Your morning jolt: Georgia Supreme Court upholds lawsuit protection for emergency rooms

In a split 4-to-3 vote, the state Supreme Court has upheld a key portion of tort reform legislation passed in 2005, which holds that emergency rooms can’t be sued without “clear and convincing evidence” of gross negligence.

Lawmakers had been watching the case, and were ready to respond with legislation had the court overturned the law.

The case, Gliemmo v. Cousineau, stemmed from a Muscogee County woman’s visit to St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, after she reported a “snapping in her head.” She was treated for high blood pressure and sent home.

Two days later, her family doctor discovered a brain hemorrhage that left her paralyzed.
The couple had argued that the 2005 tort reform law was unconstitutional because it gave hospital emergency rooms special treatment – protection from lawsuits that other medical providers don’t receive.

MARTA caught Gov. Sonny Perdue in the act on Saturday. Never a big booster of rail during his two terms in office, Perdue was spotted with his grandkids riding a MARTA train.

Bert Brantley, spokesman for Perdue, confirmed the governor’s weekend foray.

MARTA says the governor and his party visited Lindbergh Station, Peachtree Center and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Michael J. Tyler, chairman of the MARTA board of directors, celebrated the event with this quote:

“At a time when MARTA is confronted with its greatest financial challenge ever, we are delighted that the governor, who has recently introduced legislation to aid MARTA, would choose to utilize MARTA’s services. We trust he had a pleasant experience and was impressed with the safety, efficiency and attractiveness experienced by thousands of MARTA riders daily.”

MARTA doesn’t go to Cobb County, where Perdue and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss host a fund-raiser today for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Tea party types, who support Marco Rubio in that contest, have sent a round of e-mails calling for an 11:30 a.m. protest outside the Georgian Club.

The Associated Press says Perdue isn’t expected to be at the event – but added his name as a cue to his supporters to open their checkbooks.

Not a few people have wondered whether our governor’s motivation has more to do with the tri-state water wars than national politics.

“Crist, because he is vulnerable, may be more willing to talk and negotiate,” University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said. “And Perdue is … offering to help (Crist) with his career crisis and is hoping Crist may be more amenable to helping Georgia.”

Tea partyers have also singled out House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons Island), for holding up centerpiece legislation that’s likely to be used by state Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger) in his congressional bid to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal.

Called the JOBS Act, the bill would give a $2,400 tax credit to any company that hires and employs for 24 consecutive months someone who has been out of work at least four weeks. The measure is now stuck in the House Rules Committee. Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed a similar bill last year as too expensive.

PeachPundit notes that Keen is among the hosts of a fund-raiser today for state Sen. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), one of Graves’ rivals in the 9th District race.

The political blog also reports that Hawkins raised his own questions about the JOBS Act in a recent radio interview:

“We’ve got a jobs bill that’s on the house side right now. Governor didn’t sign it last year. I don’t know whether he’s going to sign it this time. Really depends on the mechanism of the bill. You know we can’t go negative with that type of situation. Can’t give job credits, more credits than employers are paying in their income tax. Also on a federal level you know the Obama Administration has a similar approach to jobs.”

State Rep. Tom Knox, a Forsyth County Republican, has successfully converted the race for state insurance commissioner into a House affair. He’s released a list of supporters from his chamber, which appears to include most of his Republican colleagues, including Speaker David Ralston and the rest of the House leadership.

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10 comments Add your comment

Steve Tomson

March 15th, 2010
9:25 am

Lee Hawkins is a liberal and must go!

n

March 15th, 2010
10:10 am

Maybe Jerry Keen has finally noticed that all the myriad tax breaks shovelled out to business cronies over the past eight years have not done a thing to keep us from economic collapse. Georgia leads in bank failures, has abysmally high unemployment, a staggering foreclosure rate, and is near the bottom of every list comparing us to our neighbor states. Our leadership wants to accelerate our decline by yet more tax breaks, while bullying and beating up on state government, education, courts, public defenders, mental health, DFACS, the university system, etc. etc. Our previous growth bubble was perpetrated by a casino-like free-for-all financed by GA banks many of which are going down the tubes–and have to be bailed out by the FDIC and TARP (us–the U.S. taxpayers) Most of thee low-paid construction jobs have evaporated, and many of the previous hordes of low-paid construction workers have left Georgia. And yet our leaders endlessly parrot the refrain of tax cuts to attract business. Business will not relocate to Georgia no matter how low the taxes are if there is no quality of life here. If our leaders continue to allow decline and destruction of our infrastructure and critical state services, and focus only on their misbegotten trickle-down theories, which have already been proved wrong by eight years of experience,, Georgia will continue is slide into third world status.

lmno

March 15th, 2010
10:14 am

I bet Governor Purdue stuck out like a sore thumb on the train. I love how he just rode from station to station. He could take the train to work if he wanted.

Bob Hobnobber

March 15th, 2010
10:28 am

I agree with n completely.

Bob Dubrof

March 15th, 2010
11:52 am

I bet they made these decisions in smoked filled rooms.

Republican turned Democrat

March 15th, 2010
1:17 pm

n – Couldn’t agree with you more. Well said.

Tony

March 15th, 2010
2:17 pm

Grandpa what's that smell?

March 15th, 2010
3:19 pm

I wonder if the kids noticed the smell on the MARTA elevators was similar to the horse stables at Grandpa’s farm?

Hows that panhandling legislation coming along?

Dean N

March 15th, 2010
3:36 pm

@n: That’s the most concise and accurate description of the State of Georgia affairs that I have read since relocating here nearly 3 years ago. This state is being led by a neanderthal mentality that will push Georgia below the bottom. The worst part is, there does not appear to be anyone with a different orientation, likely to replace stubborn Perdue as Governor. And, there is nothing more stubborn than an OX, so get ready for 8 more years of decline. Maybe he’ll bring back slavery, as a way to turn-around Georgia’s economy.

KM

March 16th, 2010
4:29 pm

n–What a well written and on target post. I can only hope that Jerry Keen and his ilk will have viable competition come the end of qualifying next month.