Georgia Supreme Court rules on key case

The Supreme Court of Georgia has ruled that the Georgia Court of Appeals will have to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion when it failed to grant a new “damages-only” trial in the case of Shawn G. Evans, et al. v. Rockdale Hospital, LLC.

Having its request for a damages-only retrial denied by the trial court, the plaintiff took its case to the Court of Appeals – which agreed with the plaintiff. The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) then joined an amicus brief that was filed by the American Medical Association that called for the Georgia Supreme Court to support the trial court’s decision (i.e., oppose a damages-only retrial).

The firm that wrote the brief explains that, “The Georgia Supreme Court sided with the defendants and reversed the appellate court’s ruling to order a new trial. It did so on standard of review grounds, finding the court made its own assessment of what the preponderance of the evidence showed rather than applying an abuse of discretion standard.”

The high court noted that, “The Court of Appeals could not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court on the fact-based question of whether the damages awarded were within the range authorized by a preponderance of the evidence…[the appellate court] should have limited its review to whether the trial court, who saw the witnesses and heard the testimony, abused its discretion in denying the motion for a new trial.”

The firm says that it is unlikely that the appellate court will challenge the Supreme Court decision.

MAG members can contact Bethany Sherrer at bsherrer@mag.org with questions.  

Georgia Supreme Court ruling

e-News from MAGMAG & AMA file brief with Georgia Supreme Court’ article (May, 2019)