By Stephanie F. Brown and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has proposed legislation that will require the losing plaintiff / injury victim in a lawsuit to pay attorney fees to the defendant if the plaintiff’s lawsuit is dismissed as lacking “substantial merit.” Under this proposed legislation, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that the complaint fails to state a claim and lacks substantial merit, discovery will be stayed until after the judge rules on the motion. The practical effect of this provision will be to protect defendants who may very well be liable because the injured plaintiff will be unable to pursue discovery to prove the legitimacy of their claims.
This proposed law could stand into the way of civil justice for many child injury victims. Without discovery and the production of witness statements / depositions and documentation, many claims and viable causes of action will not be able to be pursued by injury victims and their lawyers.
While Georgia’s Governor has stated that the purpose of his tort reform proposal is to encourage business in Georgia, the proposal does nothing to protect Georgia citizens from injury by these same businesses that choose to operate in Georgia. This bill serves as a deterrent to filing suit by individuals, including children, who have been injured through no fault of their own by the negligence of others. To offer comments on this bill to state representatives, Georgia citizens can locate their representatives at Contact Your Georgia Lawmaker.