Category: Legal Reform

Agenda 2004: A Guide to the Issues

Legal Reform Agenda Ensure that Georgia’s tort and contract laws do not discourage the development of business in the state. Ensure that Georgia’s procedural laws are appropriate for the equitable distribution of justice. Require any scientific evidence or other expert testimony to meet a minimum threshold of reliability based on verifiable facts, published literature and industry-accepted standards before being presented to a jury. Adopt a version of the Federal offer of settlement rule to discourage the trial of cases in which there is either little merit to the claims or unreasonable demands for damages. Codify the recent U. S. Supreme Court ruling on punitive damages to give Georgia trial court judges greater latitude when reviewing and a stronger mandate to… View Article
By Mac Gibson and Josh Belinfante A rural Georgia hospital was forced to forego renovations and an expansion of its emergency room.[1] Family practitioners in central Georgia can no longer afford the medical malpractice insurance premiums that accompany delivering children or performing Caesarian sections.[2] Many radiologists are no longer reading mammograms because it can make their premiums unaffordable.[3] Malpractice lawsuits and insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and the litigation juggernaut affects the lives of Georgians every day. Georgia is representative of several states across the nation. The American Medical Association currently lists 19 states, including Georgia, as having a “medical malpractice crisis.”[4] A major cause of the crisis is the dramatic increases in the number of medical… View Article
By Mac Gibson and Josh Belinfante There’s no doubt that Georgia is facing a medical malpractice crisis. Named by the American Medical Association as one of the “crisis” states for having the most radical increases in medical malpractice insurance premiums in 2002, Georgia has seen medical malpractice insurance rates soar more than 150 percent in the past three years. The state’s medical malpractice insurance premiums increase every year, and rates will continue to rise so long as health care providers and hospitals face potentially staggering verdicts in medical malpractice cases. In Georgia, the number of medical malpractice claims of $500,000 or more have doubled since 1995, and claims of $1 million and $2 million or more have tripled. As premiums… View Article
By Brenda C. Fitzgerald, Albert S. Hanser and David H. Hovey Our medical system is out of control. Costs are rising so rapidly and unpredictably that no busi­ness or individual can sensibly plan for the future. Physicians are limiting services and insurance costs are skyrocketing. Neither government pro­grams nor private insur­ance carriers seem to be able to regain control. One segment of the system most clearly out of control is that which deals with bad medical outcomes. The impact of our inability to control this area is disproportionately greater than the actual number of cases involved and greatly affects cost and the entire health care system. One of the most alarming results has been the decrease in availability of physicians’… View Article
By Congressman Bob Barr (7th District, Georgia) With increasing and troubling frequency, an article will appear in the newspaper about a judgment for punitive damages in a financial dispute that is completely out of proportion to the actual dollars at stake in the underlying dispute. Perhaps it will trigger a casual shake of the head in amazement and disbelief over the essential arbitrariness of courts and juries in such cases. For me, however, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, these stories are further proof of the need for the Congress to take action to bring a sense of balance and proportion to an important component of the nation’s civil justice system. One of the most recent, and most… View Article

Alternatives for Tort Reform In Georgia

John G. Malcolm An 81-year-old woman from New Mexico spills a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself and suffers third-degree burns. A jury awards her $160,000 in compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages. A San Francisco jury awards a former secretary of a prestigious law firm who claimed that she had been sexually harassed $50,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress and $7.1 million in punitive damages. A $1,000 dispute over a car loan turns into a lawsuit, and the finance company is hit with a $50 million punitive damage award. “Help!” cry businessmen and stockholders. “There is a lawsuit being filed every five minutes! The legal system has gone haywire. It’s those trial lawyers! It’s time for… View Article

Why Georgia Should Consider Prison Privatization II

Georgia could run out of prison space in 1995 despite opening more than 11,000 prison beds over the past four years (at an estimated cost of $369 million). Even worse, the maximum prison capacity is projected to be 3,700 beds short by the middle of next year according to recent reports from the De- partment of Corrections. The problem is that the prisoner popu- lation is growing faster than expected. In just the past year Georgia’s inmate population has grown by 5,233, an in- crease of more than 100 inmates per week.… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes