Georgia is #1!!! (Not referring to the DAWGS though.)
Georgia has been one of the most prolific producers of nuclear verdicts nationwide. Nuclear verdicts are awards that exceed $10 million.
Premises liability cases have generated some of the most absurd nuclear verdicts in Georgia, particularly lawsuits blaming businesses for the criminal conduct of others on or near their property.
- Martin v. Six Flags Over Georgia: Here, the plaintiff was attacked by assailants at a bus stop outside of a Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park. A Georgia jury reached a $35 million-dollar verdict, imposing 92% of the damages on Six Flags and just 2% to each of the four named attackers. The state high court unanimously ruled that businesses are subject to liability for harm to a customer even when it is a result of crime that occurred off of its property if criminal activity is allegedly “foreseeable.”
- Georgia CVS Pharmacy, LLC v. Carmichael (November 2021): The Court of Appeals of Georgia upheld a $42,750,000 verdict against the pharmacy for a shooting that occurred in the parking lot. The plaintiff had arranged to meet an acquaintance, in the CVS parking lot to purchase an iPad. After the transaction, an unknown assailant entered the plaintiff’s car, threatened to kill him, and ordered him to hand over his money. The plaintiff tried and failed to shoot the assailant with his own pistol, at which point the assailant shot the plaintiff several times and fled. The plaintiff survived but sustained severe injuries. Astonishingly, the jury found that CVS was 95% at fault, the plaintiff 5% at fault, and acquaintance and the assailant were both 0% at fault.
Record Punitive Damage Award Handed Down in Gwinnett County.
In August 2022, a Georgia jury returned a $1.7 billion punitive damage verdict against Ford, finding that the company sold millions of “Super Duty” models with defectively weak roofs.
$200 million award in Rabun County, the county’s largest ever verdict to date.
Malibu Boats LLC was held liable for failing to provide any warnings or guidance to users of a boat that its design was susceptible to bow swamping if weight was being carried in the bow seat. The verdict included $80 million in pain and suffering plus $120 million in punitive damages to the parents of a boy who died in a boating accident.
$113.5 million verdict (including $100 million in punitive damage) in a wrongful death case in S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
$77 million verdict (including $10 million for pain and suffering, $55 million for value of life, and $1 million in punitive damages) in a wrongful death case in DeKalb County Superior Court.
$75 million verdict (including $9 million for past medical damages, $20 million for future medical expenses and $46 million for pain and suffering) in a medical liability case in Fulton County Superior Court.
LOSER PAYS… TWICE!
This year, a Georgia Supreme Court decision broke new ground, however, when it ruled that a business that defends itself at trial, and loses, can be required to pay a plaintiff’s attorney’s fees – twice!
CPCU, ARM, AIDA, ARe, ARC, CRIS