December 2016


Terry Sides and Ree Glaze successfully defended a Jefferson County city and its police chief in a wrongful death and civil rights case in federal court.

The plaintiff’s son encountered a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by the city’s police officers. When one of the officers asked for identification, the son produced a questionable ID card that could not be confirmed through multiple law enforcement sources. The officer asked the son to get out of the car and performed a “pat down” search of him. The son was then detained (but not handcuffed) in the backseat of the officer’s patrol car while the officer continued to try to confirm his identity. A short while later, the son jumped out of the patrol car, assaulted the officer, and tried to take the officer’s gun from its holster. Unable to get the gun, the son fled into the nearby woods. The officer chased the son and caught him, at which time the son continued to fight the officer and again attempted to take away the officer’s gun. Fearing for his life, the officer fatally shot the son.

The plaintiff made a number of federal and state-law claims against the city and its chief police, including claims for wrongful death, unlawful search and seizure, excessive force, and a claim that the city and police chief had failed to properly train and supervise the subject officer in how to handle situations like this one. The city and police chief argued that all but the wrongful death claim abated with the death of the plaintiff’s son, and with respect to that claim, the city and police chief argued that the plaintiff had failed to show any facts which plausibly established that any action or omission attributable to them was the moving force which led to her son’s death. Given the absence of a showing of such facts, much less any facts showing either that the city had a custom or practice of its police officers conducting unlawful searches and seizures or using excessive or deadly force, or that the city or its police chief knew of a need to train or supervise in a particular area but made a deliberate choice not to do so, the plaintiff’s claims and lawsuit against the city and police chief failed and were dismissed.


December 2016


On behalf of two Alabama cities as “friends of the court,” Terry Sides is participating in a pivotal case about municipal and recreational land use immunities.

The case concerns an accident which occurred at a recreational park owned by a city in North Alabama. The accident occurred when the plaintiff was returning to her car after dark following a fireworks show and tripped and fell over a diagonal crossbar supporting a metal post which had previously held a metal cable separating the parking area from the rest of the park. The plaintiff contends the area where she fell constitutes an exception to Alabama’s recreational land use statutes because it was a “hidden danger.” Those statutes define and limit the duties of an owner of recreational land to a person using the land for recreational purposes, and they essentially provide that an owner of such land owes no duty to its users except for injury caused by a “willful or malicious” failure to guard or warn against a known dangerous condition on the premises.

A central legal issue in the case is the interplay between the recreational land use statutes and Alabama’s statutory and case law which fully immunize Alabama cities and towns from claims for willful and malicious conduct. The resolution of this issue is very important to most (if not all) Alabama cities and towns, which are prolific landowners of parks, hiking trails, walking tracks, sports fields, ponds, splash pads, and other non-commercial recreational lands and facilities.

The trial court rejected the North Alabama city’s claims of immunity, but the case is currently on appeal before the Supreme Court of Alabama.

November 2016


Terry Sides and Ree Glaze successfully defended an Alabama city in a lawsuit in federal and state court in which the plaintiff claimed that her federal and state constitutional rights were violated by some of the city's police officers as a result of her arrest for domestic violence. The officers responded to a call from the plaintiff that she had been assaulted by her husband, but the officers' investigation on the scene (including interviews of eyewitnesses) revealed that it was the plaintiff, not her husband, who was the abuser. When the officers advised the plaintiff she was under arrest, she became combative, refused to follow the officers' commands, and physically resisted her arrest. The federal court ruled the plaintiff failed to state a federal claim for relief against the city, and the state court subsequently ruled that the plaintiff likewise had no claim against the city under Alabama law. The lawsuit was dismissed.

