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Jason W. Hammer

Partner

Buckhead Primary

p: 404-480-3980 f: 404-480-3980

Education

  • Georgia State University College of Law, J.D.
  • University of Georgia, B.A.

Admissions

  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • Georgia Supreme Court
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia

Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
  • Defense Research Institute
  • DeKalb Bar Association
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Lawyers Club of Atlanta
  • Bleckley Inn of Court

Recognition

Jason Hammer specializes in general liability litigation, including everything from basic car wrecks to complex wrongful death cases. As part of his practice, Mr. Hammer frequently defends coverage disputes, first and third-party bad faith claims, and actions to enforce hospital liens. Mr. Hammer litigates personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, wrongful death, false arrest and even dog bites. Mr. Hammer has secured jury verdicts in favor of his clients as lead counsel in the State and Superior Courts of Georgia, as well as the United States District Court.  In addition to his own practice, Mr. Hammer serves as the managing partner of the firm’s insurance defense practice group, which includes 15 attorneys and numerous support staff spread over 4 different offices in Georgia and South Carolina.

Mr. Hammer is an active member of the prestigious Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), an inclusive, collaborative organization that promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management, bringing together thought leaders throughout the industry.  In 2014, Mr. Hammer attended CLM’s rigorous Litigation Management Institute and received his certification as a Claims Litigation Management Professional.

In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. Hammer was named to the list of Rising Stars® in Georgia, which appears annually in Atlanta Magazine and honors the top lawyers in Georgia under the age of 40 or who have been practicing for less than 10 years. The Rising Stars list is limited to only 2.5 percent of the attorneys in Georgia and is compiled through a process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

Prior to starting his litigation practice, Mr. Hammer spent 10 years in public service as a DeKalb County police officer, major felony and homicide investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, chief investigator for the Solicitor-General’s Office, and as staff attorney to the Honorable Cynthia J. Becker. Mr. Hammer’s unique experience provides valuable insight into litigation involving criminal acts, such as negligent security, false imprisonment/arrest, malicious prosecution, DUI, dram shop, wrongful death and other quasi-criminal claims.

In recognition of Mr. Hammer’s law enforcement service and varied experience in both criminal and civil law, Mr. Hammer was appointed to the State Bar of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee in 2011 and served in that capacity until the Committee completed its work in 2014.

Summary Judgment -- Jason W. Hammer and Elizabeth K. Lowrey recently obtained summary judgment for their individual client in the State Court of Cobb County. The case arose when a teenage boy was tragically killed in a car accident involving a vehicle driven by his grandmother. Mr. Hammer and Ms. Lowrey represented the decedent’s grandmother in a lawsuit against both her, individually, and her vehicle’s manufacturer. Prior to filing suit, Plaintiffs released the decedent’s grandmother pursuant to Georgia’s limited release statute, except to the extent there was additional insurance coverage available to cover their claims against her. Plaintiffs also released their own insurance company as uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier, thereby exhausting all additional insurance coverage available to cover their claims against the decedent’s grandmother. Due to the exhaustion of all available insurance and Plaintiffs’ release of their claims against the deceased’s grandmother, Mr. Hammer and Ms. Lowrey argued Plaintiffs were precluded from recovery against their client. Plaintiffs argued the insurance policy covering the vehicle manufacturer for products liability claims constituted “additional available insurance” under the statute, allowing Plaintiffs to proceed against the decedent’s grandmother through trial and entry of a judgment. Mr. Hammer and Ms. Lowrey were able to bring the case before the Court on summary judgment, arguing Plaintiffs’ release of their client and exhaustion of all available insurance barred them from recovery against the decedent’s grandmother. The Court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment, finding the Georgia limited release statute is clear, and when Plaintiffs settled with their own uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier, all other insurance coverage evaporated.

Summary Judgment -- Jason W. Hammer and Elizabeth K. Lowrey recently obtained summary judgment for an insurer in the Superior Court of Fulton County. The case arose when the Plaintiff was allegedly injured after his vehicle was rear-ended in an automatic car wash. The insurer initiated an investigation after becoming suspicious of the circumstances of the alleged accident, including the video footage that arguably showed the Plaintiff purposefully causing the vehicle to jump the tracks of the car wash. Other suspicious circumstances included the Plaintiff’s history of claims, the fact that the vehicle was a high-end luxury sedan the Plaintiff had no apparent means to afford, and the vehicle was purchased days before the loss and sold shortly thereafter. The Insurance Commissioner subsequently initiated an investigation, which resulted in the Plaintiff being arrested for insurance fraud, but ultimately he was not prosecuted. Plaintiff filed suit against the insurer alleging claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and others. After over three years of litigation, including a voluntary dismissal and renewal action, Mr. Hammer and Mrs. Lowrey were able to bring the case before the Court on summary judgment, arguing the insurer was statutorily immune from Plaintiff’s claims based on their good faith investigation of the incident and subsequent disclosure to the Insurance Commissioner. Plaintiff argued the investigation was performed in bad faith and therefore the immunity statute did not apply. The Court granted the insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment in full, finding the insurer’s investigation was in fact made in good faith.

