The following is a summary of an article entitled “The Unforgettable Death of My Forgotten Patient”, published in the Wall Street Journal in August 2015.

wsj scan

In this article published in the Wall Street Journal in August 2015, a Milwaukee physician shares his story about a patient and the circumstances surrounding her medical treatment- circumstances that could have easily been prevented with a healthcare directive.

Ms. M arrived at the hospital with a large mass in her abdomen, causing her severe pain. In order to determine Ms. M’s options, doctors needed to be able to perform a biopsy on the mass. However, Ms. M had been deemed “non-decisional”-meaning she was no longer capable of making medical treatment decisions on her own behalf.

Without any known relatives or friends to provide consent, doctors were unable to perform any medical procedure considered “invasive”. In these cases, the next possible option is to obtain legal guardianship of the patient, which is typically a complicated process that can take months. And in most cases, once the patient is considered “non-decisional”, they don’t have months left to wait to obtain a guardian.

In the case of Ms. M, her situation might have been different if she had someone advocating in her best interest. Without an advance directive regarding the medical wishes of a patient, the doctors’ hands are tied when it comes to performing invasive procedures that could potentially save their patient’s life. Declaring a medical power of attorney can help prevent such an event from occurring. At Flint, Connolly and Walker, we can assist you with estate planning so that you are prepared for the future.

Douglas H. Flint is senior partner in the law firm of Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP in Canton, Georgia, where he represents and assists both businesses and individuals with their legal matters.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Flint, Connolly & Walker! With the new year comes new resolutions, and this year isn’t any different. If you don’t already have a will, now is the perfect time to get your affairs in order. Contact us at FCW today to schedule an appointment to have your Last Will and Testament prepared, or for any other legal needs you may have.

Great News for FCW Client!

Last month the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in favor of FCW’s client, a Canton family who faced the condemnation of their property by the City and County governments to force the creation of a conservation area.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that FCW’s client was entitled to damages PLUS attorney fees.

On April 12, 2012 the government filed a motion to dismiss the petition for condemnation after deciding that the condemnation of the property “was no longer necessary for public use”, and asked the trial court to reimburse the funds it had previously deposited to pay FCW’s client for the taking of its property. Our client filed a motion in opposition to the government’s motion, arguing that they were entitled to additional compensation for the temporary taking of their property.  FCW also sought attorney fees and costs of litigation.

As stated in the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, private property “shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The Supreme Court has determined many times that temporary takings such as what happened to FCW’s client are also deserving of compensation, so although the government tried to dismiss its condemnation of the property of our client, our client is still entitled to compensation for the time that the property was taken by the government.  As noted in the opinion, “private property rights are among ‘the most basic of human rights,’  and… [t]hus, governmental action that works a taking of property ‘necessarily implicates the constitutional obligation to pay just compensation,’” even when the taking is temporary.

The City and County had argued that our client did not require any compensation beyond attorney fees and costs of litigation based on the 2006 Landowner’s Bill of Rights and Private Property Act and Georgia Code § 22-1-12.  The Court of Appeals, however, sided with FCW’s argument, finding that OCGA § 22-1-12 “was enacted as part of the 2006 ‘Landowner’s Bill of Rights and Private Property Protection Act,’ which expanded property owners’ protections against condemnation rather than limiting those safeguards.”  Therefore, the Court ruled that OCGA § 22-1-12 functions to “allocate the costs imposed on the condemnor to the condemnees if the condemnor abandons a condemnation action at any point,” and “unlike most plaintiffs, ‘condemnors that abandon their actions must . . . pay the property owner’s reasonable costs and expenses actually incurred because of the condemnation proceedings, including attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees.’”

The decision is Court of Appeals Case No. A15A1280; decided: November 13, 2015.

The Court of Appeals decision was a complete victory for FCW and our client – the Court ruled that our client was entitled to both attorney fees/costs of litigation and compensation for the temporary taking of their property.

Douglas H. Flint is senior partner in the law firm of Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP in Canton, Georgia, where he represents and assists both businesses and individuals with their legal matters.

2015 HOLIDAY HOURS

Holiday Hours:
Our offices will be closing early Thursday, December 24th and will be closed all day Friday, December 25th for Christmas.

We will close early again on Thursday, December 31st and will be closed all day Friday, January 1st for New Year’s.

Happy Holidays!

