Council targets ruling that blocks Georgia from being sued without consent

Gov. Nathan Deal. AJC file.

A panel created by Gov. Nathan Deal recommended a range of options to counter a landmark Georgia Supreme Court ruling that effectively bars citizens from suing the state when trying to overturn a law they believe is unconstitutional.

The findings submitted to Deal on Tuesday by the Court Reform Council also suggested the creation of a statewide business court system and granting new powers to Georgia’s administrative law courts. Deal could include some of the proposals in a package of legislative priorities headed into his final session.

The council’s members wrestled over how to respond to the state high court’s June ruling, which said the state, its agencies and its officials are shielded from litigation under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, rooted in a centuries-old English principle that “the king can do no wrong.”

The ruling does not affect the right to challenge the constitutionality of a state law in federal court. At the state level, however, it concluded that citizens may not sue “the state” to overturn an unfair law. Instead, they may only sue an individual official to stop him or her from enforcing the law.

It sparked an outcry from legal experts and renewed calls for lawmakers to press for changes next year. The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association said changes will ensure the state’s judiciary will “continue enjoying a reputation for being an effective, efficient and fair legal system.”

The council didn’t reach a consensus on a specific change, but suggested several options that lawmakers could pursue.

Among them was a package of legislation that would allow some legislative challenges that seek to block potentially unconstitutional laws, while shielding individual employees or officers from being targeted by a lawsuit.

The council also urged lawmakers to back a Georgia Business Court to provide specialized services to resolve complex financial cases. A pilot program in metro Atlanta, created in 2005, has handled about 240 cases and is known for “efficient disposition of matters and accessibility of its judges,” it found.

It settled on two options for the court: A business court with a statewide jurisdiction based in Atlanta or a system with courts based in various regions of the state, much like Georgia’s network of federal courts.

And it recommended giving broader powers to the Office of State Administrative Hearings to enter final decisions and to enforce subpoenas to people who don’t appear for hearings.

Read the entire report here.

 

Reader Comments 0

1 comments
_Julia
_Julia

m̾a̾k̾e̾ e̾x̾t̾r̾a̾ p̾r̾o̾f̾i̾t̾ e̾v̾e̾r̾y̾ w̾e̾e̾k̾... t̾h̾i̾s̾ i̾s̾ a̾ g̾r̾e̾a̾t̾ p̾a̾r̾t̾-t̾i̾m̾e̾ j̾o̾b̾ f̾o̾r̾ e̾v̾e̾r̾y̾o̾n̾e̾... b̾e̾s̾t̾ p̾a̾r̾t̾ a̾b̾o̾u̾t̾ i̾t̾ i̾s̾ t̾h̾a̾t̾ y̾o̾u̾ c̾a̾n̾ w̾o̾r̾k̾ f̾r̾o̾m̾ y̾o̾u̾r̾ h̾o̾m̾e̾ a̾n̾d̾ e̾a̾r̾n̾ f̾r̾o̾m̾ $100-$2000 e̾a̾c̾h̾ w̾e̾e̾k̾ ... s̾t̾a̾r̾t̾ t̾o̾d̾a̾y̾ a̾n̾d̾ h̾a̾v̾e̾ y̾o̾u̾r̾ f̾i̾r̾s̾t̾ p̾a̾y̾m̾e̾n̾t̾ a̾t̾ t̾h̾e̾ e̾n̾d̾ o̾f̾ t̾h̾e̾ w̾e̾e̾k̾... ...

        ░A░M░A░Z░I░N░G░ ░J░O░B░S░

°°°°°°http://www.bosscyber.com