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Full-Text Articles in Law

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr May 2024

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s 2023 class-action decisions continued to grapple with Article III standing requirements while also demonstrating, in two decisions, the court’s longstanding generally permissive posture toward approval of class-action settlements. A significant deviation from the latter tendency is the court’s increasingly isolated position on payment of incentive awards to class representatives. Alone among the circuits, the court prohibits such payments, creating an inter-circuit conflict that seems inevitably headed to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, within the circuit, class counsel face a unique hurdle in crafting settlements and dealing with class representatives.


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta May 2024

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta

Mercer Law Review

The 2023 Survey period yielded important trial practice decisions in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ranging from overruling long‑standing precedent relating to arbitration and issuing opinions of first impression relating to attempts to limit arbitration, attempts to limit copyright infringement remedies, what makes a statutory provision “jurisdictional,” and contracting around statutory interest rates. This Article analyzes some of this Survey period’s notable and first impression opinions in the Eleventh Circuit but is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of the Eleventh Circuit’s important decisions during the Survey period.


Pick Your Poison: Opioids Following The Trends Set By Alcohol And Tobacco Litigation, Luckshume Ketheeswaran Mar 2024

Pick Your Poison: Opioids Following The Trends Set By Alcohol And Tobacco Litigation, Luckshume Ketheeswaran

Mercer Law Review

Parents, children, and siblings of opioid abusers argued that three large-scale, drug distributors improperly supplied opioids to pharmacies, leading to “abuse of the drugs and the fallout that abuse brought with it.”3 Further, they argued that profit-driven distributors willingly and recklessly “flooded” the city of Brunswick and Glynn County with opioids. Even so, the jury found against the plaintiffs; though potentially sympathetic to the lives ruined by opioids, the jury remained unconvinced that all liability fell on the distributors.

On March 1, 2023, the jury found for the three, large‑scale drug distributors, finding the defendants neither liable under Georgia’s Drug …


Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel Dec 2023

Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses selected opinions and legislation of interest to Georgia civil trial practitioners issued during the survey period of this publication.


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 …


Confederate Standoff: The Georgia Supreme Court Clarifies Standing Requirements In Sons Of Confederate Veterans V. Henry County Board Of Commissioners, Clay Wright Dec 2023

Confederate Standoff: The Georgia Supreme Court Clarifies Standing Requirements In Sons Of Confederate Veterans V. Henry County Board Of Commissioners, Clay Wright

Mercer Law Review

The Supreme Court of Georgia’s ruling in Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Henry County Board of Commissioners marks a transformative moment in the evolution of Georgia’s standing doctrine. The case delves into the dimensions of standing in Georgia courts, specifically addressing whether community stakeholders, such as citizens, residents, taxpayers,and voters, must prove an individualized injury to establish standing when raising a general grievance against their local government.


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta, Grace B. Callanan Jun 2023

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta, Grace B. Callanan

Mercer Law Review

The 2022 Survey period yielded decisions involving issues of first impression relating to federal trial practice and procedure in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. This Article analyzes recent trial practice developments in the Eleventh Circuit, including significant rulings in the areas of consumer debt collections, arbitration, copyrights, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54, and a rule change regarding party disclosures.


Game, Set, …Tie? The Eleventh Circuit Gives Courts Discretion To Refrain From Choosing A Prevailing Party, Tessa Sizemore Jun 2023

Game, Set, …Tie? The Eleventh Circuit Gives Courts Discretion To Refrain From Choosing A Prevailing Party, Tessa Sizemore

Mercer Law Review

During the National Football League’s (NFL) 2022 opening week, the Houston Texans game versus the Indianapolis Colts ended in a tie after an impressive fourth-quarter comeback by the Colts. This is only the nineteenth opening week tie in NFL history. Much like that Texans-Colts game, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit hosted a legal dispute which ended in a tie this year. While the American legal system is no game, it is certainly a surprise when our adversarial system produces a legal result with no winner.


For Whom The Church Bells Toll: The Supreme Court Of Georgia Resolves The Issue Of Whether Fraud Can Toll The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Abuse Claims, Sydney Thompson Jun 2023

For Whom The Church Bells Toll: The Supreme Court Of Georgia Resolves The Issue Of Whether Fraud Can Toll The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Abuse Claims, Sydney Thompson

Mercer Law Review

In January of 2002, the Boston Globe published an article detailing widespread allegations of child sexual abuse by serial pedophiles and a sophisticated coverup that implicated high ranking clergy members. In the aftermath of the article, thousands of men and women from across the United States came forward with their own allegations, which revealed patterns of abuse and deception in dioceses around the country. The wave of litigation that followed raised compelling questions about statutes of limitations, discovery rules, and the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse.

