Legislation

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Cracking Down on Distracted Driving

We have all seen drivers distracted by their electronic devices behind the wheel. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations now forbid interstate truck drivers from texting or talking on a hand held cell phone while driving. But recently we were hired in a multiple fatality crash on a Georgia interstate highway in which the truck … Continue Reading

7 Tips for Lawyers Handling a Minors’ Personal Injury Settlement

Injuries to children are going to happen.  In fact, according to the CDC, injury treatment is the leading cause of medical spending for children equaling about $11.5 billion in the United States.  A serious injury to a minor child touches the heart more than a comparable injury to an adult.  Because young children lack the … Continue Reading

Legislature quickly overturns Supreme Court decision, barring assignment of legal malpractice claims

A few days ago, I wrote about a Georgia Supreme Court decision that left a lot of uncertainty about which legal malpractice claims could be assigned to people or companies other than clients.
Most states do not allow assignment of legal malpractice claims to others for substantial public policy reasons related to protection of the attorney-client … 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

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 “loser pays” rule #3 – fee awards for no justiciable issue, delay or harassment

Advocates of tort reform often call for “loser pays” legislation. Georgia already has five different “loser pays” rules. In earlier posts I have discussed OCGA § 9-11-68, enacted as part of tort reform legislation in 2005, which includes both the offer of judgment / offer of settlement rule and the frivolous claims and defenses rule.
O.C.G.A. … Continue Reading

NJ suit by spectator against Little League baseball player would be tossed out by Georgia courts

Baseball has been called the great American pastime. We all love an occasional trip to Turner Field to watch the Braves, and nothing can compare with family outings to minor league baseball games in smaller cities. I have nothing but pleasant memories of the spring and summer afternoons and evenings rooting for my son in … Continue Reading

The learning curve of a bar president

In the past 10 days this plaintiffs’ trial lawyer, in the capacity of State Bar of Georgia president, has co-presided over a joint meeting of the State Bar Executive Committee and the Georgia Supreme Court, had a joint press conference with the Attorney General of Georgia and spoke at a lunch meeting that included general … Continue Reading

Independent Courts as Economic Infrastructure

The following article appeared in the February 2012 issue of the Georgia Bar Journal.
A third of a century trekking between Georgia courts, first in a single rural circuit and then more or less statewide, has made me a minor connoisseur of courthouses, the most visible physical infrastructure of the judicial system. I have tried cases … Continue Reading