November 2016


A federal court dismissed a lawsuit against an Alabama city in which the plaintiff claimed that the city had violated his constitutional rights by failing to properly train and supervise its police officers in making arrests, conducting searches and seizures, using force while making arrests, and providing medical care to arrestees. Two of the city’s police officers made a traffic stop of the plaintiff for his failure to obey a traffic signal and because the plaintiff’s vehicle matched that of a vehicle involved in a recent attempted armed robbery. During the traffic stop, the plaintiff, after repeated commands by the officers to show his hands, hid one hand from the officers and used his other hand to toss away bags of heroin and marijuana. In an effort to gain control of the plaintiff and stop his destruction of the evidence, one of the officers tased the plaintiff, following which the plaintiff physically resisted his arrest. After the officers effectuated the arrest, the plaintiff was transported to the city’s jail, where he claimed his requests for medical attention were ignored. The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages against the city, in addition to other monetary and non-monetary relief. The court, however, concluded that the plaintiff’s allegations failed to plausibly establish a constitutional violation by the city. Terry Sides and Ree Glaze litigated the case for the Firm. They argued the plaintiff had failed to show the existence of the required established custom or practice of similar conduct by the city’s police officers which would or should have put the city on notice of a need to provide more training to its officers. The court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit against the city, but nevertheless allowed the plaintiff to amend his complaint in an effort to state viable claims against the city. The Firm argued the plaintiff’s new complaint was no better than his first one, and the court once again agreed, this time dismissing all claims against the city with prejudice.


August 2016


Hale Sides LLC is pleased to announce its recent joint venture with Hill, Hill & Gossett, P.C. The two firms have combined forces to provide full service legal representation in real estate law, loan closings and foreclosures. While both firms will continue to work independently, the joint venture, Hale Sides Hill Gossett LLC (“HSHG”), combines 165 years of experience and fortifies the two firms’ reputations for excellence as a new and innovative choice for representation in all legal matters involving real estate companies, brokers and agents, banks, financial institutions and other lenders, mortgage companies and servicers, title companies, and individuals in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area and surrounding counties. Learn more about HSHG and its real estate services by visiting www.ALrealestate-attorneys.com.


April 2016


The Firm successfully defended a constitutional attack on an Alabama statute which mandates that the recovery of damages against public transportation authorities be limited to $100,000.00 for bodily injury or death.

The plaintiff (who claimed to be the victim of a sexual assault by an employee of an Alabama transit authority) argued (1) that the Alabama Legislature lacked the power to enact a statute providing for such immunity for public transportation authorities, and (2) that the subject statute and damages limitation in it violated her constitutional rights to trial by jury, access to the courts, and due process of law.

The court disagreed. In a well-reasoned and lengthy opinion, the court concluded that the statute is a valid exercise of the Legislature’s authority and that the plaintiff failed to prove that the limitation on the recovery of damages against a public transportation authority is unconstitutional. Terry Sides handled the case for the Firm.


October 2015


The Firm won summary judgment for two Alabama police officers in a lawsuit against them arising from their arrest of a drunk driver. Discovery revealed that from the onset of the arrest, the plaintiff was angry, abusive, and threatening toward the officers. The plaintiff continued to misbehave and confront the officers after arriving at the city jail for a sobriety test.

When the plaintiff attempted to assault and spit on the officers, one of them pushed him to the floor in an effort to avoid the assault. The second officer assisted in subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff was then transported to the county jail, during which he continued his verbal assault on the first officer, threatening him and his family and repeatedly kicking the rear door and window of the car in an effort to escape. After pleading guilty to driving drunk, the plaintiff sued the police officers for excessive force, claiming mental and emotional injuries, as well as aggravation of a prior on-the-job injury to his neck and left arm.

After extensive discovery, the Firm filed a motion for summary judgment for the two police officers. The plaintiff responded with an expert witness who criticized the officers’ use of force on the plaintiff. The court not only agreed with the Firm that the plaintiff's expert's criticism of the officers was inadmissible evidence, but that the officers were also entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Terry Sides handled the case for the Firm, with the assistance of Ree Glaze and Richard Whitaker.


