In Manzanares v. City of Brookhaven, the Court of Appeals of Georgia ruled in favor the City of Brookhaven in an automobile accident case that involved a defective pre-suit ante-litem notice. In an unanimous three judge opinion, the Court held that the plaintiff failed to comply with the notice requirement of O.C.G.A. sec. 36-33-5, which requires that the claimant provide the municipality an offer to settle for a specific amount within six month of the incident in question. The letter sent to the City stated that the “value of this claim may exceed $250,000.” The Court held that this statement could mean any amount above $250,000, and thus did not constitute a specific offer to settle. The Court also ruled that the plaintiff, when confronted with this defense, cannot dismiss the lawsuit and then send another notice in an effort to cure the deficiency. Mel Mobley of Lokey, Mobley and Doyle represented the City of Brookhaven in this case.
On September 24, 2019, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Lokey, Mobley and Doyle’s client the City of Waco in a case involving a deficient ante litem notice, Pickens v. City of Waco. Mel Mobley handled the case and the appeal. Before a party may bring suit against a municipality, the party must give the city advance notice, an ante litem notice, stating a specific monetary claim pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 (e). The notice at issue stated that the “value of the claim may exceed $300,000.00.” The purpose of the ante notice requirement is to give the city the opportunity to investigate potential claims and avoid unnecessary litigation. The Court of Appeals held that the notice did not state a specific demand, and so it failed to meet the ante litem notice requirements. The Court of Appeals followed a 2018 case that Mel Mobley handled, Harrell v. City of Griffin, where the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the City of Griffin finding that an ante litem notice was deficient since it did not state a specific dollar amount of the claim.
On September 9, 2017, Judge Cohen of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Georgia entered an order granting summary judgment in favor of Foster & Associates, a Georgia independent insurance agency. Nautilus Insurance Company, et. al. v. Remoan Littlejohn, et. al., United States District Court, N.D. Ga., Civil Action File No. 1:15-CV-00897-MHC. Foster & Associates was represented by Kevin Doyle of Lokey, Mobley and Doyle. The plaintiff argued that Foster & Associates was negligent in the procurement of a commercial liability insurance policy with an assault and battery exclusion. However, the Court held that the insured business had the duty to read the exclusion that was contained in the insured’s policy. The insured also signed off on the exclusion on several disclosure statements. This failure to read and object to the policy exclusion barred plaintiff’s negligence claims. Although the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal, this appeal was recently dismissed.
On October 5, 2017, a Fulton County jury awarded a defense verdict in favor of the City of Sandy Springs after about an hour and a half of deliberations in the case of Prim v. E.M.S. Ventures, Inc. and the City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, State Court of Fulton County, Civil Action File No. 11EV014016H. During the four day trial, the plaintiff argued that emergency medical technicians and paramedics of Sandy Springs Fire Rescue negligently burned a 21 month old child who was suffering from a prolonged seizure. The plaintiff argued for a verdict of over $900,000 in damages in closing argument. After hearing from Sandy Springs’ witnesses and experts, and Kevin Doyle’s closing argument, the jury concluded that the first responders of Sandy Springs properly treated plaintiff’s child under the circumstances, awarding Sandy Springs a defense verdict. Lokey, Mobley and Doyle thanks the excellent members of Sandy Springs Fire Rescue for their support during this trial and for their continued service for the citizens of the City of Sandy Springs.
The United States Department of Justice announced today that Macon, Georgia based health provider, The Medical Center of Central Georgia, Inc. d/b/a The Medical Center, Navicent Health (“Navicent”) has agreed to pay $2,549,742 to settle allegations concerning the billing of ambulance services. The settlement arises from a complaint filed pursuant to the False Claims Act and Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act by whistleblower Andre Valentine in the United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, United States and The State of Georgia ex rel. Andre Valentine v. Navicent Health, Inc., Civil Action No.: 5:15-CV-152 (M.D.Ga.). Andre Valentine is represented by Kevin Doyle of Lokey, Mobley and Doyle, LLP.
In this case, the United States and the State of Georgia contended that Navicent upcoded non-emergency hospital-to-hospital ambulance transports as emergency transports in claims submitted to Medicare and Medicaid; upcoded non-emergency ambulance transports from the hospital to patients’ residences, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, hospital-based diagnostic clinic, or dialysis clinics as emergency transports; and, submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary ambulance transports of patients from the hospital to patients’ residences, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, hospital-based diagnostic clinic, or dialysis clinics.
Andre Valentine and Lokey, Mobley and Doyle express their appreciation and gratitude to Assistant United States Attorney Todd P. Swanson and the attorneys and investigators of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, to Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth White and the attorneys and investigators for the Georgia Attorney General, Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and to the investigators of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for their hard work, which culminated in this excellent result.