TriEst Ag. Group Inc. is faced again with negligent claims over a truck driver’s fatal strike against a pedestrian after the Georgia Supreme Court invalidated a rule protecting employers who remove liability for a worker’s actions from duplicate claims .
The state’s 2005 Offense Overhaul Act known as the Allocation Act “requires the repeal of” the state’s “superior-superior rule,” the court said.
The answer board rule applied if a defendant employer granted compensation liability in the event that his employee was found to be negligent.
In this case, the employer was entitled to summarize claims for negligent commissioning, hiring, training, monitoring and retention, unless the plaintiff has also made a valid claim for punitive damages against the employer for his own independent negligence.
The apportionment law, however, requires that the Trier of Fact “distributes its award of damages to the people who are liable according to the percentage of fault of each person”.
When assessing the percentage of fault, according to the law, the Trier of Fact must “take into account the fault of all persons or organizations who contributed to the alleged injury or damage, regardless of whether the person or organization was named as a person or could have been named party to suit. “
The state’s highest court stated that under the pain language of the law, the responding supervisor rule had failed because claims for negligent hiring, hiring, training, monitoring, and withholding an employer were a fault charge under the apportionment act and the act stipulates that the jury may examine the fault of all persons who contributed to the alleged injury.
Judge Carla Wong McMillian disagreed. She said that the simple language of the apportionment law does not override the overriding rule of the respondent.
Although the parent responder rule allows employers in certain circumstances to dismiss double negligence claims prior to trial, the apportionment act doesn’t apply until the trial, she said.
Brandon Lanier was hit by a truck driven by Riley Hulsey and killed when Lanier tried to cross a street in Tifton.
Nancy Quynn, administrator of Lanier’s estate, brought an unlawful death and personal injury lawsuit against Hulsey and TriEst, Hulsey’s employer, who also owned the truck.
Judge John J. Ellington wrote the statement Monday, along with Judges Harold D. Melton, David Nahmias, Keith R. Blackwell, Michael P. Boggs, Nels SD Peterson, and Charles J. Bethel, who only approved the verdict.
Macon Attorney Katherine L. McArthuer represented the estate.
Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett and Brieske LLP represented TriEst and Hulsey.
The case is Quynn v. Hulsey, 2020 BL 422534, Ga., S19G1612, 11/02/20.