August 2015


The Firm obtained summary judgment for an Alabama city on claims by one of its former police officers for disability discrimination, age discrimination, and retaliation. The city fired the officer for multiple violations of its rules and policies stemming from (a) inappropriate and suggestive text messages which the officer sent to a female teenager he met at a restaurant, as well as (b) a subsequent traffic stop which the officer made of the young girl late at night. The evidence proved that the officer later urged the girl to not just deny that that he had bothered her with his text messages, but that she also support his claim that the headlights of her vehicle were not on when he stopped her and such was his reason for the stop. After the girl complained to the city that the officer’s conduct scared and made her uncomfortable, the city began an investigation of the matter (during which time the officer filed with the EEOC a charge of discrimination), following which the city terminated the officer’s employment for, among other things, conduct unbecoming a public employee.

The officer unsuccessfully appealed his termination to the personnel board and the EEOC, and then unsuccessfully contested his termination through a claim for unemployment compensation benefits (in which he represented that he had no disability and was capable of performing his regular job duties). He then obtained employment elsewhere as a police officer. Later, he filed suit against the city in federal court, claiming that the city’s reasons for his termination were a pretext for disability discrimination (his claimed knee problems and high blood pressure), age discrimination, and retaliation for the filing of his EEOC charge of discrimination. Following exhaustive discovery, the Firm moved the court to grant it summary judgment on all of the officer’s claims.

In a lengthy and well-reasoned opinion, the court agreed with the city and upheld its termination of the officer. The court concluded that the facts proved the officer had (1) failed to exhaust his administrative remedies regarding his claimed knee disability, (2) failed to establish that his high blood pressure significantly impaired his ability to work as a police officer, (3) failed to establish that either of his claimed disabilities motivated the city to fire him, (4) failed to show that the city had treated him less favorably than any similarly-situated younger or non-disabled police officer, (5) failed to show that the city’s reasons for his termination were a pretext for either disability/age discrimination or retaliation (the court specifically found that the officer’s story and version of events about his traffic stop of the young girl was concocted), and (6) failed to establish a causal connection between the filing of his EEOC charge of discrimination and his termination. Summary judgment was granted for the city and the case was dismissed.

Terry Sides was lead counsel for the city, with Ree Glaze and Jesse Cash of the Firm assisting in the city’s defense.


June 2015


In November 2007, while on patrol around midnight, a police officer was dispatched to a burglary-in-progress at a residence. The homeowner and her daughter, armed with a gun, believed the burglar had already entered their home. The officer turned on his emergency lights and siren and began driving to the residence. While in route on a two-lane highway, the officer encountered a vehicle ahead traveling in the same direction. As the officer got closer to the vehicle, he observed the vehicle's brake lights come on. The vehicle then slowed and moved to the right side of the road, as required by Alabama law. The officer then moved into the left lane to pass the vehicle. Though he was unsure of his exact speed, the officer knew he was traveling over the posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. As the officer attempted to pass the vehicle to the left, the vehicle, traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour, suddenly turned left in front of the officer. The two vehicles collided seriously injuring the officer and killing the other driver. The family of the other driver filed suit against the police officer and his city employer for wrongful death. The family claimed that the officer's speed at the time of the accident (which, according to expert testimony, ranged between 74-86 mph) constituted a lack of due regard for safety. After considerable discovery and other pre-trial proceedings, the case went to trial in June 2015. Following testimony by numerous witnesses, the jury concluded that, though the police officer failed to exercise due regard for safety as he approached and began to pass the other vehicle, the other driver violated Alabama law by negligently turning left in front of the officer, and his contributory negligence was the cause of the collision. Accordingly, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the officer and the city. Terry A. Sides was trial counsel for the city.


December 2014


Erin B. Fleming, a lawyer in our Gulf Coast office, successfully defended a South Alabama town in a flooding lawsuit in state court. The plaintiff claimed her home and property flooded more than 15 times over the course of several years. The plaintiff alleged the flooding was caused by the town’s failure to maintain its drainage system in her neighborhood, which the plaintiff testified channeled water onto her property each time it rained. After extensive discovery was conducted, the trial court granted summary judgment for the town and found that the plaintiff did not prove the flooding was caused by any negligence of the town. The plaintiff appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, but lost again when the Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town and dismissed the case.


