Articles Posted in Georgia

On November 17, 2011, a Georgia jury awarded $9.85 million to the parents of a child who drowned in a pool at an unlicensed daycare in 2009 ($9.8 million in damages and another $50,000 in pain and suffering).

The facts are tragic. While under the daycare provider’s care, the toddler was left unattended and fell into an unsecured pool on the property and drowned. The suit claimed that the daycare employees lied to the parents about their operation being approved by the state of Georgia when, in fact, it was an unlicensed facility.

Before enrolling children in any program, especially home-based facilities, parents should check with state agencies for licensing information. If a daycare owner has a pool, it is like having a loaded gun lying around. At a minimum, the facility needs to make sure there is a lock and key on that gun and all county codes for safety and security are being met. Parents should never blindly assume that the daycare provider is following all the rules and regulations required.

Woman can’t find her husband. She’s scared. She panics. She frantically calls the motel where she thinks he is staying on a business trip. “Can you please check on my husband?” The motel’s response: “nah.” She calls multiple times. Same answer. Next morning, the hotel housekeeper finds him dead.

Woman files a lawsuit and gets the medical testimony you would have thought had been impossible to get: the man would have lived if he received medical treatment when the motel was asked to check on the man.

The Supreme Court of Georgia, in a 4-3 decision, found that a hotel manager has no legal duty to investigate the health and safety of a guest by request. If the motel had knowledge that its invitee was in “imminent danger because of observation of the physical peril; no manner of investigation or inquiry was at issue.”

The Georgia Court of Appeals has tossed a $459 million junk fax verdict on Wednesday, finding that the trial judge erred in concluding that 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 of 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 collectable 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.

MAG Mutual Insurance provides malpractice insurance to most Georgia doctors and others in the southeast. MAG Mutual Insurance Company is the tenth largest medical professional liability insurer in the United States.

In spite of its continued claims of a medical malpractice lawsuit crisis, MAG Mutual recently approved a dividend distribution its doctor-policyholders. MAG Mutual’s website brags that for the fourth year in a row, and the twelve of the last sixteen years, MAG Mutual has provided a dividend check for its doctors.

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….

A Fulton County jury in Georgia ordered an obstetrician and a pediatrician to pay a combined $2.3 million for their treatment of an infant in a botched circumcision The malpractice lawsuit in this case alleged that the obstetrician and the pediatrician were negligently failed to provide care when part of the boy’s penis was severed during the procedure at South Fulton Medical Center.

The frustrating thing about this case is that it appears to have been negligence that could have been largely fixed. The doctor who circumcised him removed too much tissue. That was mistake number one. If the tip of the penis was placed in a biohazard bag, it could have been reattached if a urologist had attended to the boy within eight hours. But the jury found that the boy’s pediatrician failed to respond when a nurse made him aware of excessive bleeding.

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that a wrongful death action on behalf of 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 is not going to 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.