Civil Litigation

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Shigley completes14 years in State Bar of Georgia leadership roles

At the State Bar of Georgia 2013 annual meeting last week at Hilton Head Island, SC, I was presented a resolution commemorating 14 years on the Board of Governors and 6 years on the Executive Committee, which included one year each as secretary (2008-09), treasurer (2009-10), president-elect (2010-11), president (2011-12) and immediate past president (2012-13). … Continue Reading

How do you handle fees and expenses in a personal injury or wrongful death case?

Many prospective clients in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims ask questions about legal fees and litigation expenses in handling their cases. As an Atlanta personal injury trial attorney handling serious injury and death cases across Georgia, and as an individual who remembers very well what it is like to be flat broke and … Continue Reading

Legislation passes US House to rein in worst problems with Medicare reimbursment bureaucracy

In the past few years, half the work and hassle in representing individuals in personal injury claims is the endless hassle with medical lien claims.
Medicare, which asserts claims under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, is often the hardest to deal with because the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) bureaucracy is infamously slow and … Continue Reading

Hearsay rule change in new Georgia Evidence Code

Most bright middle school students probably have a working knowledge of the concept of hearsay, simply as gossip.  “He said she said” does not mean the statement is true.
Hearsay as a legal rather than merely social concept is part of the law of evidence. The Georgia rule on hearsay will change on January 1st, when … Continue Reading

GA Court of Appeals cracks open door to evidence of amount of settlements for prior accidents

Georgia law on the trial of personal injury cases has for most of my career provided for exclusion of evidence of settlements of claims arising from prior injuries. Now the Court of Appeals has cracked open the door to evidence that in the past has been excluded.
In the case of Goforth v. Wigley, 178 Ga. … Continue Reading

Key Georgia legislator tells tort reform advocates to go slowly and work toward consensus

Georgia State Capitol 1904
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce held a forum on tort reform last week. According to today’s Daily Report, Rep. Rich Golick, chair of the House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee who is a corporate attorney for Allstate Insurance Company in his “day job,” told the attendees:
“Go talk to the plaintiffs bar. … See if … Continue Reading

Does Georgia really need more than five “loser pays” rules?

Do advocates of more “loser pays” rules offer a solution in search of a problem?
Are people unaware of the “loser pays” sanctions that are already part of Georgia law?
As discussed in previous posts, Georgia already has five statutory “loser pays” rules, four of which passed in tort reform legislation during the time I have been … Continue Reading

Georgia “loser pays” rule # 5 – bad faith, stubborn litigiousness, undue trouble and expense

Brig. Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, father of Georgia’s first “loser pays” statute”
The oldest of the five “loser pays” rules in existing Georgia law has been in effect for nearly 150 years, having first appeared in the Code of 1863.
That Code was largely the work product of Thomas R. R. Cobb, son-in-law of Chief Justice … Continue Reading

Georgia’s “loser pays” rule # 4 – tort claim for abusive litigation

Before rushing into legislation to create yet another “loser pays” rule in Georgia law, it is useful to examine the five forms of “loser pays” rules we already have. I wrote earlier about OCGA 9-11-68 (offer of judgment / offer of settlement rule and frivolous claims and defenses rule) and OCGA 9-11-14 (no justiciable … Continue Reading

Georgia “loser pays” tort reform rule #2 – frivolous claim or defense

“Loser pays” is a popular theme among advocates of “tort reform,” many of whom may not understand what the popular political calls for “loser pays” or “tort reform” really mean in any detail. Perhaps some people who say they are for it do not understand that Georgia already has five “loser pays” rules that have … Continue Reading