August 2014


A federal court dismissed a case in which the plaintiff claimed that an Alabama city and several of its officials had violated her constitutional rights in connection with her arrest by the city’s chief of police. The plaintiff alleged that the police chief unlawfully entered her home, assaulted her, then arrested and took her to jail, where he again assaulted her even while she was handcuffed. The plaintiff alleged that while confined to the city’s jail for several days, she requested medical treatment for her alleged injuries, but her requests were ignored. The plaintiff sought to hold the city, its mayor, and the members of its city council (“the defendants”) liable for wrongfully training, supervising, and continuing to employ the police chief even though they allegedly knew about other similar previous complaints about him. The plaintiff sought damages against the defendants of at least $500,000. The court, however, concluded that the plaintiff’s allegations failed to plausibly establish a constitutional violation by the defendants. Terry Sides litigated the case for the Firm and argued that not only had the plaintiff failed to show the existence of the required established custom or practice of similar conduct by the city’s police chief or its other police officers, but she had also failed to show any personal actions by the defendants which resulted in her claimed constitutional deprivations; thus, under both federal and state law, the plaintiff’s claims against the defendants were barred by doctrines of immunity. The court agreed and dismissed the defendants from the case.


April 2014


Terry Sides successfully defended a law enforcement officer in an excessive force case in federal court. The officer was a member of a fugitive task force which visited the plaintiff’s residence looking for the plaintiff’s daughter, who was the subject of an arrest warrant for attempted murder and burglary. As other officers were questioning the plaintiff about his daughter, a physical altercation occurred between them, during which the plaintiff was allegedly kicked in the back and otherwise assaulted. The plaintiff claimed he was then handcuffed behind his back, following which the subject officer sprayed him in the face with mace causing him even more serious injury. After extensive discovery was conducted, the court granted summary judgment for the officer on grounds that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The plaintiff made several post-judgment efforts to convince the court to reverse itself and vacate the judgment, all of which failed. The judgment in favor of the officer was affirmed and the case was dismissed.


January, 2014


Tom Hale has been installed as President of The Homewood Police Foundation, a 501C3 tax exempt organization that involves corporate and individual citizens in assisting The Homewood Police Department and its personnel in a variety of endeavors. Hale is leading the efforts to secure and grow memberships, sustaining grants, community programs and other funding mechanisms that will provide additional resources to aid the Department with services, training and equipment that are not provided for in the Department’s annual budget. Current projects of outreach include the design and construction of a state-of-the-art shooting range, home and personal safety/self-defense training, law enforcement education and involvement programs for citizens, a Citizens Emergency Response Team (“CERT”) training program and an annual Homewood Police Foundation Scholarship awarded to a graduating Homewood High School student who is carefully selected from applicants and who intends to enter college or university with a Major or Minor field of study in Criminal Justice or other closely related field.


September, 2013


American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, who are leading providers of lawyer reviews and daily news covering legal business, law firms, and lawyers across the United States, have selected Terry Sides as a "2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law."


September, 2013


Terry Sides and Erin Fleming successfully defended another federal court excessive force case filed against a South Alabama city, its mayor, police chief, and four of its police officers. The plaintiff claimed that after his nighttime armed robbery of a gas station, the four police officers pursued him to an area bordered by a dirt road with a chain link fence topped with barbed wire, which he climbed across to get to his vehicle to escape. He further claimed that before reaching his vehicle, one of the officers approached him with his gun pointed at him and demanded that he put his hands up, and that he complied with the officer's demand. He claimed that officer then ran toward him, rammed him into the fence, pushed him to the ground, put his knee in his back, and that a second officer then arrived on the scene and also put his knees and weight into his back as he was being handcuffed. During these events, the plaintiff's right eye was permanently blinded, which he claimed occurred as a result of the first officer pushing him to the ground. The plaintiff sought a judgment against the defendants for $20,000,000, and an injunction barring the police officers from continuing to work in law enforcement. The court, however, disagreed with the plaintiff and ruled in favor of all defendants, concluding that even if the plaintiff's claims were assumed true and viewed in the light most favorable to him, the force used by the officers was not objectively excessive and did not otherwise rise to the level of a violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Judgment was entered in favor of the city, its mayor, police chief, and the four police officers. The case was dismissed.


