James May-June 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 50
The plaintiff’s bar is a leader in political contributions to judges and politicians. They also “honor” and
“recognize” them in “professional” organizations. A
review of the Georgia State Bar and other state bar
associations will show a leadership shift to the plaintiff
personal injury bar. As an example, a draft advisory opinion from the Bar gives plaintiff
attorneys broad range to interview some
current and former employees that can
hurt the ability of corporations and
professionals to defend themselves.
(Draft State Bar Opinion 20-1.)
Georgia recently was classified
as a volatile jurisdiction. The Georgia
Supreme Court had a recent ruling
in a bad faith insurance case that will
further the “Hell-Hole” reputation for
Georgia reported on during the past few
years. Businesses were already skittish about
the state after a spate of verdicts in 2018-2019.
Also, social inflation is real and being utilized as a
strategy by the plaintiffs’ bar. The public generally sees
the value of money less now than in the past. Consider
that the late baseball great Hank Aaron’s last annual salary was $240,000 and baseball pitcher Stephen Strasburg
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is currently paid $38 million-plus. Recently one plaintiff
attorney stated that he believes there is not any amount
of money they can ask a jury for that will be viewed as
an insult to the jury. In a recent plaintiff permanent injury
case, plaintiffs list $1 billion in projected actual costs and
pain and suffering for that one individual person. Plaintiff attorneys are so blinded by the
golden goose, they are killing the system
of reasonable damages.
In addition, the current populist
mentality sweeping the country produces jurors open to plaintiff attorneys seeking over-inflated compensation awards. We will soon see $100
million demands and settlements in
all permanent injury cases. The industry, like the frog in the frying pan, will
wonder how it happened.
Georgia businesses and its leaders
need to understand that without attention from
legislative bodies, awareness by the judicial system
and responsibility from the legal profession, we are
heading to a crisis that will destroy the underpinnings of the current tort legal system.
Attorney John Hall is the chairman of the Hall Booth Smith firm.
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