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Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Two Tort Reform Statutes

In a twin blow to trial lawyers yesterday the Georgia Supreme Court upheld two provisions of the state's 2005 tort reform statute. (Prior post.)

In Smith v. Baptiste the court upheld an offer of judgment rule (codified at O.C.G.A. 9-11-68) that allows a defendant in a tort case to 'shift' its attorneys fees to the plaintiff if the plaintiff refuses to accept an offer of settlement and ultimately fails to recover more than the amount offered. (Prior post on Georgia offer of judgment rule). The offer of judgment rule was adopted as part of Georgia's comprehensive tort reform legislation in 2005.

In Gliemmo v. Cousineau the court upheld the Georgia statute's limitation of liability for emergency room doctors which limits liability only to claims resulting from "gross negligence."

Groups affiliated with trial lawyers had attacked both elements of the tort reform statute on constitutional grounds. I hope to supplement this post with a longer analysis of the offer of judgment rule case shortly.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.