Plaintiffs’ Verdict – Jason Hammer and Jeff Starr represented the Plaintiffs in a business dispute that arose out of a residential painting contract. The Plaintiffs contracted with a commercial painter to provide approximately $8,000 in painting services, but the Plaintiffs contended the job was not completed in a workmanlike manner and did not meet the terms of the agreement. The Defendant denied any breach of the contract and the case was tried to a jury in Fulton County Superior Court on both liability and damages. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs for $33,000 in damages to remediate the improperly performed paint job, as well as address additional damages caused by the shoddy workmanship. In addition to the damages award, the jury awarded the Plaintiffs $53,000 in attorneys’ fees, for a total award of $86,000. The Defendant did not pursue any post-trial motions and the judgment was satisfied in full.

Defense Verdict -- Jason Hammer represented the Defendant in a case arising out of 2013 motor vehicle / pedestrian accident. The Defendant was admittedly talking on her cell phone when she struck the Plaintiff, who was working as a garbage man at the time of the accident. Plaintiff alleged Defendant was speeding and driving while distracted. The Defendant contended the Plaintiff simply darted out from behind the garbage truck and there was nothing she could do to avoid him. The case was tried in Cobb County State Court and the defense included expert testimony from an accident reconstruction expert who opined that Defendant's speed was not a factor and even if she was traveling below the speed limit, there was no way for her to avoid the accident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant and post-trial motions include Defendant's request for attorney's fees and litigation expenses of approximately $24,000 pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68.

Defense Verdict -- Erica Parsons and Jason Hammer secured a defense verdict for their client in Gwinnett County State Court after a one-week jury trial. The case arose from a 2010 incident in which the Plaintiff was exercising on a weight machine at his gym. After completing his exercises, the Plaintiff attempted to secure the 245 pound bar in place, but it fell on his neck and shoulder, taking him all the way to the ground. The Plaintiff, a 64 year-old former football and basketball coach, injured his neck, shoulder and knee, requiring a 2-level cervical fusion, multiple procedures on his shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff, and surgery on his knee to repair a torn meniscus. The Plaintiff’s medical expense totaled $134,000.00. Plaintiff filed suit against the gym, an international fitness center company, alleging the Defendant negligently failed to properly train him how to use the machine and that the machine was an inherently dangerous product and the gym failed to keep their premises safe. After four years of litigation, including extensive motions practice resulting in Plaintiff’s claims being narrowed significantly, as well as his testifying expert being excluded, the case was tried to a Gwinnett County jury in January of 2016. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,300,000 in compensatory damages. The crux of the defense was that Plaintiff’s own negligence was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. The jury agreed and returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant. Post-trial motions are being filed to address Defendant’s attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation. The Defendant served a statutory offer of settlement two years prior and subsequently incurred approximately $75,000.00 in fees and expenses.

Favorable Jury Verdict -- Jeff Starr and Jason Hammer won a favorable jury verdict for their client in Fulton County State Court. The case arose after the Defendant was driving her vehicle through a parking lot and struck a twelve year-old boy on a bicycle. The minor suffered multiple contusions, abrasions and a fractured foot. The fracture healed, but only after the minor was on crutches in a cast and subsequently wearing a walking boot for many months. The Plaintiff incurred $5,600 in medical expenses. We defended the case on liability, arguing the minor’s own negligence was the sole proximate cause of the accident. Multiple eyewitnesses were presented at trial and the accounts of the accident varied significantly, including those of the parties. The jury returned a verdict awarding the Plaintiff medical expenses only with a $0 pain and suffering award. Significantly, the jury found the Plaintiff 49% at fault for the accident. With a total recovery of only $2,800, the Plaintiff likely recovered nothing after the contingency fee and litigation expenses were paid.

