The Blame Game: Georgia Updates Its’ Apportionment of Fault Statute to Apply to Single-Defendant Lawsuits

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For all cases filed after May 13, 2022, Georgia has amended its apportionment of fault statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. The amendment affects subsection (b), which formerly stated that in actions brought against “more than one person for injury to person or property,” the amount of damages awarded, after taking a reduction for the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, shall be apportioned among the person or persons liable according the each person’s percentage of fault. It also eliminated joint liability and the right of contribution. The amended subsection (b) now applies to actions brought “against one or more persons,” thus allowing courts to apply the statute to single-defendant lawsuits.

Of note, in assessing the percentage of fault, a trier of fact considers the fault of all persons or entities who contributed to the alleged injury or damages, regardless of whether that person or entity was named as a party to the suit. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(c). As amended, the statute now applies in situations where the plaintiff sues a single defendant, rather than only in situations where the plaintiff sues multiple defendants.

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