filed on an annual basis, unlike a certified process server who would renew his or her certification every three years, and keep the Court in control of who serves.

Pursuant to § 9-11-4.1(b)(2), a sheriff has the authority to approve an applicant to act as a (certified) process server in Georgia.  While the Georgia Sheriffs' Association recognizes certified process servers as persons who have completed the required training, passed a test, have obtained a bond, and have been sworn, local sheriffs have united to not authorize persons to act as per § 9-11-4.1(b)(2), a criteria for a "certified" process server.

Being said, the defining code section has not gone wasted.  Some counties have adopted some of the criteria necessary for becoming a certified process server for approval to be on their appointed process servers Order.
Profiles Investigations
e-mail) cb@profilesinvestigations.com
office) 404.365.6995
2017 Child Support Guidelines Training and CLE

The Georgia Commission on Child Support is offering training sessions to judges, judicial staff, attorneys and legal staff, and Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) agents and attorneys at various locations throughout the state.  The training events are offered between November 2017 and May 2018.  Generally, three topics are covered at these events: the Online Child Support Calculator, the Child Support Guidelines, and the Income Deduction process.  The training has been approved for three CLE hours for attorneys.  

The guidelines training will focus on legislative changes to the statute (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15) that took effect on July 1, 2017.  The calculator training is offered on the Online Child Support Calculator only.  The Income Deduction Order (IDO) training will focus on the process in private cases.  There is no cost to attend the training.  Attorneys will be responsible for payment of their own CLE credits directly to the Georgia Bar Association.  You must register to attend and ensure available seating.
Click here to register and select the date and location that works for your schedule.

Elaine Johnson, Executive Program Manager, Child Support Commission
Communications, Children, Families and the Courts Division
Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts
404-463-6383 (office)
404-210-5896 (work cell)
Articles and Updates Welcome!

If you would like to contribute to the GCBA Monthly Newsletter,   e-mail submissions by the 5th of each month to Editor  Danielle Britt Mays.

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