Twenty years after the Globe’s article, the Supreme Court of Georgia decided …


Class Action, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr Jun 2023

Class Action, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit worked its way through a varied menu of class-action issues during 2022, including the multifaceted problem of uninjured class members—which the court has decided to consider en banc—as well as several class-action jurisdictional issues. The court also declined to rehear en banc its controversial 2020 decision prohibiting class-representative incentive awards, a decision that the Supreme Court recently declined to review as well.


Why Standing Matters, Jeffrey G. Casurella Mar 2023

Why Standing Matters, Jeffrey G. Casurella

Mercer Law Review

On December 12, 2020, Donald Trump tweeted:

The Supreme Court had ZERO interest in the merits of the greatest voter fraud ever perpetrated on the United States of America. All they were interested in is “standing[,]” which makes it very difficult for the President to present a case on the merits. 75,000,000 votes

President Trump’s outburst du jour came on the heels of a Supreme Court of the United States case filed in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. That case was brought by the State of Texas against four defendants—the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the States of Georgia, …


Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel Dec 2022

Trial Practice And Procedure, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses selected opinions and legislation of interest to the Georgia civil trial practitioner issued during the Survey period of this publication.


Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr May 2022

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s 2021 class-action work featured an important decision on the existence of an independent ascertainability requirement for class certification. In an abrupt reversal of two unpublished opinions acknowledging the existence of such a requirement, the court aligned itself with most circuits that have addressed the question in demoting the ascertainability of class membership to a factor to be considered in establishing the manageability of a class action, rather than an independent requirement. The court’s other significant cases concerned class settlements and standing.


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta May 2022

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta

Mercer Law Review

The 2021 Survey period yielded decisions involving issues of first impression relating to federal trial practice and procedure in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. This Article analyzes recent trial practice developments in the Eleventh Circuit, including significant rulings in the areas of consumer debt collections, removal, jurisdiction and abstention, arbitration, and sanctions.


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 …


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 …


So Help Me, God, Decide This Case: The Eleventh Circuit’S New Standard For Dismissing Religious Jurors During Deliberations, Amanda Claxton May 2022

So Help Me, God, Decide This Case: The Eleventh Circuit’S New Standard For Dismissing Religious Jurors During Deliberations, Amanda Claxton

Mercer Law Review

You are on trial for a crime. Maybe you did precisely what the government claims, though perhaps not. However, a judge will not decide your fate because you exercised your constitutional right to a jury trial. During deliberations, you hear that a juror practices a religion condemning those who commit the crime you are accused of. You feel the juror would unfairly prejudice your chances of walking away freely. To your dismay, the judge refuses to dismiss the juror. You ask whether allowing this prejudicial juror to determine your fate is legal. After United States v. Brown, it is. …


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 …


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.


Family Feuds And Circuit Splits: A Clash Between Corporate Cousins Causes The Eleventh Circuit To Revisit The “Long-Lost” Burford Abstention Doctrine, William Wheeler Apr 2022

Family Feuds And Circuit Splits: A Clash Between Corporate Cousins Causes The Eleventh Circuit To Revisit The “Long-Lost” Burford Abstention Doctrine, William Wheeler

Mercer Law Review

Corporate litigation is often a highly complex process. The rules and regulations surrounding shareholder demands, derivative lawsuits, review committees, and corporate dissolution create a convoluted procedural web that can be exceedingly difficult to untangle. Due to this complexity, federal court is an attractive choice for many civil litigants; federal forums have predictable and established rules of procedure and federal judges tend to have more time to give each case individualized consideration. These factors can accelerate and smooth the litigation process. However, throughout the last two decades, litigants in corporate dissolution actions have had no choice but to seek relief in …


The Objection Exception Is Overruled! The Georgia Supreme Court Makes A Course Correction By Reviving The Contemporaneous Objection Rule, Ryan Read Apr 2022

The Objection Exception Is Overruled! The Georgia Supreme Court Makes A Course Correction By Reviving The Contemporaneous Objection Rule, Ryan Read

Mercer Law Review

What comes to mind when you think of evidence being presented at jury trials? Typically, both sides prevent evidence to the jury, and both sides fight hard to make sure no prejudicial evidence is allowed in that would bias the jury against their client. Both sides also work hard to prepare persuasive openings and closings to further affect the jury’s perception of their client, the opposition, and the evidence that has been presented. So, when an attorney on one side makes prejudicial statements about the opposing counsel’s client, one would naturally expect an objection to be made, right? Well, in …


The Party Respectfully Requests A Jury Trial On All Issues So Triable: What Issues Are Triable To A Jury And What Issues Should Be Triable To A Jury? A Comment On The Right To A Jury Trial, With A Focus On Civil Trials, And When The Right Exists, Michael Downing Apr 2022

The Party Respectfully Requests A Jury Trial On All Issues So Triable: What Issues Are Triable To A Jury And What Issues Should Be Triable To A Jury? A Comment On The Right To A Jury Trial, With A Focus On Civil Trials, And When The Right Exists, Michael Downing

Mercer Law Review

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . . .” But what about civil prosecutions? What about prosecutions under state law, not federal? What does the universally expected “right to a jury trial” really mean or afford the parties to a trial?

