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Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun: Supreme Court Of Georgia Expands The Possible Remedies For A Confidential Breach Of Fiduciary Relationship And Analyzed Certified Questions Of Law, Olivia M. Sanders Apr 2024

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun: Supreme Court Of Georgia Expands The Possible Remedies For A Confidential Breach Of Fiduciary Relationship And Analyzed Certified Questions Of Law, Olivia M. Sanders

Mercer Law Review

The crux of the Supreme Court of Georgia’s decision in King v. King revolved around one theme: the consequences for a party that fails to disclose information in a confidential and fiduciary relationship. In King, the plaintiff’s difficult circumstances began over three decades earlier when his father died in a plane crash and a wrongful death suit was filed on his behalf. Though the plaintiff became entitled to settlement funds as a result of the wrongful death suit, the plaintiff never received the funds and filed a suit accordingly, alleging that the defendant breached his fiduciary duties and converted the …


A Run For Your Money: The Supreme Court Of Georgia In Taylor V. Devereux Foundation, Inc. Upholds The Constitutionality Of The Statutory Cap On Punitive Damages, Rachel N. Ratajczak Dec 2023

A Run For Your Money: The Supreme Court Of Georgia In Taylor V. Devereux Foundation, Inc. Upholds The Constitutionality Of The Statutory Cap On Punitive Damages, Rachel N. Ratajczak

Mercer Law Review

The sky is the limit! This idiom rings true, except for plaintiffs in many states who dream of million-dollar punitive damage awards. Many states have statutorily capped punitive damage awards, despite their role as “quasi-criminal . . . private fines” to punish defendants for their wrong-doing, and to deter future similar conduct by others. Challenges to statutory caps have plagued both federal and state courts for decades.

In 2023, the Supreme Court of Georgia in Taylor v. Devereux Foundation, Inc. addressed whether O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(g), Georgia’s statutory cap on punitive damages, violates the right to trial by jury, separation …


Torts: Hear Me Roar, Pamela Wilkins Dec 2023

Torts: Hear Me Roar, Pamela Wilkins

Mercer Law Review

The Supreme Court of Georgia decided only a handful of tort and tort-adjacent cases in 2022–2023. But don’t mistake the small number for small impact. Quite the opposite. The 2022–2023 term included at least two tort-adjacent blockbusters in General Motors, LLC v. Buchanan and Taylor v. Devereux Foundation, Inc. It also included a significant products liability case, Domingue v. Ford Motor Co.; two cases exploring the significance of non-disclosure in fraud cases; and several cases clarifying the scope of earlier precedents. Buchanan, Taylor, and Domingue all included amicus briefs—a lot of amicus briefs—a sure signal of …


I Am Not My Brother’S Keeper: A Brief History Of Georgia’S Apportionment Statute And The Future Of Tort Reform, Jordan S. Lipp Mar 2023

I Am Not My Brother’S Keeper: A Brief History Of Georgia’S Apportionment Statute And The Future Of Tort Reform, Jordan S. Lipp

Mercer Law Review

Imagine approaching a stop sign in Hamilton, Georgia and illegally rolling through it. After you make your rolling stop and pull out into the road, a driver T-bones your car, and your gas tank erupts into flames. Can you recover anything for your injuries, and if so, from whom?

The answer could turn on the jurisdiction in which you live and, in Georgia, the number of people you name as parties to the lawsuit. Can you sue the car manufacturer, even though the driver probably sparked the fire? Can you recover damages, even though you could have avoided the accident …


Buckle Up! The Supreme Court Of Georgia Provides Clarity To The State’S Seatbelt Statute In Domingue V. Ford Motor Company, Olivia Durkin Mar 2023

Buckle Up! The Supreme Court Of Georgia Provides Clarity To The State’S Seatbelt Statute In Domingue V. Ford Motor Company, Olivia Durkin

Mercer Law Review

Imagine a loved one being in a severe accident where the seatbelt did not work in the way it was intended. As a result, you decide to hold the car manufacturer accountable, alleging negligence in the seatbelt design. During the discovery process, the car manufacturer attempts to shield themselves from liability by either producing evidence or alluding to the fact your loved one was not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the accident. Such evidence would be harmful to your case; what can you do?

