Aug 12, 2021

THE GEORGIA SUMPREME COURT LIMITS THE APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT IN TORT CASES

An important aspect of Georgia’s Tort Reform Act of 2005 addressed the apportionment of fault among the responsible parties. Georgia law traditionally recognized joint and severally liability among parties liable for a plaintiff’s injuries—any defendant found liable could be required to pay 100 percent of the damages awarded. The Tort Reform Act of 2005 did away with some aspects of joint and several liability. But, how much really changed? In Alston & Bird, LLP v. Hatcher Management Holdings, LLC, Case No. S20G1419 (decided August 10, 2021), the Georgia Supreme Court limited the changes made by the Tort Reform Act. The… Read more


May 20, 2021

The Importance of Error Preservation

It breaks the heart of an appellate lawyer to read an opinion in which an appellate court notes that an error alleged on appeal was not properly preserved in the trial court. Properly preserving a claim of error is the first step to a successful appeal. The recent decision of the Georgia Supreme Court in Williams v. Harvey, Case No. S20G1121 (decided May 17, 2021), highlights the importance of knowing how to preserve errors for appeal. The case addressed the relationship between motions in limine and objections made during trial. A party can file a pre-trial motion in limine to… Read more


May 18, 2021

Georgia Looks at the Creation of a Contract Through a Phone App

Consumers increasingly conduct business on their phones. They create accounts and make purchases through apps on their phone. But when does a consumer create a binding contract when he conducts business on his phone? The Georgia Court of Appeals addressed that in Thornton v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. A21A0131 (decided May 17, 2021). The issue in Thornton was the enforceability of an arbitration agreement contained in Uber’s terms of service. To use Uber, a consumer downloads an app onto his phone and uses the app to create an account. During the course of creating an account, a notice appears… Read more


Feb 2, 2021

Interesting Cert Grants From The Georgia Supreme Court

GA Supreme Court

On February 1, 2021, the Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari in two cases that may have wide significance to attorneys practicing in Georgia. In Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. v. McCall, Case No. S20G1368, Georgia Supreme Court will examine whether Georgia courts can exercise general personal jurisdiction over non-Georgia corporations that have registered to do business in Georgia. In the early 1990s, the Georgia Supreme Court held that Georgia law allowed a Georgia court to exercise general jurisdiction over a non-Georgia corporation that had registered to do business in Georgia. Under general personal jurisdiction, a company can be sued in… Read more


Nov 2, 2020

DISTRACTED DRIVING AND SNAPCHAT (PART 2)

Snapchat

The case of Maynard v. Snapshot, Inc., Case No. A20A1218 (decided October 30, 2020), returned to the Georgia Court of Appeals. This time, the focus of the case was on an important issue of product liability law in Georgia. The case involved a role that the popular social media app Snapchat played in an automobile accident. The app contains a “speed filter” that allows you “snap” and post a photograph that shows the speed at which the user is moving. A driver was attempting to reach the speed of 100 mph so that she could capture that speed on a… Read more


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

THE END (ALMOST) OF “PHYSICAL PRECEDENT” IN GEORGIA

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