Trabue v. Argus – Legal Reform
Georgia Supreme Court
At issue is an Act of the Georgia General Assembly from 2005, which generally abolished joint-and-several liability, and now requires apportionment of damages between tortfeasors. The Court of Appeal concluded that apportionment was inappropriate in this case because the defendant company was sued on a vicarious liability theory.
Lamar, Archer & Cofrin v. Appling – Legal Reform
U.S. Supreme Court
The NFIB Legal Center filed an amicus brief arguing that the U.S. Bankruptcy Code prohibits the discharge of loans for dishonest debtors who lie about specific assets—as opposed to making a misstatement about their overall financial condition.
Certainteed Corp. v. Fletcher – Legal Reform
Georgia Supreme Court
The issue in this case is whether manufacturers can be held liable for negligence in asbestos cases involving take-home exposure. A decade ago, the Georgia Supreme Court found that it would “expand traditional tort concepts beyond manageable bounds and create an almost infinite universe of potential plaintiffs” to find that an employer has a duty to anyone who comes in contact with the clothing of an employee who works with or near asbestos-containing products. Georgia was among the first states to reject a duty in take-home cases. This latest case targets a manufacturer of asbestos-containing cement water pipe, rather than an employer. The plaintiff argues that the court should impose a duty on manufacturers to third parties, even though the Court found employers have no such duty. The intermediate appellate court disregarded Williams and imposed a duty on the basis that the manufacturer could foresee that family members of workers would be exposed to its products. NFIB legal center argues in its amicus brief that such a dichotomy lacks a reasoned public policy basis. It is contrary to Georgia law and the majority of states, and it will result in more questionable asbestos claims against manufacturers in Georgia courts.
Federal Trade Commission v. LabMd – Regulatory Reform
11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Georgia Supreme Court – 5/15/15
The Legal Center joined a coalition brief asking the state supreme court to overturn an appellate decision that upheld an award of more than $4 million to a retired sheet metal worker and his wife. The plaintiff here did not exhibit symptoms of mesothelioma until decades after his initial asbestos exposure.