Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thoughts on Equal Access to Justice

Friday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court finding a fundamental right to marriage between same-sex couples once again illustrates the importance of access to the courts for individuals, as well as for the very success of the American experiment in democracy.

This seemingly anti-democratic decision by nine unelected life-tenured lawyers to invalidate multiple validly-enacted state laws and state constitutional provisions is a prime example of what many decry as “legislating from the bench.” The language of Justice Kennedy’s decision is instructive as to why the Constitution requires no less:

Many who deem samesex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, [. . . ] But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. [. . . ]

‘[t]he freedom secured by the Constitution consists, in one of its essential dimensions, of the right of the individual not to be injured by the unlawful exercise of governmental power.’ [. . . ], Thus, when the rights of persons are violated, “the Constitution requires redress by the courts,” notwithstanding the more general value of democratic decision making. [. . . ]

The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right. [. . . ] An individual can invoke a right to constitutional protection when he or she is harmed, even if the broader public disagrees and even if the legislature refuses to act. The idea of the Constitution ‘was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.’ [. . . ]

This is why ‘fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.’

Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 US _____ (2015).

This decision illustrates again why access to the courts is so fundamental to individual liberty as well as to the success of our tripartite system of government.

Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of legal proceedings too often bar access to the courts.

That is why I am dedicated to providing reasonably-priced legal services and to assisting individuals and businesses in gaining access to courts and administrative agencies, whether it be to assert their fundamental civil rights, to redress wrongs, or to establish and enforce private contractual and legal obligations.

Georgia Tenants have Little Protection in Foreclosure

As of January 1, 2015 residential tenants in Georgia have little protection when their landlord defaults on the mortgage. The federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), which offered important protections to tenants in residential property subject to foreclosure, expired at the end of 2014.

The PTFA was enacted by Congress in 2009 as a response to the financial and mortgage crisis. With the expiration of this federal law, the rules governing eviction (known as a ” dispossessory” action in Georgia courts), revert to those provided under Georgia State law.

The dispossessory process in Georgia is an expedited procedure. Once served with a summons, the tenant has only seven days to respond. If the tenant misses the deadline for filing an answer, the landlord can get a Writ of Possession and have the sheriff evict the tenant within only three more days.

According to Georgia law, after a foreclosure sale, the new owner is not bound by the prior landlord’s lease and can immediately send a demand for possession to the tenant. Such a tenant is essentially treated as a trespasser. The new owner can institute dispossessory proceedings immediately after making the demand.

If you have reason to believe your landlord is in  default, or if you’ve been served with a summons, you should contact a qualified Georgia landlord-tenant attorney immediately. Unfortunately, it can be  difficult for a tenant to know the state of the landlord’s finances.

So what can be done for such tenants? While Georgia law does provide an expedited process, landlords must assure that they follow the rules to the letter. A tenant can challenge a dispossessory action if the landlord did not make a proper demand for possession. Prudent landlords will always send the demand by certified letter with return receipt requested.

Landlords must also be careful not to take any action that would constitute an illegal eviction. Changing the locks, cutting off utilities or otherwise attempting to evict the tenant by “self-help” can expose a landlord to punitive damages for trespass, illegal eviction, or conversion.

While residential landlords are forbidden from engaging in such self-help tactics, there is no such rule in the commercial landlord-tenant context, as long as there is a lease provision allowing the landlord to bypass the judicial process. Even so, a commercial landlord must be careful in resorting to self-help if there is any danger of a breach of the peace. Such confrontations could result in other claims, such as for assault or battery.

For assistance with your residential or commercial landlord-tenant matters, contact LaRose Law Georgia today.

New Deferred Action Immigration Initiatives

LaRose Law Georgia will be handling applications under President Obama’s new deferred action immigration initiatives, including the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as the new Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA).

Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

You may now be eligible for DACA if:

  • You were born before June 15, 1981,
  • You entered the US under the age of 16, and have been continually present here since January 1, 2010,
  • You were present in the US and had no legal immigration status on November 20, 2014,
  • You are currently in school or have graduated from high school or obtained a GED,
  • You have no disqualifying criminal convictions and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Deferred Action for Parents

You may be eligible for protection from deportation and a work permit if:

  • You are an undocumented immigrant.
  • You have been living in the in the US since January 1, 2010.
  • You are the parent of a US citizen or green card holder.

If you meet these requirements, contact LaRose Law Georgia today  so an experienced immigration attorney can check your eligibility and get started!

Other changes

The Executive Order also included business immigration policy changes, including relief for employees caught in a lengthy green card process, special US entry opportunities for certain investors, entrepreneurs, and inventors, and the extension of work permits for students with technical degrees.

For more detailed information, check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

It will be 3 to 6 months before these new policies are implemented and the registration process opens, but you can start preparing today. Potential applicants should begin gathering documents that establish their identity (i.e. birth certificates and passports), their relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and their continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.

Contact LaRose Law Georgia to set up a consultation and meet directly with an experienced attorney who can answer your questions, confirm that you qualify, gather your information and begin preparing for your application.  Call 678-362-1766 today or contact us online to schedule your appointment.