Summary Judgment -- Jason W. Hammer and Elizabeth K. Lowrey recently obtained summary judgment for an insurer in the State Court of Cobb County. The case arose out of an August 26, 2011 motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff incurred almost $20,000 in past medical expenses and the Defendant was uninsured. Our firm represented Plaintiff’s purported uninsured motorist carrier, arguing the Plaintiff breached the notice provisions of the policy by failing to timely provide a copy of the Complaint. Plaintiff argued that because the insurer had notice of Plaintiff’s claims, the insurer was not prejudiced by the delay. Mr. Hammer and Ms. Lowrey argued that prejudice to the insurer is of no consequence when the insurance contract strictly outlines conditions for coverage. The Court agreed, granting the insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment in full, thereby eliminating any liability or exposure to the insurer.

Dismissal With Prejudice -- Jason W. Hammer and Blair J. Cash obtained a dismissal in favor of their client in the State Court of Cobb County. The case arose out of a motor vehicle accident allegedly resulting in over $25,000.00 in past medical expenses for the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff previously dismissed his lawsuit without prejudice and subsequently filed a renewal action. Although the Plaintiff eventually served the Defendant with the renewal action, Mr. Hammer and Mr. Cash argued that the Plaintiff's delay in serving the Defendant within a reasonable time compelled the dismissal of his case. The trial court agreed, granting the Motion to Dismiss in full, eliminating any exposure to the client.

Summary Judgment - Jason W. Hammer and Blair J. Cash recently obtained summary judgment for an insurer in the State Court of Cobb County. The case arose out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on December 3, 2012. The Plaintiff incurred over $30,000 in past medical expenses related to this accident. Our firm represented plaintiff's purported underinsured motorist carrier, who Plaintiff served in an attempt to collect benefits under her UM coverage. However, Plaintiff failed to timely notify the insurer of the underlying automobile accident and the alleged claim. Mr. Hammer and Mr. Cash argued that the delay constituted a breach of the notice provisions of Plaintiff's insurance contract. The Court agreed, granting the insurer's Motion for Summary Judgment in full, thereby eliminating any liability or exposure to the insurer. This is the second time Mr. Hammer and Mr. Cash have prevailed on this issue in recent months on behalf of an insurer.

Defense Verdict - Blair Cash and Jason Hammer successfully defended their insurance company client during a jury trial in the State Court of Fulton County. The Defendant's liability insurer paid its policy limits of $25,000.00 before suit was filed and our firm represented Plaintiff's underinsured motorist carrier. The Defendant rear-ended the Plaintiff at a high rate of speed, totaling both vehicles involved in the accident, and pled guilty to DUI, fleeing the scene, and child endangerment. In pre-trial motions, Mr. Cash and Mr. Hammer successfully excluded all evidence regarding allegations of DUI, fleeing the scene, or child endangerment. The Plaintiff was a 21 year old woman who had sustained two bulging discs and one herniated disc in her neck as a result of the accident. At trial, we defended the case in the name of the Defendant and admitted negligence and proximate cause, arguing only that the Plaintiff's claimed damages were not supported by the evidence. The Plaintiff submitted $16,000.00 in undisputed medical bills. The defense successfully challenged the Plaintiff's damages, arguing her attorney-referred treatment, gaps in treatment, and alleged limitations since the accident did not support a significant award of pain and suffering. In closing, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award $151,500.00. For the defense, Mr. Cash argued the evidence supported an award of $22,819.00, which was less than the amount already paid by the liability carrier. After approximately one and a half hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the exact amount suggested by Mr. Cash - $22,819.00 -- which resulted in no underinsured motorist exposure and a judgment in favor of the carrier. Prior to trial, the Plaintiff rejected an offer of $15,000.00 from our client and actually increased her demand from $25,000.00 to $90,000.00 over the course of the litigation.

Dismissal With Prejudice - Jason W. Hammer and Blair J. Cash obtained a dismissal in favor of their client in the State Court of Carroll County. The case arose out of a motor vehicle accident allegedly resulting in over $15,000 in past medical expenses for the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff previously dismissed his lawsuit without prejudice and subsequently filed a renewal action. Mr. Hammer and Mr. Cash argued for a dismissal with prejudice in favor of their client when the Plaintiff failed to serve the Defendant within a reasonable time after the six month period to re-file had expired. The trial court agreed, granting the Motion to Dismiss in full, thereby eliminating any liability or exposure to the client.

