23. March 2010 · Comments Off on Med Mal Caps Gone in GA – Yay! · Categories: Medical Malpractice
Page 1

In the Supreme Court of Georgia
Decided: March 22, 2010
HUNSTEIN, Chief Justice.
This case requires us to assess the constitutionality of OCGA § 51-13-1,
which limits awards of noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to
a predetermined amount. The trial court held that the statute violates the
Georgia Constitution by encroaching on the right to a jury trial, the
governmental separation of powers, and the right to equal protection. Based on
our review of the record and the applicable law, we find that the noneconomic
damages capsin OCGA § 51-13-1 violate the constitutional right to trial by jury,
and we therefore affirm.


In January 2006, Harvey P. Cole, M.D., of Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery,


d/b/a Oculus, performed CO laser resurfacing and a full facelift on appellee

We express no opinion as to subsection (f) of OCGA § 51-13-1, which


provides for periodic payment of future damages awards of $350,000 or more in
medical malpractice actions.



Betty Nestlehutt. In the weeks after the surgery, complications arose, resulting
in Nestlehutt’s permanent disfigurement. Nestlehutt, along with her husband,
sued Oculus for medical malpractice. The case proceeded to trial, ending in a
mistrial. On retrial, the jury returned a verdict of $1,265,000, comprised of
$115,000 for past and future medical expenses; $900,000 in noneconomic
damages for Ms. Nestlehutt’s pain and suffering; and $250,000 for Mr.
Nestlehutt’sloss ofconsortium. Appellees then moved to have OCGA § 51-13-
1, which would have reduced the jury’s noneconomic damages award by
$800,000 to the statutory limit of $350,000, declared unconstitutional. The trial
court granted the motion and thereupon entered judgment for appellees in the
full amount awarded by the jury. Oculus moved for a new trial, which was
denied, and this appeal ensued.
1. In relevant part, OCGA § 51-13-1 provides,
In any verdict returned or judgment entered in a medical
malpractice action, including an action for wrongful death, against
one or more health care providers, the total amount recoverable by
a claimant for noneconomic damages in such action shall be limited
to an amount not to exceed $350,000.00, regardless of the number
of defendant health care providers against whom the claim is More »

14. February 2010 · Comments Off on Lawyer’s Right to Interview Jurors · Categories: Foreclosure Defense

Marcia Coyle

Forwarded on 02-11-2010

Attorneys may have a First Amendment right to interview jurors in trials in which they did not participate if their purpose is to educate a segment of the bar, according to a federal appellate court.

Calling it a “novel” issue, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it was “uncomfortable” addressing the question in the first instance. Instead, the three-judge panel on Feb. 3 ordered a district court to vacate its terse ruling rejecting a request by the Oklahoma Employment Lawyers Association and to reconsider the request in a “meaningful exercise of its discretion.” More »

30. January 2010 · Comments Off on Personal Injuries · Categories: Personal Injuries

Obtaining Fair and Just Compensation for People Who Have Suffered Serious Injuries

If you or a loved one became injured because of negligence — whether it is another driver, a building owner, a medical professional or some other wrongdoer — the law allows you to seek money damages. The sooner you take action to protect your rights, the more likely it is that we can preserve necessary evidence, interview essential witnesses, and otherwise begin to prepare the case.

When you have questions, we can offer legal advice based on decades of experience. Please contact Mr. Phillips to schedule a free consultation.

Proving Your Injury Case

Regardless how you were injured — whether in a motor vehicle accident, in a fall on a in a residential or commerical property, by using a defective product, or due to the injury from the services of a doctor or a hospityal — the job of your personal injury attorney is four-fold:

          1. To investigate how the injury occurred, who was at fault, and whether there is a legal theory of liability to pursue

          2. To determine what insurance coverage (or other assets) might be available to pay you

          3. To document and prove the extent of your injuries and the effect that those injuries have on your life, and

          4. To document and prove your financial losses and medical expenses, as well as the expenses you will likely have in the future.

By carefully gathering the information needed to prove your case, we work to see that you are fairly compensated for your loss. Because we regularly work with experienced investigators, accident reconstruction professionals and board certified medical consultants, this allow us to tackle some of the most challenging serious injury cases.

To speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer regarding your first step in getting fair compensation, call Mr. Phillips for a consultation and to answers your questions. 

February 5, 2010