You are in luck. Georgia has a statute with a provision that the failure …


Georgians “Waive” Goodbye To The Prospect Of Full Compensation In Car Wrecks Caused By Municipalities: Automatic Governmental Immunity Waiver’S Interplay With Liability Insurance, W. Jackson Latty Mar 2023

Georgians “Waive” Goodbye To The Prospect Of Full Compensation In Car Wrecks Caused By Municipalities: Automatic Governmental Immunity Waiver’S Interplay With Liability Insurance, W. Jackson Latty

Mercer Law Review

Arguably two of the most axiomatic interests the Georgia legislature must consider when enacting laws are the interests of local governments to carry out public works and individual citizens’ abilities to seek full and adequate relief when they have been injured by the wrong of another. For example, although police officers generally enjoy immunity for acts performed in their official capacity, there is also a compelling government interest in allowing individuals to recover for a police officer’s negligent or reckless conduct, recoveries which often repay local hospitals or government insurance systems for treatment otherwise covered by taxpayer dollars. These two …


Torts, David Hricik Dec 2022

Torts, David Hricik

Mercer Law Review

The Supreme Court of Georgia’s decisions from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, ran the gamut in terms of both significance and subjects. Among the major decisions affecting Georgia tort law were the court’s decisions addressing apportionment, personal jurisdiction, defamation, products liability, and intellectual property.


No More “Heads Defendants Win, Tails Plaintiffs Lose”: How The Georgia Supreme Court’S Relation Back Decision In Cannon Rebalances Pleading Power, Jordan Lipp May 2022

No More “Heads Defendants Win, Tails Plaintiffs Lose”: How The Georgia Supreme Court’S Relation Back Decision In Cannon Rebalances Pleading Power, Jordan Lipp

Mercer Law Review

Imagine your daughter dying in a high-speed police chase—when she was not even the driver that evaded police or caused the crash. You want to hold someone accountable, but you do not know who the right person is if you sue: the deputy, the sheriff in his personal capacity, the sheriff in his official capacity, the county, the sheriff’s office, the county commissioners, the insurer of the police car? You sue the wrong one, and it is too late. Now what?

Thankfully for you, Georgia has forgiving pleading standards. Relation back is a legal fiction that assumes a claim was …


It’S Time To Resolve The Circuit Split: Unconstitutional Actions By Federal Employees Should Not Fall Within The Scope Of The Discretionary Function Exception Of The Ftca, Laney Ivey May 2022

It’S Time To Resolve The Circuit Split: Unconstitutional Actions By Federal Employees Should Not Fall Within The Scope Of The Discretionary Function Exception Of The Ftca, Laney Ivey

Mercer Law Review

The Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) is an avenue for United States citizens to sue the federal government for torts committed by government employees within the scope of their work. Congress designed the FTCA to allow citizens to overcome the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which allows citizens to recover from injuries suffered at the hands of government agents. Under the FTCA, there are exceptions where recovery is not allowed; the most prominent exception is known as the discretionary function exception, under which discretionary actions by government employees are immune from liability under the FTCA.


Creating A Civil Remedy In Georgia For Survivors Of Out-Of-State Childhood Sexual Abuse, Alexandra H. Bradley May 2022

Creating A Civil Remedy In Georgia For Survivors Of Out-Of-State Childhood Sexual Abuse, Alexandra H. Bradley

Mercer Law Review

Sexual abuse casts long shadows and causes long-lasting effects on its survivors, particularly children. Especially tragic, most abused children are abused by an adult whom that child knows and trusts. This abuse by anyone, especially by a child’s parents or close family friend, often causes lifelong emotional damage. Survivors generally do not recognize the extent of their abuse until many years later.

This late onset or delayed discovery has made it difficult for courts to provide redress. Although technically children could sue their abuser when the abuse occurs, children generally do not know they have a cause of action, nor …


Government Discretion Advised (Even If It’S Unconstitutional): How The Eleventh Circuit Has Expanded The United States’S Immunity From Tort Suits, John Rodriquez May 2022

Government Discretion Advised (Even If It’S Unconstitutional): How The Eleventh Circuit Has Expanded The United States’S Immunity From Tort Suits, John Rodriquez

Mercer Law Review

Mackie Shivers, a sixty-four-year-old man, was stabbed in the eye by his mentally-ill cellmate with a pair of scissors. Although the attack left Shivers permanently blind, he received no legal remedy to compensate him for his injuries. This result is due, at least in part, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s decision to interpret the discretionary function exception to the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) in a broader way than virtually all of its sister circuits. The holding by the Eleventh Circuit in Shivers v. United States bars FTCA claims under the exception even for …