Summary Judgment - Jason W. Hammer and Blair J. Cash recently obtained summary judgment for an insurer in the State Court of DeKalb County. The case arose out of a motor vehicle accident allegedly resulting over $100,000 in past medical expenses for the Plaintiff. Our firm represented plaintiff’s purported underinsured motorist carrier, who Plaintiff served in an attempt to collect benefits under his UM coverage. However, Plaintiff failed to timely notify the insurer of the underlying automobile accident and the alleged claim. Mr. Hammer and Mr. Cash argued that the delay constituted a breach of the notice provisions of Plaintiff’s insurance contract. The Court agreed, granting the insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment in full, thereby eliminating any liability or exposure to the insurer.

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer and one of his partners secured a defense verdict in favor of their hospital client in a DeKalb County medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged the hospital's radiologist failed to order necessary follow-up studies after plaintiff had a routine screening mammogram and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer over a year later. The case was defended on causation and damages and after a week-long trial, which included testimony from multiple experts on each side, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense. The plaintiff declined to pursue an appeal., 2013

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer successfully defended an insurer in an action to enforce a hospital lien in Muscogee County Superior Court. The hospital alleged that when an underlying personal injury case was settled, the insurer failed to satisfy the $50,000 outstanding hospital lien. Jason successfully moved for summary judgment, arguing that the hospital failed to meet the perfection requirements of the hospital lien statute and that even if the lien had been properly perfected, the settlement of the underlying claim prior to the verified statement of the lien being filed precluded recovery., 2013

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer secured summary judgment in favor of his client in DeKalb County State Court. The plaintiff alleged negligent entrustment after being struck as a pedestrian and suffering serious injuries. The plaintiff claimed Jason's client negligently entrusted her vehicle to her co-defendant/husband, knowing her husband's license was suspended and that he was specifically excluded under her liability policy. Jason argued that the co-defendant's license suspension was for failing to appear in court, and did not give rise to an issue of fact as to a "known habit of recklessness." The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment in the defendant's favor., 2013

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer represented an uninsured / underinsured motorist carrier in a bad faith action filed in Cobb County Superior Court. The Plaintiff alleged that although he entered into a settlement agreement with his insurer, the agreement was void due to coercion, fraud and duress and that his insurer acted in bad faith in refusing to pay additional benefits. The Court granted summary judgment in the insurer's favor, finding that the Plaintiff failed to exercise due diligence in perfecting service outside the statute of limitations and that even if service had been proper, Plaintiff's claims were barred by the doctrines of release and/or accord and satisfaction., 2012

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer represented an individual in an admitted liability motor vehicle accident case filed in DeKalb County State Court. The Defendant admitted negligently rear-ending the Plaintiff, but contested causation and the nature and extent of the Plaintiff's injuries and damages at trial. The only medical evidence presented by the Plaintiff was the testimony of his chiropractor. Despite the admission of negligence, the jury considered the minor damage to the vehicles, gaps in treatment and questionable testimony by the chiropractor as to causation, and returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant, 2012

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer represented an insurer in a declaratory judgment action in Fulton County Superior Court seeking a determination that there was no uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage exposure for the insurer. The insured argued her policy should have provided for added-on coverage, not reduced-by coverage, which she attempted to support with expert testimony. Jason successfully moved the court to exclude the insured's expert and the court subsequently granted summary judgment in the insurer's favor, finding that the policy provided for reduced-by coverage and therefore no UM exposure existed as a matter of law., 2011

Favorable Verdict - Jason Hammer successfully defended his client during a jury trial in Cobb County Superior Court. The Defendant admittedly ran a red light and collided with the Plaintiff, who presented evidence, including expert testimony, in an effort to show the Defendant was on her cell phone and that it caused her to run the light. The defense presented evidence that the Plaintiff was not paying attention either and despite having the right-of-way, could have avoided the accident. It was undisputed the Plaintiff suffered a broken arm and frozen shoulder, among other injuries, requiring a cast for a month, a dynamic splint for another month and over six months of physical therapy. She had a 7% permanent impairment rating and $12,000 in undisputed medical bills. The defense successfully attacked the Plaintiff's credibility with regard to her alleged pain, suffering and limitation of daily activities. The jury returned a verdict attributing 15% negligence to the Plaintiff and a damages award of $17,000, for a total award of only $14,450. Prior to trial, Plaintiff rejected a $30,000 offer and increased her demand from $125,000 to $155,000., 2011