Article by Andrew Smith

Article by Andrew Smith

From the December 6, 2015 edition of the Cherokee Tribune.

Buyers in the market to purchase a home in the near future should know that the traditional real estate closing process has recently been revolutionized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). While these changes may not be apparent to first-time homebuyers, individuals who have purchased homes in the past should not expect to have similar experiences in the future. There is a myriad of new rules and regulations that will affect buyers, sellers, closing attorneys, agents, and lenders going forward, and the Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP team thought it prudent to inform prospective buyers on what to expect as the closing day approaches.

Any residential loan applied for and originated on or after October 3, 2015 is subject to the new rules and forms set forth by the CFPB. These rules replace the Good Faith Estimate (“GFE”) and early Truth-In-Lending Act (“TILA”) Disclosure with the new Loan Estimate form.

The familiar HUD-1 Settlement Statement and final TILA form will also be replaced by the new Closing Disclosure form. By consolidating these various forms into just two instruments, the CFPB’s alleged goal is to ensure that borrowers who are purchasing homes truly understand the financing involved with purchasing a home. While the CFPB claims that these documents shall simplify and consolidate the required loan disclosures, the contents therein for your mortgage may still seem overwhelming. Do not hesitate to contact your lender or the closing attorney if you need clarification on what the various figures represent.

Additionally, the new rules implement strict timing requirements with regard to these forms. These changes are the most likely to directly affect buyers and sellers. The CFPB determined that borrowers would be better served by having time to review the new Closing Disclosure prior to signing their loan documents.

As a result, these rules require that borrowers have three business days after receipt of the Closing Disclosure to review the form and its contents prior to signing loan documents at the closing table. However, this three-day review period only starts upon “confirmed receipt” by the borrowers. In theory, long gone will be the days where you anxiously wait in a closing attorney’s lobby without loan approval, wondering if the transaction will be approved by the bank and if the closing will proceed.

With these new rules, you will know at least three days ahead of time whether or not the closing will occur on the date stipulated on the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Do note that varying lenders will have different requirements as to who produces and delivers the CDF (some require the closing attorney to do so, while others will generate the same themselves) and what form of “confirmed receipt” is acceptable. Be sure to exercise care and inquire with your lender as to what to expect and from whom.

So what should you, the buyer, expect leading up to closing day? Be sure you are afforded ample time in the Purchase and Sale Agreement to close the purchase of the home you are buying. Real estate professionals seem to agree that approximately 45 days from execution of the Purchase and Sale Agreement to the date of closing may be best.

Keep in mind however, that the time frame appropriate for one closing may vary with another. Additionally, it would seem advisable to not schedule back-to-back closings if you are both selling your existing home and purchasing a new home. Your lender may assist in contemplating the time necessary for everything to be prepared appropriately. Also, do not forget that you must confirm receipt of the Closing Disclosure form at least three days prior to the closing date. Failing to do so will delay your closing.

Finally, make sure that your agent and closing attorney are conversant with these rules and adequately equipped to guide you through these ever-changing times. As with any new federal government program, you should certainly anticipate an adjustment process where administrative errors and other issues may need to be addressed. These rules are new to everyone – attorneys, agents, and banks alike – so careful planning is key! Having your own understanding of these rules and what to expect will only aid you in getting across the “closing line” to your new home.

Andrew T. Smith is an associate attorney at Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP, where he assists clients with transactional issues with regard to commercial/residential real estate and business law. Andrew is a graduate of Mercer University School of Law and has spoken on various topics regarding real estate law at continuing education seminars sponsored by the Georgia Board of Realtors.  

A quick reference guide for real estate professionals

By now, most professionals in the real estate industry know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has implemented sweeping changes to the real estate industry. But for many realtors the question still remains, “How will it impact me?” With these changes upon us, the Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP team wants to work with you to make sure everyone is aware of the changes.

Any residential loan originated on or after October 3, 2015 is subject to the new rules and forms set forth by the CFPB. These rules replace the Good Faith Estimate (“GFE”) and early Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA) Disclosure with the new Loan Estimate form. The familiar HUD-1 Settlement Statement and final TILA form will also be replaced by the new Closing Disclosure form. By consolidating these various forms into just two instruments, the CFPB’s alleged goal is to ensure that borrowers who are purchasing homes truly understand the financing involved with purchasing a home.

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