As you may recall from my January 28, 2011 blog, the Supreme Court had agreed to rule on the following issue:
Did the Court of Appeals correctly construe OCGA § 51-12-33 to require a trier of fact to apportion an award of damages among multiple defendants when the plaintiff is not at fault?
In July of 2010, the Georgia Court of Appeals answered that question in favor of the defendant in Sarvis and found that apportionment is required even when the plaintiff bears no fault. The Sarvis case arose out of an auto accident involving a drunk driver. Sarvis sued the driver and the convenience store where alcohol had been purchased by the driver. The trial court ruled that there would be no apportionment of damages amongst the defendants because there was no argument that Sarvis was negligent.
The settlement of Sarvis means that for the time being the Court of Appeals’ decision, which is favorable for defendants, stands. Because the Supreme Court has shown an interest in this issue, however, it is likely that soon another similar case will make its way to the Court
Please call me if you have any questions.