AIA: Ga. Senate Approval of Major Tort Reform Bill Should Bring Stability Back to Civil Justice System

February 2, 2005

The Georgia Senate on Tuesday passed a civil justice reform measure that includes a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical liability actions. S.B. 3, passed by a vote of 39-15, represents comprehensive tort reform that should bring stability back to the state’s civil justice system, according to the American Insurance Association (AIA).

“The Senate’s quick action this year on tort reform is indicative of the strong support that has been building for such a measure over the past months,” said Raymond Farmer, AIA assistant vice president, Southeast Region. “Similar attempts last year to pass such a comprehensive measure failed. But this year is a new chapter, and with additional support from newly elected Republican legislators, and with reports of continuing vulnerabilities in the state’s liability system, the bill easily passed the Senate.”

S.B. 3 contains the following significant provisions:

• Venue reform

• Federal standards for expert witnesses;

• Joint and several liability reform;

• Caps on non-economic damages establishing a $250,000 single limit and a $750,000 aggregate limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

S.B. 3 now moves to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Dallas) has appointed a special committee to consider this and other tort reform measures.

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