Articles Posted in TORT REFORM

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Posted by H. Lee Pruett

Since our January 26, 2009 post discussing a case this firm is defending in the State Court of DeKalb County and Judge Janis Gordon’s Order which denied the Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Notice of Fault of Non-Party pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, at least two other Georgia trial courts have issued rulings somewhat at odds with Judge Gordon’s Order. To date, no appellate court has rendered a decision on any of the numerous issues being raised concerning the meaning and scope of this statute. The two trial court orders discussed below only emphasize the confusion litigants face in attempting to apply the statute to any given case.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy and H. Lee Pruett

In 2005, the Georgia Legislature passed a number of tort reform measures designed, at least in part, to benefit defendants in civil suits. The Tort Reform Act included an amendment to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 which specifically abrogated joint and several liability and mandated that juries now consider the fault of nonparties in assessing the percentages of fault. In a recent case handled by our firm, we used the new statute and timely filed a Notice of Fault of Nonparty identifying the driver of Plaintiff’s vehicle as the at-fault nonparty. In response, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike, arguing (1) that O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 is unconstitutional and (2) that there can be no apportionment of fault under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 unless the plaintiff is to some degree responsible for his damages.
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