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer represented an international hotel corporation sued in Fulton County Superior Court after approximately half of the guests that attended a 2005 wedding reception at the hotel suffered from food poisoning. Thirty-one Plaintiffs alleged that the norovirus responsible for their illness was the result of the Defendant's negligent food handling. Jason moved for summary judgment on behalf of the Defendant, asserting procedural, as well as substantive deficiencies in Plaintiffs' case, which were supported by the expert testimony of an epidemiologist specializing in food safety. After almost four years of litigation, the Court granted Defendant's Motion, thus concluding the case in its entirety., 2011

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer represented a dog owner sued in Cobb County State Court after his Chow mix bit a next door neighbor. It was undisputed that the dog's rabies vaccinations were not current and the Plaintiff underwent $12,000 worth of rabies shots in addition to internal and external sutures to repair the bite wound to his forearm. The case was defended primarily on liability. Although the Plaintiff claimed the dog jumped the owner's fence, Defendant presented the Plaintiff's ex-fiancé, who testified that she witnessed the incident and saw Plaintiff reach over the fence to pet the dog when the bite occurred. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant in less than an hour., 2010

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer and one of his partners successfully defended an obstetrician at trial. Plaintiffs alleged the doctor failed to recognize and/or document shoulder dystocia, resulting in a permanent and severe obstetrical brachial plexus palsy involving all of the nerves from C5 to T1. The case was tried to a defense verdict in DeKalb County. On appeal, Jason successfully moved the Court of Appeals to dismiss the case on procedural grounds. The Georgia Supreme Court subsequently denied Plaintiffs' petition for certiorari., 2009

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer and one of his partners successfully defended their client in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, after the Defendant was sued for the wrongful death of a motorcyclist. The suit arose from a tragic motor vehicle accident that occurred in the north Georgia mountains. The Defendant was turning left into a church parking lot when the motorcyclist, traveling the opposite direction, came over the hillcrest and collided with the Defendant's vehicle. The motorcyclist died instantly as a result of his injuries. The Plaintiffs, supported by an accident reconstruction expert, argued that the motorcycle was in view, but the Defendant simply failed to yield while turning left. The defense included its own expert and showed that the motorcycle was not in view at the time of the turn and it was the motorcycle's excessive speed combined with the topography of the roadway that caused the accident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant in less than thirty minutes., 2009

Defense Verdict - Jason Hammer and one of his partners represented a Florida-based chemical manufacturing company sued in Walton County Superior Court for negligent failure to warn after the Plaintiff suffered third degree chemical burns from a sulfuric acid-based drain cleaner. The Plaintiff claimed the warning label failed to adequately warn her of the dangers of the product and that had she known the inherent dangers of sulfuric acid she would have never purchased the drain cleaner in the first place. The defense included expert testimony on liability and damages, arguing that the label was sufficient and that the Plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages by delaying treatment for her burns, which worsened her scarring. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant in less than an hour., 2009

Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer and one of his partners obtained summary judgment in their client's favor in a case against a restaurant. The Plaintiff, an employee of the restaurant, was cited by the City of Atlanta Police Department for serving beer without a license. Assuming her employer would handle the citation, the Plaintiff never appeared for her court date and was subsequently arrested on a bench warrant. Plaintiff filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and punitive damages. In affirming the trial court's decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Plaintiff's own negligence in failing to appear for her court date was the proximate cause of her injuries, there was no "extreme and outrageous" conduct to support intentional infliction of emotional distress, and that the fraud claim failed in the absence of any evidence that the Plaintiff's supervisors' representations that they would handle the citation were made without any intention to do so. The punitive damages claim of course failed in the absence of the underlying torts. Certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court., 2009

Summary Judgment - Jason Hammer and one of his partners secured a favorable summary judgment ruling in Hall County Superior Court on behalf of their insurance agency client. Former owners of a construction company alleged the agency breached its fiduciary duties with respect to the issuance of construction bonds on several high-dollar construction projects. When the projects went south, the surety on the bonds sought indemnity from the former owners, who filed a third-party complaint against the insurance agency. Assuming without deciding that a fiduciary relationship existed, the Court agreed with the defense and held that the former owners' failure to read the bond agreements and subsequent failure to provide proper notice to the surety of the fact that they no longer had an interest in the construction company precluded recovery., 2008

Education

  • Georgia State University College of Law, J.D.
  • University of Georgia, B.A.

Admissions

  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • Georgia Supreme Court
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia

Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
  • Defense Research Institute
  • DeKalb Bar Association
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Lawyers Club of Atlanta
  • Bleckley Inn of Court

Support Staff

Macey McDougald Litigation Paralegal 404-480-4485
Anh Huynh Litigation Paralegal 404-537-3749
Brittney Reynolds Administrative Assistant 404-492-8870