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News
May 6, 2009

Public Nuisance Fairness Coalition Applauds New Georgia Law Limiting the Misuse of the Public Nuisance Theory

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Public Nuisance Fairness Coalition (PNFC) applauds the bipartisan work of the Georgia legislature in passing legislation (CS Bill 213) that limits the misuse of the public nuisance law. The legislation, signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue, precludes product manufacturers sued in Georgia on theories of industry-wide liability (e.g., public nuisance, market share, or enterprise liability). 

“The Georgia legislature has demonstrated a clear understanding of the risk posed when public nuisance theory is used to displace traditional causes of action, such as product liability lawsuits,” said Stan Anderson, PNFC Executive Chair. “This legislation is a victory for all Georgia consumers, who will not be forced to bear the financial consequences resulting from over-zealous trial lawyers and a true victory for the traditional rule of law. This law will ensure that appropriate and traditional legal protections will be in place in litigation filed against Georgia manufacturers.”

“Public nuisance is an 800-year-old legal standard intended to apply to unreasonable interference with public rights. However, plaintiffs’ lawyers across the country are trying to turn public nuisance into their next big payday by bypassing well-settled notions of product liability law, such as the requirement to demonstrate actual harm,” said Lisa Rickard, President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). “Thankfully, for businesses, workers and local communities in Georgia, their elected leaders have dealt a blow to the plaintiffs’ bar’s efforts to establish novel, but improper, uses of the public nuisance theory to bring abusive lawsuits in the state.” 

To read the Georgia legislation and other material related to public nuisance litigation, visit www.publicnuisancefairness.org

The Public Nuisance Fairness Coalition www.publicnuisancefairness.org is a broad coalition of individuals, business, and legal reform groups whoa re concerned with the misuse of public nuisance lawsuits. The mission of the coalition is to increase awareness of the inappropriate use of public nuisance litigation and to address the issue by means of educational outreach, state legislative action, and intervention in litigation through amicus briefs.

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels. The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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