Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Georgia Governor Signs Important Lawsuit Transparency Legislation: Georgia First in Nation to Tackle Implied Rights to Sue

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) today lauded the Georgia legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue as he signed S.B. 138 into law, requiring transparency in the legislative creation of new rights for private individuals to sue. ALEC is the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators, and its model legislation, the Transparency in Lawsuits Protection Act, was the basis for the new Peach State law.

"Often goaded by plaintiffs' lawyers," explained ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Director Amy Kjose, "courts sometimes infer from vague legislative or regulatory language new rights to bring private lawsuits. These so-called 'implied causes of action' can bog down court dockets with frivolous litigation and otherwise work to undermine economic growth and job creation."

The Transparency in Lawsuits Protection Act asks legislators to answer directly the primary question judiciaries consider in the creation of an implied cause of action: Did the legislators intend to create a new right to sue?

"In order to avoid confusion and uncertainty," Kjose continued, "S.B. 138 requires the legislature to qualify legislative intent from the get-go. Consumers, businesses, and their lawyers deserve to know when and where they can statutorily sue or be sued. The enactment of S.B. 138 ends the costly game of trial and error within Georgia's legal system."

S.B. 138 passed with very strong majorities in both the Georgia Senate and the House of Representatives.

Victor Schwartz, a renowned tort law scholar and Private Sector Co-Chair of ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force, offered praise for all involved, saying that, "Bill sponsor Sen. Wiles, House advocate Rep. Ehrhart and Gov. Perdue are to be congratulated for making Georgia the first state to require its legislators, if they intend to create a new way to sue, to say so plainly and directly. Other states should follow suit in ending implied causes of action, or as I like to call them, hidden trial lawyer earmarks."

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.

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