Torts, Pamela A. Wilkins Dec 2021

Torts, Pamela A. Wilkins

Mercer Law Review

The Georgia Supreme Court’s torts decisions of the June 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021, survey period ran the gamut. Dog bite liability? Check. Proximate cause? Check. Negligent misrepresentation by a sperm bank? Alas, check. And apportionment of fault? Check, check, check. Two themes emerge from the cases of the past term. First, in the apportionment setting, one sees the court’s commitment to textualism and its readiness to interpret Georgia’s apportionment statutes as abrogating longstanding common-law doctrines. Second—and, not surprisingly, this is most apparent in the court’s business torts jurisprudence—one sees a deference to business interests: this is a business-friendly …


Trouble With Treble Damages For Third Parties: The Georgia Streetgang Terrorism And Prevention Act, S. Meghan Pittman Dec 2021

Trouble With Treble Damages For Third Parties: The Georgia Streetgang Terrorism And Prevention Act, S. Meghan Pittman

Mercer Law Review

As the Georgia Supreme Court has issued its final opinion on the Georgia Streetgang Terrorism and Prevention Act, several issues are now raised. While the interpretation of the statute appears to be correct, the question still arises of whether or not this interpretation is consistent with the legislative intent of this Act as a whole.

Clearly, the issue which the Act was enacted to prevent was harm to innocent third-parties by criminal streetgangs. While a commercial property owners may not be able to fully police the area in which their property is located, shouldn’t these individuals be held to a …


Torts, Jarome E. Gautreaux Dec 2020

Torts, Jarome E. Gautreaux

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses recent cases decided during the survey period in the area of torts. This survey period is especially remarkable for a couple of cases decided by the Georgia Supreme Court that overruled prior precedents.


History Uprooted: Georgia Applies Apportionment To Strict Liability Claims, Carey Sartain Dec 2020

History Uprooted: Georgia Applies Apportionment To Strict Liability Claims, Carey Sartain

Mercer Law Review

Adrienne Johns had experience riding motorcycles for over 20 years when in 2013, total failure of the front brake on his 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 caused him to hit a curb, throwing him from his bike and knocking him unconscious. The accident resulted in Johns being hospitalized for over two months following spinal fusion surgery and surgery to repair his hand. Subsequent to the accident, he discovered that there had been a recall notice from Suzuki related to his bike model’s front brake. At trial, Johns proved that a design defect in the front brake had ultimately caused the brake to …


Could The Rise Of Dockless Scooters Change Contract Law?, John Kendall Mar 2020

Could The Rise Of Dockless Scooters Change Contract Law?, John Kendall

Mercer Law Review

Dockless scooters have been revolutionizing the way individuals in highly populated towns and cities commute on a day-to-day basis across the country. Instead of riding the bus, individuals now have the option to pay money to ride scooters short distances and save themselves the hassle of riding on crowded buses. Among the many issues and questions this creates for lawyers and lawmakers, one particularly noteworthy issue is whether the electronic waivers and arbitration clauses scooter companies require riders to sign before operating the scooters can shield the scooter companies from liability when the unexpected occurs. Currently, the top dockless scooter …


Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., Marcus Strong, Sean P. Robinson Jan 2020

Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., Marcus Strong, Sean P. Robinson

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia product liability law between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2019.1 It covers noteworthy cases decided during this period by the Georgia Supreme Court, Georgia Court of Appeals, and the United States district courts located in Georgia.

  • Product Liability Claims
  • Elements
  • Defenses
  • Spoilation
  • Expert Testimony—The Daubert Standard


Torts, Jarome E. Gautreaux Jan 2020

Torts, Jarome E. Gautreaux

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses recent cases decided during the two-year survey period in the area of torts. It includes cases in most of the areas of tort law, including medical malpractice, and addresses defenses such as immunity.

