Balance the Scales

Why Georgia is a "Judicial Hellhole"

Back to archive

Conditions in the “Peach State” have rapidly deteriorated over the past few years to the point that the state has become a full-blown Judicial Hellhole for the first time. Following the Georgia Supreme Court’s lead, trial courts across the state have issued liability-expanding decisions. Outrageous nuclear verdicts have become the norm. Premises liability and medical liability are the areas that have been targeted most heavily. The legislature must take immediate action to improve the legal environment if Georgia hopes to be removed from the list anytime soon.

DRAMATIC EXPANSION OF PREMISES LIABILITY

The Georgia Supreme Court set the stage for courts across the state to expand premises liability for landowners with its landmark decision in Martin v. Six Flags Over Georgia. Here, the plaintiff was attacked by assailants at a bus stop outside of a Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park. A Georgia jury reached a $35 million dollar verdict, imposing 92% of the damages on Six Flags and just 2% to each of the four named attackers. The state high court unanimously ruled that businesses are subject to liability for harm to a customer even when it is a result of crime that occurred off of its property if criminal activity is allegedly “foreseeable.” The Court required a retrial, but only because the trial court had improperly refused to allow the jury to even consider the fault of additional individuals involved in the attack...