July, 2013


Tom Hale has authored Offensive Conduct: My Life on the Line, the biography of University of Alabama and New England Patriots football legend John "Hog" Hannah. Offensive Conduct is a first person narrative of Hannah’s meteoric rise from childhood through the Crimson Tide football program as starting offensive left guard under legendary Head Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and into the stratosphere of elite professional football players. A 1973 number four first round draft pick by the New England Patriots, John Hannah is regarded as perhaps the greatest large athlete to have ever lived having been declared "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time" by Sports Illustrated in August, 1981. Hannah was voted All-Pro ten times, played in nine Pro Bowls, was voted by the NFL Players Association four years running as Most Valuable Offensive Lineman, and in 1991, was the first New England Patriot inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hale has spent several years coaxing details out of the football legend, many never revealed until now. Published in hardback by Triumph Books in Chicago, Offensive Conduct is available for pre-order online at Amazon.com, Books-A-Million, and other online booksellers. The book will be on shelves in major bookstores nationwide October 1, 2013. A limited number of pre-release autographed copies will be available at The Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, Alabama, on August 12th. The national launch and book signing of Offensive Conduct will be held August 15th at Town & Country Ford in Bessemer, Alabama, at 5:30 pm. Guests will have an opportunity to meet Eli Gold, John Hannah and Tom Hale for a personal signing session. Other signing events through Christmas 2013 for venues across the country will be announced soon.


July, 2013


Terry Sides and Erin Fleming successfully defended a South Alabama city and its chief of police in a federal civil rights case of excessive force and wrongful death. The plaintiffs claimed that while engaged in the pursuit of a speeding car, a patrol car being driven by a police officer for the city struck the speeding car from behind and caused it to go airborne, following which the car flipped over and landed in a ditch. The plaintiffs’ son, who they claimed was a passenger in the car, was killed in the accident. The plaintiffs’ theory was (a) the police officer’s action constituted excessive force, which was the result of the chief of police having acted with deliberate indifference in hiring, training, and supervising the officer, and (b) such action by the chief of police represented a custom, policy or practice of the city, which, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983, led to the deprivation of their son’s constitutional rights The plaintiffs sought a judgment against the city and its chief of police for $25,000,000. Following the filing of extensive motions and briefs, the federal court dismissed the lawsuit against the city and police chief, concluding that the plaintiffs’ claims against them failed to plausibly establish any constitutional violation.


June, 2013


Hale Sides is pleased to announce that Catherine "Ree" Glaze has joined the Firm as an Associate. You can learn more about Ree’s experience and areas of practice on her biography page: Catherine "Ree" Glaze Biography


June, 2013


Alabama House Bill 259

Tom Hale was instrumental in creating and co-drafting legislation extending needed protection to Police K9 Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs (SAR). Brought to light by his son, Rob, the enactment of the law now makes it a crime to commit additional offenses against a K9 Officer Dog or SAR Dog other than causing its death, the only sanction the law previously provided. Signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on May 23, 2013, the Act now makes it a crime to harass, assault, injure or cause the death of a police or rescue animal and further provides for significant fines, penalties and restitution for each discrete violation.

Co-written with Debra Manasco, a legislation drafting specialist attorney in Montgomery, HB 259 was sponsored by Rep. Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood) and passed unanimously in the House of Representatives by vote of 98-0. With the strong support of Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia), HB 259 was passed by the Senate by vote of 24-6 on May 20, 2013 and immediately sent to Governor Bentley for his signature. The Law becomes effective August 1st, 2013.


April, 2013


Important news from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services:

Federal law requires that every employer complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 will help you verify your employee’s identity and employment authorization. If you are an Alabama employer, the information provided on Form I-9 is used to comply with the E-Verify requirement that went into effect in April of 2012.

On March 8, 2013, a new version of the Form I-9 (http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf) was released. Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must only use the new Form I-9.

If you are an employer and have questions regarding the new I-9 or E-Verify, please contact us to schedule an appointment at (205) 453-9800. We offer I-9 audits as well as assistance with continued compliance.


