Clarifying “proximate cause” in Georgia tort jury instructions
Two cases decided in November 2004 help to clarify the often befuddling concept legal doctrine of “proximate cause” in Georgia jury instructions. In John Crane Inc. v. Jones, 278 Ga. 747, 604 S.E.2d 822 (2004), the Supreme Court of Georgia held that it is error to charge that each of multiple defendants must have been a “substantial contributing factor” in causation, as any contributing factor is sufficient. Similarly, in Thompson v. Thompson, 278 Ga. 752, 605 S.E.2d 30 (2004), the court held that it was reversible error to use the “dominant cause” phrase to explain proximate cause.
These decisions are significant both in simplifying the often confusing issue of proximate cause for jurors, and perhaps in leading to clarification of jury instructions generally.
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.