Georgia tort reform — puzzling offer of judgment rule
Georgia’s tort reform legislation, Senate Bill 3, includes in Section 5 an offer of settlement / offer of judgment provision that, if carried to its full potential, will be extremely oppressive to middle class plaintiffs and may incur “mutual assured destruction” on both plaintiff and defense bars. Or, if a tacit truce evolves and it is rarely used, it could become the benign encouragement of settlement that its legislative sponsors promised.
Limited to tort cases only, the new OCGA Section 9-11-68(effective 2/16/05, applicable to pending cases) provides that if a party rejects an offer under the code section and does not improve its position 25% at trial, the offeree is required to pay the offeror’s attorney fees and expenses after rejection of the offer. That’s bad enough, but it’s not that simple.
Ken Shigley represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “Super Lawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is President-Elect of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12), a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks). He and Sally have been married since 1983, and are the proud parnts of two young adults, Anne Shigley and Ken Shigley, Jr.