Tort Reform in Georgia

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Jury can decide if ER malpractice was under “gross negligence” or “ordinary negligence” standard

In the national debate over health care there has been much discussion of the fact that many people go to hospital emergency departments for medical care that is not necessarily due to a true emergency involving a serious personal injury  or immediately life threatening illness.
There are many reasons for that, some good and some not. … 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” 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

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

“Loser pays” tort reform? Georgia already has offer of judgment rule

We hear talk of another round of “tort reform” legislation including a “loser pays” rule. But some of the folks talking about it may not realize that Georgia already has five different “loser pays” rules.
One of the five forms of “loser pays” rules in Georgia is in O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68. Passed as part of the … Continue Reading

Apportionment of fault presents advocacy challenge to lawyers for innocent victims

In a case of negligent security against a commercial property owner, Couch v. Red Roof Inns Inc., S12Q0625, the Georgia Supreme Court last week upheld Georgia’s apportionment statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33.
In a 5 -2 decision, with Justice Benham and Presiding Justice Hunstein dissenting, the Georgia Supreme Court found that (1) the jury is allowed to … 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