In its annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) put Georgia on the watch list for the second year in the row.
Each year, the ATRA ranks state or municipal court systems that are most in need of reform because of rulings that have increased liability for businesses. Georgia fell just below the top eight, with ATRA noting several Georgia Supreme Court rulings that have significantly expanded civil liability.
The 2017-2018 ATRA report called out three issues in particular for the Peach State:
- Premises Liability: Both high and lower courts in Georgia have issued rulings that have expanded liability for property owners and landowners.
- Expansion of Medical Liability: In 2017, the Georgia Court of Appeals for the Fourth Division allowed a vicarious liability claim to proceed against a medical practice, despite the fact that they were added to the lawsuit after the two-year statute of limitations had expired.
- Runaway Jury Verdicts and the ‘Walden’ Decision: Courts in Bryan County, Douglas County, and DeKalb County all issued verdicts with awards that dramatically outweighed the medical expenses and reasonable compensation for the injuries claimed. Now, the Georgia Supreme Court considers a wrongful death and pain-and-suffering case against the CEO of Chrysler instead of the driver at fault. The original verdict granted an award of a stunning $150 million, which was first lowered by a trial judge and then upheld by an intermediate appellate panel. “So now it’s up to the Georgia Supreme Court to restore sanity,” the report said. “If it doesn’t, Georgia will likely find itself ranked among Judicial Hellholes before long.”
To read the full report, visit http://www.judicialhellholes.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/judicial-hellholes-report-2017-2018.pdf.