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NEW POSITION FOR 48-YEAR AG VETERAN SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Bill Lockyer has created a new consumer protection position for a lawyer who has been with his office for nearly half a century. Herschel Elkins, who currently heads Lockyer’s consumer law section, will now be the special assistant attorney general for consumer policy, coordination and development. Elkins joined the office in 1956. In 1965, he was named head of the consumer fraud unit, which became the consumer law section. He went on to become a national expert in consumer protection, according to a release from Lockyer’s office. “Elkins is the godfather of California consumer law,” Lockyer said in a statement. “He is responsible for building one of the best and most talented consumer protection units in the country. Now, he will apply his considerable talents to create even more effective means to protect consumers.” Elkins will be the liaison between Lockyer’s office and other government consumer protection units and will coordinate Lockyer’s consumer protection activities, according to the release. — Jeff Chorney CARWASH MAY FACE $110M FOR JUNK FAXES ATLANTA — A recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision makes it easier for recipients of junk fax advertisements to form a class and sue the offending business. A three-judge panel reversed a trial court’s decision not to certify as a class 73,500 recipients of unsolicited faxes from a metro Atlanta carwash. In a unanimous decision on March 12, the judges said, “The trial court abused its discretion” in finding that the plaintiffs did not meet the requirements of a class certification. Hammond v. Carnett’s, A03A2487. The decision clears the way for a case involving potential fines of up to $110 million. The defendant’s attorney, Richard Foster of Hicks, Casey & Foster in Marietta, Ga., said he will appeal the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court. Former Gov. Roy Barnes argued the case before the panel in November. Barnes said the trial court judge had erred in denying class certification because he deviated from the standards set by the appeals court in Hooters of Augusta v. Nicholson, 245 Ga. App. 363 (2000). In Hooters, the appeals court had deemed class certification proper in a case involving 7,825 unsolicited faxes from the restaurant chain. The complaint later resulted in a $12 million verdict. “The Hooters case says very clearly that these cases are classable,” Barnes said in an interview last week. Carnett’s had hired Nevada-based Sunbelt Communications and Marketing to send advertisements to 73,500 facsimile machines in the Atlanta area. One of those faxes went to a fax machine at the home of Michelle Hammond, the name plaintiff. — Fulton County Daily Report

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