Monday, July 19, 2010

Georgia law: Apportionment Statute Ruling from Ct of Appeals

A recent ruling has far reaching effects in Georgia litigation.   The case is CAVALIER CONVENIENCE, INC.,
v. SARVIS,A10A0538, A10A0539.

The issue presented in these appeals is whether, under recently amended OCGA § 51-12-33, a trier of fact is required to apportion its award of damages among multiple liable defendants when the plaintiff bears no fault.

The Court held: "It is clear from that subsection's plain language that the legislature did not intend for apportionment to be limited to those cases wherein the plaintiff was to some degree at fault."

 The Court went on to hold that:

In accordance with the legislature's unambiguous language in OCGA § 51-12-33 (b), we hold that where damages are to be awarded in an action brought against more than one person for injury to person or property — whether or not such damages must be reduced pursuant to OCGA § 51-12-33 (a) — the trier of fact "shall . . . apportion its award of damages among the persons who are liable according to the percentage of fault of each person."[ 15 ] Had the legislature intended for subsection (b) of OCGA § 51-12-33 to be triggered only upon a reduction of damages pursuant to subsection (a) of that Code section, it could have so stated; but it did not impose any such prerequisite.

Find it here. 
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