  • Immunity
  • Ante Litem Notices
  • Food Poisoning
  • Premises Liability
  • Medical Negligence
  • Wrongful Death


United States V. Osman: Including Future Therapy Costs In Mandatory Restitution Awards Is The Growing Trend Among Circuits, But Is It Wise?, Mary Theresa Mahfoud May 2018

United States V. Osman: Including Future Therapy Costs In Mandatory Restitution Awards Is The Growing Trend Among Circuits, But Is It Wise?, Mary Theresa Mahfoud

Mercer Law Review

Mandatory restitution awards for child victims of sex crimes and child pornography now include future therapy costs. This trend, while theoretically increasing the amount of restitution awarded to the victim, can have unintended harmful consequences. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in United States v. Osman, as a matter of first impression, upheld a restitution order under the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act (Mandatory Restitution Act) to include future therapy expenses.

William Edward Osman pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida to the possession, production, …


Premises Liability And Apportionment Following Martin V. Six Flags Over Georgia Ii, L.P., Madeline E. Mcneeley, Jed D. Manton Dec 2017

Premises Liability And Apportionment Following Martin V. Six Flags Over Georgia Ii, L.P., Madeline E. Mcneeley, Jed D. Manton

Mercer Law Review

A nineteen-year-old boy's innocent trip to an amusement park ended in a brutal beating and permanent brain damage. The boy's efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the tragedy ultimately resulted in much-needed clarification of Georgia's law regarding negligent security and apportionment of fault. It is now clear that a landlord can be held responsible for damages caused by criminal activity even when the damages occur beyond the four corners of the landlord's property. Likewise, Martin elucidates that errors in a jury's apportionment verdict can be retried without disturbing the verdict as to liability and damages.


Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., P. Michael Freed, Kristen S. Cawley, Marcus Strong Dec 2017

Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., P. Michael Freed, Kristen S. Cawley, Marcus Strong

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia product liability law between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2017. It covers noteworthy cases decided during this period by the Georgia Supreme Court, Georgia Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States district courts located in Georgia.


Torts, Christopher R. Breault, Christopher B. Newbern, Brian C. Mickelsen Dec 2017

Torts, Christopher R. Breault, Christopher B. Newbern, Brian C. Mickelsen

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys recent developments in Georgia tort law between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017.


Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Christopher R. Breault, Christopher Barwick Newbern Dec 2016

Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Christopher R. Breault, Christopher Barwick Newbern

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys recent developments in Georgia tort law between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016.


Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannan Jr., P. Michael Freed, Jake C. Evans Dec 2015

Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannan Jr., P. Michael Freed, Jake C. Evans

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia product liability law between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2015. It covers noteworthy cases decided during this period by the Georgia Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States district courts located in Georgia.


Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris, Christopher R. Breault Dec 2015

Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris, Christopher R. Breault

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys recent developments in Georgia tort law between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015.


Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris Dec 2014

Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys recent developments in Georgia tort law between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014. During this survey period, the Georgia Supreme Court decided several cases of significance in the medical malpractice arena, and a seven-judge panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals was called upon to decide a slip-and-fall case. Some might argue that a few of these cases were victories for the plaintiff's bar. However, a close reading of the opinions reflects some well-reasoned and impressive legal arguments concerning the gross negligence and summary judgment standards applied by Georgia's appellate jurists. These opinions will be cited …


The Seat-Belt Defense In Georgia, Jacob E. Daly Dec 2013

The Seat-Belt Defense In Georgia, Jacob E. Daly

Mercer Law Review

For a doctrine of common-law origin, the seat-belt defense is a relatively youthful fifty years old. Credit for the first use of this defense has been attributed to the defendant in Stockinger v. Dunisch, a 1964 case in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in which the plaintiff's damages were reduced by 10% based on the jury's finding that she was negligent for failing to use a seat belt. Despite this initial success, most states have rejected the defense, some legislatively and others judicially, and therefore exclude evidence of a plaintiffs failure to use an available seat belt. The Georgia Court of …


Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr. Dec 2013

Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr.

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia product liability law between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. The Article covers noteworthy cases decided during this period by the Georgia Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States district courts located in Georgia.


Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris Dec 2013

Torts, Phillip Comer Griffeth, Cash V. Morris

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys recent developments in Georgia tort law between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. Throughout this survey period, our appellate courts provided clear recitations of existing tort law, clarified the application and meaning of statutes and existing lines of cases, and recognized liability and defenses in cases of first impression.


Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., Jacob E. Daly Dec 2012

Product Liability, Franklin P. Brannen Jr., Jacob E. Daly

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys developments in Georgia product liability law between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012.'This Article covers noteworthy cases decided during this period by the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States district courts located in Georgia.