Jun 1, 2020

Georgia (For Now) Resists The Latest Trend in Personal Jurisdiction

GA State Court

In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has taken steps to limit the jurisdictional reach of state courts. For now, the Georgia courts are resisting that trend. In several recent cases, the United States Supreme Court has limited the reach of “general” personal jurisdiction. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014); Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017). Specific personal jurisdiction exists when an out-of-state defendant purposefully directs activities towards an in-state resident and those activities give rise to the claims at issue in the lawsuit. General personal jurisdiction exists when an out-of-state defendant has… Read more

Apr 17, 2020


GA Appeal Court

One of the unique aspects of decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals has been the concept of “physical precedent.” With rare exceptions, the Georgia Court of Appeals relies on three-judge panels to decide cases. If one of the judges on a three-judge panel concurred in the judgment but not the panel’s reasoning or, in recent years, if one of the judges dissented, the decision of the court was deemed to be “physical precedent.” It was persuasive authority but not binding authority in subsequent cases. The existence of such decisions required appellate practitioners to pay attention to whether a case… Read more

Nov 20, 2019

The Eleventh Circuit Takes A Hard Look At Standing

Blog_Wasmuth Circuit Court

Article III of the U.S. Constitution provides that federal courts can decide “cases” and “controversies.”  The United States Supreme Court has interpreted that to mean that only a plaintiff who has suffered an “injury in fact” has “standing” to bring a case in federal court.  The Eleventh Circuit most recently addressed the issue of standing in Cordoba v. DirecTV, LLC, Case No. 18-12077 (decided November 15, 2019). In Cordoba, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because he received telephone solicitations from the defendants despite having put his telephone number on a do-not-call list…. Read more

Sep 5, 2019

Standing to Sue for Unsolicited Text Messages

unsolicited text message

In Salcedo v. Hanna, Case No. 17-14077 (decided August 28, 2019), Mr. Salcedo had received a single unsolicited text message from his former lawyer offering a discount on services.  Mr. Salcedo sued Mr. Hanna alleging that the unsolicited text message violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). The TCPA imposes statutory damages of $500 per text, which can be trebled for a text sent knowingly or willfully. Mr. Salcedo sought to represent a class of former clients of Mr. Hanna who had also received such unsolicited text messages.  But, did Mr. Salcedo have “standing” to sue? The United… Read more

Aug 30, 2019

Public Policy and Enforcing Contracts in Georgia

GA Loan Repayment

Several Georgians borrowed modest sums and secured those loans using the proceeds they might recover on personal injury claims.  Repayment of the loans was contingent on the borrowers’ recovering on their personal injury claims.  The borrowers filed a lawsuit against the lenders in Georgia state court alleging that the interest rates on the loans were usurious and violated the Georgia Payday Lending Act and Industrial Loan Act. The lenders removed the case to federal court and argued that the loan agreements required such a lawsuit to be filed in Illinois and also forbid class actions.  But, could those requirements be… Read more

Aug 22, 2019

Eleventh Circuit Limits Local Utility Monopolies

City Water Supply

Can a municipal water utility use its monopoly to increase its natural gas sales to homeowners?  In Diverse Power, Inc. v. City of LaGrange, Georgia, Case No. 18-11014 (decided August 20, 2019), United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit answered “no.” The City of LaGrange enjoys a monopoly on providing water service within the City of LaGrange and in portions of surrounding, unincorporated Troup County. The City also provides natural gas service to those areas.  In 2004, the La Grange City Council passed an ordinance that provided that for new residential construction outside of the city limits of… Read more

Jul 23, 2019

When Can You Apportion Liability For A Group Action?

Liability on Loan

How do you apportion liability among parties equally responsible for a decision? Short answer: Sometimes, you don’t. That was the answer reached by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Loudermilk, Case No. 16-17315 (decided July 22, 2019). The case involved the failed Buckhead Community Bank. After the bank failed, the FDIC, as receiver, sought to hold the directors who served on the loan approval committee liable for allegedly negligently having approved certain risky loans. Eventually, a jury held the committee members liable for approving four loans and awarded the FDIC… Read more

May 21, 2019

Georgia Supreme Court Looking at Data Breach Liability

Personal Data Breach

Data breaches and the unintentional disclosure of personal information are much in the news. Whether such events give rise to tort liability is an issue being looked at by the Georgia Supreme Court. Georgia Department of Labor v. McConnell, Case Nos. S18G1316 and S18G1317 (decided May 20, 2019), involved an unintentional disclosure by the Georgia Department of Labor of the personal information of applicants for unemployment benefits and other Department services.  A Department employee had sent an email to approximately 1000 recipients that included a spreadsheet containing the personal information, including social security numbers, of over 4500 applicants.  One individual… Read more

May 2, 2019

Another Tool to Fight Frivolous Litigation

Tool to Remedy Frivolous Litigation

In Showan v. Pressdee, Case No. 17-15547 (decided April 29, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that litigants in federal court cases governed by Georgia law could invoke a Georgia statute that provides a remedy for frivolous litigation. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68 includes provisions creating a procedure for a party to make an offer of judgment. If a party makes such an offer and the outcome of the case is not as favorable to the other party as accepting the offer of judgment would have been (the statute defines the thresholds), the offering party can recover… Read more

Feb 7, 2019

Is a Foreign Country a More Convenient Forum for Litigation?

Ziplining case: foreign forum for litigation?

O.C.G.A. § 9-10-31.1 allows a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed in Georgia, “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses” when that claim “would be more properly heard in a forum outside of” Georgia. Can a Georgia case be dismissed in favor of a forum of a foreign country? In La Fontaine v. Signature Research, Inc., Case No. S18G0078 (decided February 4, 2019), the Georgia Supreme Court said “no.” The plaintiffs in the case resided in Michigan and the defendant was a Georgia corporation. However, the case arose when the plaintiffs were injured in a fall from a collapsed zip-line… Read more