Georgia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Statutes of Limitations (GEORGIA)

Personal Injury - 2 yrs.* [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33]  

Wrongful Death - 2 yrs.[Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33]; from time of death, no discovery rule [Miles v. Ashland Chemical Co., 410 S.E.2d 290 (Ga. 1991)]

Med Mal - 2 yrs. from discovery, but no later than 5 yrs. from act/omission [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-71; Luem v. Johnson, 574 S.E.2d 835 (Ga. App. 2002)]

Real Property Damage - 4 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-30]; Caution: Damage to property arising out of construction is generally considered to occur, and the statute of limitations begins to run, at the time of “substantial completion” of the project [Colormatch Exteriors, Inc. v. Hickey, 569 S.E.2d 495 (Ga. 2002)]

Personal Property Damage - 4 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. §§ 9-3-31, 9-3-32] 

Written Contracts - 6 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-24]

Oral Contracts - 4 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-25]

Contracts for Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [Ga. Code Ann. § 11-2-725]

 

*Cause of action usually accrued when, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, Plaintiff discovered or should have discovered that she had been injured and that her injury may have been caused by Defendants’ conduct [Harrison v. Digital Equipment Corp., 465 S.E.2d 494 (Ga. App. 1995)]

Statutes of Repose (GEORGIA)

Products - 10 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. § 51-1-11]

Construction of Real Property - 8 yrs. (may sue within 2 yrs. if claim arises during 7th or 8th year) [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-51]

Caution: the 4-year Real Property Damage statute of limitations begins to run at the time of substantial completion and, therefore, can act as a statute of repose.

 

 

Claims Against Public/Gov. Entities (NOTE: “sovereign immunity” rules may apply) (GEORGIA)

Against Municipal Corporations - Notice within 6 mos.[Ga. Code Ann. § 36-33-5]

Against State - Notice within 1-yr., cannot file suit until the claim is rejected or 90 days have lapsed after the notice [Ga. Code Ann. § 50-21-26]; Suit within 2 yrs. [Ga. Code Ann. § 50-21-27]

Against County - Claim must be presented within 1 yr.  [Ga. Code Ann. § 36-11-1]

Comparative Negligence (GEORGIA)

Modified comparative (damages are diminished in proportion to Plaintiff’s fault, but Plaintiff cannot recover if he is 50% at fault) [Ga. Code Ann. §§ 51-11-7; 51-12-33].  However, if Plaintiff by ordinary care could have avoided the consequences to himself caused by Defendant’s negligence, he is not entitled to recover [Ga. Code Ann. § 51-11-7].

 

Made Whole Doctrine (MWD) (GEORGIA)

MWD was codified in 1997 [Ga. Code Ann. § 33-24-56.1].  The statute provides that, in the event of recovery for personal injury from Tortfeasor by Insured, Insurer may require reimbursement from Insured only if the recovery amount exceeds the sum of all economic and noneconomic losses incurred by Insured.  Plus, the reimbursement amount must be reduced by the pro rata amount of atty fees and legal expenses incurred by Insured.  The statute also contains certain notice requirements regarding settlements/trial by Insured.  No contract/policy containing provisions in conflict with this statute may be issued and enforced.

But note that commercial property Insurer was not precluded from subrogating against Tortfeasor, although Insured claimed that payments from Insurer were not sufficient to make Insured whole, where Tortfeasor had assets sufficient to satisfy Insured’s and Insurer’s claims [Georgia Cas. and Sur. Co. v. Woodcraft by MacDonald, Inc., 726 S.E.2d 793 (Ga. App. 2012)].

Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Assuming No Injury to Person or Damage to “Other Property”) (GEORGIA)

ELD is recognized/applied and purely economic losses are not compensable under statute imposing strict liability upon a manufacturer for defective products when the only damage was to the product itself [Busbee v. Chrysler Corp., 524 S.E.2d 539 (Ga. App. 1999)]. 

 

Two potential exceptions exist:

 

First, the accident exception, which allows Plaintiff to recover in tort when there is a sudden and calamitous event that not only causes damage to the product but poses an unreasonable risk of injury to persons and other property [Vulcan Materials Co., Inc. v. Driltech, Inc., 306 S.E.2d 253 (Ga. 1983)]. 

Second, the misrepresentation exception, at least where a third party’s reliance was the desired result of the representation (where an engineer who issued a report on condition of a building knew that prospective purchasers could rely on its report, lack of privity did not shield the engineer from liability to foreseeable prospective purchasers) [Robert & Co. Associates v. Rhodes-Haverty Partnership, 300 S.E.2d 503 (Ga. 1983)]

Certificate/Affidavit Of Merit Requirements (Claims Against Licensed Professionals) (GEORGIA)

In any action for damages alleging professional malpractice against a licensed professional, Plaintiff must file an affidavit of an expert competent to testify, which affidavit shall set forth specifically at least one negligent act or omission claimed to exist and the factual basis for each such claim.  The statute applies to 25 categories of licensed professionals, including: architects, health care professionals, land surveyors, and engineers [Ga. Code Ann. § 9-11-9.1]

 

Landlord/Tenant Subrogation (GEORGIA)

Court will examine the terms of the lease.  Lease provisions requiring Landlord and Tenant to each maintain insurance created mutual exculpatory agreement waiving any subrogation rights of Landlord’s insurer [Macon-Bibb County Indus. Authority v. Nord Bitumi, U.S., Inc., 77 F.3d 417 (11th Cir. 1996)]

 

Reimbursement of Deductible(s) (GEORGIA)

No law available.

MedPay and PIP (GEORGIA)

MedPay and PIP - No subrogation allowed and/or no such coverage available.  However, reimbursement of MedPay benefits can be allowed if Insured has been made whole (see Made Whole Doctrine discussion above, addressing Ga. Code Ann. § 33-24-56.1)

 

 

Liability of Parents (GEORGIA)

$10,000 (+ costs) for willful or malicious acts [Ga. Code Ann. § 51-2-3]

Joint Liability (GEORGIA)

Several liability (Plaintiff can recover from each Defendant only that Defendant’s share of liability) [Ga. Code Ann. § 51-12-33]

Independent Cause of Action for Intentional or Negligent Evidence Spoliation (GEORGIA)

No independent tort for spoliation against a first party or a third party [Owens v. American Refuse Systems, Inc., 536 S.E.2d 782 (Ga. App. 2000); Gardner v. Blackston, 185 Ga.App. 754 (Ga. App. 1988)]

Conflicts of Law (GEORGIA)

Torts - Georgia will apply the law of the state where the tort was committed.  Contracts - Georgia will apply the law of the state where the contract was made [Velten v. Regis B. Lippert, Intercat, Inc., 985 F.2d 1515 (11th Cir. 1993)]