Under federal law and the United States Constitution, by the time the Bill of Rights was drafted, the ideal of an accused’s right to a jury trial was already deeply rooted within …


Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Daniel E. Philyaw, L'Zandra V. Jones Dec 2021

Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Daniel E. Philyaw, L'Zandra V. Jones

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses selected opinions and legislation of interest to the Georgia civil trial practitioner issued during the Survey period of this publication.


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Kevin R. Stone Jul 2021

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Kevin R. Stone

Mercer Law Review

The 2020 survey period yielded noteworthy decisions relating to federal trial practice and procedure in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, several of which involved issues of first impression. This Article analyzes recent developments in the Eleventh Circuit, including significant rulings in the areas of statutory interpretation, subject matter jurisdiction, civil procedure, class actions, and other issues of interest to the trial practitioner.


Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr Jul 2021

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

A major decision outlawing “incentive” or “service” awards to named class representatives in settlements highlighted the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s class-action work during 2020. The court became the first court to prohibit such awards, disrupting settlement negotiations across the circuit—if not elsewhere—while challenging courts and litigants to identify the precise scope of the new doctrine. In other cases this year, the court tackled issues related to class settlements, standing, and exceptions to Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) jurisdiction, and decided what looks to be the beginning of the end of the Florida tobacco-litigation appeals that …


Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Ramsey B. Prather, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Michael F. Williford Dec 2020

Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Ramsey B. Prather, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Michael F. Williford

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses selected opinions and legislation of interest to the Georgia civil trial practitioner issued during the Survey period of this publication.


A Bleak House: The Story Behind The Oldest Legal Controversy In The State Of Georgia, Clayton T. Kendrick Dec 2020

A Bleak House: The Story Behind The Oldest Legal Controversy In The State Of Georgia, Clayton T. Kendrick

Mercer Law Review

Bleak Houseis a novel written by Charles Dickens, which centers around the fictional English Court of Chancery case Jarndyce and Jarndyce.The fictional case concerns a dispute surrounding a large inheritance that drags on for several generations.As Dickens put it,

Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on . . . . Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it . . . . The little plaintiff or defendant, who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled, has grown up, possessed himself …


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Michelle L. Mcclafferty, Tala Amirfazli, Adelyn B. Boleman Jun 2020

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Michelle L. Mcclafferty, Tala Amirfazli, Adelyn B. Boleman

Mercer Law Review

The 2018 - 2019 survey period yielded noteworthy decisions relating to federal trial practice and procedure in the Eleventh Circuit, several of which involved issues of first impression. This article analyzes recent developments in the Eleventh Circuit, including significant rulings in the areas of civil procedure, statutory interpretation, class actions, arbitration and subject matter jurisdiction.


Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Ramsey B. Prather, Michael F. Williford Jan 2020

Trial Practice And Procedure, Brandon L. Peak, Joseph M. Colwell, Christopher B. Mcdaniel, Rory A. Weeks, Ramsey B. Prather, Michael F. Williford

Mercer Law Review

This Article addresses several significant opinions and legislation of interest to the Georgia civil trial practitioner issued during the survey period of this publication.

  • Appeals
  • Apportionment
  • Attorney's Fees
  • Damages
  • Discovery, Evidence, and Sanctions
  • Dismissal and Renewal
  • Jurisdiction and Venue
  • Jury Instructions
  • Offers of Judgment
  • Statutes of Limitations


Electronic Discovery, Alex Khoury, James R. Williams Jr. Jul 2018

Electronic Discovery, Alex Khoury, James R. Williams Jr.

Mercer Law Review

Cooperation, proportionality, and spoliation were the hot topics in electronic discovery in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 2017. Multiple courts joined in Chief Justice Roberts' plea for cooperation in e-Discovery in his 2015 Year End Report on the Federal Judiciary, with a few even requiring the parties and their attorneys to read the Report before bringing additional discovery motions. On the proportionality front, several courts used the proportionality factors to limit e-Discovery burdens imposed on small businesses. On the spoliation battlefield, e-Discovery sanctions continue to punish bad actors, but there has been a decrease …