April, 2013


In November 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act created "Form I-9" for employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees. Through the years, many changes have been made not only to the verification process, but to the form itself. However, when the issue of immigration reform became a hotbed for legal activity in both federal and state governments, the significance of the I-9 increased dramatically. Beginning in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through its Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), increased audits of employers’ I-9 records for compliance determinations. In 2009, ICE performed 52 audits resulting in fines of $1,033,291 and 444 individuals arrested on criminal charges. By 2011, those numbers had increased to 385 audits and $10,463,988 in fines and 713 arrests. Although exact figures for 2012 have not been released, ICE has acknowledged the fines for 2012 exceeded $10,000,000, Now, more than ever, I-9 rules and requirements must be a primary concern for all employers. Hale Sides is prepared to assist any business, small or large, with I-9 compliance.


April, 2013


The Firm successfully defended five Alabama police officers accused of excessive force in a lawsuit filed in federal court. The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by three plaintiffs asserting more than 15 different claims (e.g., unlawful arrest, excessive force, conspiracy, assault and battery, and failure to properly train and supervise) against the police officers, the city which employs them, and its chief of police. Following extensive discovery, the Firm moved for and received a full summary judgment on all claims by two of the plaintiffs. Summary judgment was also granted on all claims by the third plaintiff with the exception of his excessive force claim against the police officers for alleged actions taken after he was handcuffed. The case proceeded to trial in March 2013 with more than 20 witnesses expected to testify. However, following jury selection, the lone remaining plaintiff offered a settlement on terms favorable to the police officers, which was accepted. The court then dismissed the case. In a subsequent statement to The Birmingham News, Terry Sides (who was lead defense counsel) said, "The police officers involved in this case are exceptional public servants who put their lives on the line every day, as they did on the day of this incident, and they are glad that this case against them has been dismissed." Mallory Combest of the Firm assisted in the defense of this case.


December, 2012


In December 2012, Hale Sides LLC successfully defended a federal race discrimination suit filed against a city located in Jefferson County. The plaintiff, an African-American, was the former owner of a sports bar and restaurant located in the city. The plaintiff claimed that the city, its mayor, its former police chief and other police officers threatened and harassed him, his daughter and customers throughout the operation of his business. He alleged the defendants intended to run him out of business because of his race. He further alleged that the threats and harassment led to the city’s council ultimately revoking his business license and terminating his ability to operate his business in the city. The plaintiff claimed that similarly-situated white business owners in the city were not subject to such harassment. The city and its officials adamantly denied all of these claims. After the parties filed extensive written arguments, the court dismissed the case in its entirety. The court found that the plaintiff had failed to present any facts which plausibly established race discrimination. Terry Sides and Mallory Combest handled the case for the firm.


June 26, 2012


Thomas S. Hale has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of "Serve and Protect," a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing nationwide crisis response, suicide intervention and prevention, counseling and referral assistance to Police Officers, Firemen and other first responders. Serve and Protect is the only service of its kind in the nation, and is partnered with "Safe Call" of Seattle, Washington in providing a 24 hour "suicide crisis hotline" dedicated strictly to law enforcement, The Dave Ramsey Organization, which provides financial advice, assistance and planning, and NOVA Industries, a leading manufacturer of non-lethal electrical restraint and containment devices. For more information, see www.serveprotect.org.


June 21, 2012


Hale Sides is pleased to announce that Terry A. Sides has been selected as a Master Bencher of the Judge James Edwin Horton American Inn of Court (Cumberland School of Law of Samford University) to the American Inns of Court Foundation. The AIC, which is America's oldest, largest and fastest growing legal mentoring organization, is composed of more than 25,000 state, federal and administrative law judges, attorneys, legal scholars and law students, whose purpose is to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.

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About Us

Our Attorneys

Thomas S. Hale
Terry A. Sides
Richard D. Whitaker
Catherine "Ree" Glaze

Areas of practice

Location

Birmingham
600 Financial Center
505 20th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
tel: 205.453.9800
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