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FMG Law Blog Line

Archive for March, 2010

Medical Malpractice Damage Caps Struck Down

Posted on: March 23rd, 2010

By Philip W. Savrin and Jonathan J. Kandel

Six months after hearing oral arguments in Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt, 2010 WL 1004996 (Ga. Mar. 22, 2010), the Georgia Supreme Court struck down O.C.G.A. § 51-13-1, which had limited damages in medical malpractice cases.  The statute, which was originally enacted in 2005 as part of the Georgia Tort Reform Act, capped a plaintiff’s non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case to $350,000.  (more…)

The Supreme Court of Georgia Upholds the Offer of Settlement Statute

Posted on: March 15th, 2010

By:  Matthew P. Stone and Todd H. Surden

Today, in Smith v. Salon Baptiste, 2010 WL 889557 (Ga. Mar. 15, 2010), the Supreme Court of Georgia upheld O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68, Georgia’s offer of settlement statute.  The statute, which is part of Georgia’s Tort Reform Act of 2005, allows a defendant to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation if he makes an offer of settlement that the plaintiff rejects (expressly or by passage of time), and the final judgment is one of no liability or is less than 75% of the offer.  Likewise, a plaintiff can recover reasonable attorney’s fees if he makes an offer of settlement that the defendant rejects (expressly or by passage of time), and then recovers a final judgment that is more than 125% of the offer.  (more…)

Non-settling Co-defendants Be Warned: Set-offs May Be Dead in Georgia

Posted on: March 1st, 2010

By Sun Choy and Jacob E. Daly

In personal injury cases, plaintiffs often sue multiple defendants with “deep pockets” in order to maximize the potential for recovery. If the defendants are determined to be joint tortfeasors, then all defendants are jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the plaintiff’s damages. Consequently, a joint tortfeasor is entitled to a set-off for any payment made to a plaintiff by another joint tortfeasor to prevent a windfall to the plaintiff. However, what happens if a settling co-defendant is not a joint tortfeasor? Until recently, no Georgia case directly addressed this issue. (more…)

Rigid Leave Policies Draw EEOC Ire

Posted on: March 1st, 2010

By Fred Dawkins and Betsy Turner

In early February, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finalized the largest single-lawsuit Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) settlement in its history. Pursuant to that settlement, Sears will distribute $6.2 million to resolve the ADA claims of 235 former employees. In the suit, the EEOC alleged that Sears maintained an inflexible workers’ compensation leave exhaustion policy which violated the ADA. Under the Sears policy, an employee whose workers’ compensation leave lasted more than one year was automatically terminated without any consideration of whether a reasonable accommodation (such as additional leave) might have allowed that employee to return to work. In addition to paying approximately $26,300 to each of the former employees, Sears has to: (1) amend its workers’ compensation leave policy; (2) provide written reports to the EEOC detailing its ADA compliance practices; (3) train employees on ADA issues; and (4) post a notice of the settlement at all Sears locations. (more…)

Understanding the Perils of Submitting an Incorrect Public Works Bid

Posted on: March 1st, 2010

By Arthur Ebbs

There is no denying that private construction work is generally down in the present economy. Yet during this lull in private work, it is anticipated that funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act will ultimately provide increased opportunities for contractors to compete for public work. However, bidding on and performing public work can be risky for the uninitiated. Contractors not used to dealing with local governments and state agencies should be cognizant of the pitfalls of bidding on public contracts, particularly respective to bid mistakes. The government is anxious to lock in the low bidder, and the bidder must balance entering into a contract with an insufficient price against paying out on a mandatory bid bond. (more…)