Beware of Scams!
Sadly, many immigrants will be misled by “notarios” or other unqualified consultants. Make sure you speak to a qualified immigration attorney. LaRose Law Georgia is a licensed Georgia  attorney specializing in immigration law, and is ready to help you with all your immigration matters. Call 678-362-1766 or click here to schedule your appointment.

Oral Argument at the Georgia Court of Appeals

On October 6, 2014, J.S. LaRose conducted oral argument in Perez v. State, an appeal of a felony conviction for burglary.  This  special session of the Georgia Court of Appeals took place at the Mercer University College of Law in Macon, Georgia.

J.S. LaRose has drafted and filed appellate briefs to the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Board of Immigration Appeals. If you are considering an appeal, whether in a criminal or a civil case, you need to act quickly.  In Georgia most appeals must be filed within thirty days of the final judgment. In some cases, the time can be even shorter. In dispossessory (eviction) cases, an appeal usually has to be filed within seven days.

Call today to speak to a lawyer about your case.

Justice for a Wronged Tenant

On July 17, 2014 J.S. LaRose won a punitive damages award and judgment of $7,404.67 in Fulton County on behalf of a client who had been facing eviction and potential liability for unpaid rent.

The problem for the landlord was that he had taken the law into his own hands by changing the locks on the tenant before obtaining a Writ of Possession from the court. Although this might be permissible under a commercial lease, Georgia law clearly prohibits such self-help measures in residential rental properties.

In the context of commercial properties, the language in the lease agreement will determine the rights of all parties. It’s important to have an attorney on your side when entering into such agreements, or when considering any legal action. Surprisingly, many landlords and tenants are not even aware of what is contained in their lease. A good landlord-tenant lawyer can help you understand all of your legal rights and obligations.

If you are a tenant trying to deal with a difficult landlord call LaRose Law Georgia today.

If you are a landlord, or are considering leasing your property, LaRose Law Georgia can help you successfully navigate all stages of the leasing process and avoid exposing yourself or your business to needless liability.

Welcome to LaRose Law Georgia!

Welcome to LaRose Law Georgia, a boutique law firm founded in 2014 by attorney J.S. LaRose. The firm is based in the Atlanta metropolitan area, but serves clients throughout north and central Georgia, including Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Rockdale, Hall, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Douglas, Fayette and Coweta counties.

J.S. LaRose is a licensed Georgia attorney admitted to practice before the Georgia Court of Appeals, Georgia Supreme Court, United States Tax Court and Executive Office for Immigration Review.

LaRose Law Georgia concentrates its practice in  Civil Litigation, handling Family Law, Real Estate, Commercial and Business Litigation as well as Immigration, Tax and Appeals.

Whether you are already involved in a lawsuit, are considering legal action, are seeking immigration or other governmental, benefits, are being pursued by the IRS LaRose Law Georgia  will aggressively represent your best interests at all stages of legal proceedings. As a qualified Georgia attorney for business,  real estate, tax, immigration and general civil litigation, J.S. LaRose can help you understand your options, calculate the potential cost of litigation and determine the likelihood of a successful outcome.

LaRose Law Georgia can also sometimes offer limited-scope legal services such as one-time consultations, individual contract or legal document drafting and review.

From small claims to appeals, LaRose Law Georgia will fight to obtain the best results for you. Call today to speak to an attorney or submit an inquiry online to find out more.

Read Your Lease Carefully!

On March 24, 2014, J.S. LaRose successfully obtained a settlement of over $9,000.00 for a non-profit corporation. This client’s corporate landlord was making unreasonable demands on it.

Fortunately for the tenant, the landlord didn’t understand its own lease. This can happen when someone buys a rental property that is already occupied. In most situations, the new owner will step into the shoes of the seller and will be obligated under the existing lease.

The first thing to do in any lease dispute is to read the contract itself. In this case, neither the non-profit corporation that was the tenant, nor the corporate landlord pointing to the lease and demanding money properly understood what the lease said. While it did give the landlord the right to early termination, the same paragraph in the contract obligated it to compensate the tenant by a lump-sum payment in case the landlord exercised its right.

This was a rare case where the client sought legal advice at an early stage. There was no need to resort to expensive and time-consuming legal action. All that was needed was for a good landlord-tenant lawyer to read the lease and negotiate a reasonable settlement with the opposing party.

In the end, the case was resolved quickly and without much expense. The tenant found better, less expensive commercial space, avoided having to go to court and received additional funding for its charitable activities.

If you’re considering leasing property in Georgia whether as a tenant or a landlord, a qualified Georgia Real Estate Attorney can help you negotiate and draft detailed and precise contractual provisions  and thoroughly review any pre-existing lease agreements.

LaRose Law Georgia can’t guarantee the same sort of results in every case, but it is clearly better to seek legal advice early rather than wait until you’ve been served with a lawsuit. A good Georgia attorney will find ways for you to avoid having to go to court, so that you can continue to do what you do best, whether you’re a property owner, a for-profit business, or an individual.