Articles Posted in Georgia

The Georgia Court of Appeals has tossed a $459 million junk fax verdict on Wednesday, finding that the trial judge erred in concluding that the defendant sent 306,000 unsolicited fax advertisements because plaintiffs did not prove the faxes had been received.

Wow, $459 million for faxes? Juries are crazy. Well, actually, this was a bench trial but let’s not ruin the tort reformers narrative. I’m sure all the tort reform folks will pretend that (1) a jury decided this, (2) this was a tort action, and (3) there is a chance this is a collectible verdict against a siding, window, and gutter installation company that was in business between 2002 to 2004.

But, look, I think these junk faxes lawsuits are a little ridiculous myself. The idea of plaintiffs – or frankly their lawyers – getting money because they got a junk fax just seems ridiculous to me. I realize there is an economic burden associated with junk faxes and these claims might not be as petty in the macro picture as their are in the micro-picture. But on some human level, it is a fax, it is a cold call, let’s not get so worked up about nothing.

A federal court in Georgia ruled that Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibits “tweeting” from the courtroom.

The court basically found that Federal Rule 53 that prohibits photographs prohibits tweeting. Earlier this year, a Kansas court went the other way on this, ruling that a reporter could tweet a racketeering trial.

Personally, I this the call in Kansas was a better one. At some point, we all need to face – like it or not – this is 2009.

Maryland and Georgia both have rulings on tap from their high courts on caps on economic damages. Georgia got the ball rolling yesterday when the Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on whether its cap on damages for medical malpractice claims is constitutional. A Georgia medical malpractice lawyer argued for the Plaintiff that the tort reform law in 2005 is unconstitutional because it grants unfair preferences and exemptions to hospital emergency departments.

Plaintiffs have a real shot in this case. The Georgia high court has previously stuck down laws that gave special exemptions to asbestos manufacturers facing property claims. Stay tuned….

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that a wrongful death action on behalf of the family of the county court reporter killed in the March 11, 2005, courthouse shootings may file a negligence lawsuit against the Fulton County sheriff. At issue was whether Fulton County Sheriff Myron E. Freeman is a “county employee” protected from negligence lawsuits by the workers’ compensation statute. Reversing the trial court, the Georgia Court of Appeals found that Sheriff Freeman is not an employee but instead “an elected constitutional county officer.”

A trial judge in Fulton County, Georgia has struck down Georgia’s cap in medical malpractice cases, if in fact in the legislature’s cap of $350,000 for non-economic damages was unconstitutional in its affording of special protections to doctors.

My guess is that this new rule will not spin because the Georgia Supreme Court will not agree. Practically, it may be a bad thing for injury victims if they do, because it would not be surprising to see Georgia Legislature respond by extending the cap on damages to old tort victims as opposed to singling out victims of medical malpractice.

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