Georgia Lawmakers to Consider Tort Reform

Business leaders say tort reform is crucial to the economic development of south Georgia.

It's a huge priority for state and local business leaders that is once again receiving attention from state lawmakers in Atlanta.

"The lack of civil justice reform creates a major cost for businesses that wind up having to pay unnecessary legal fees and unnecessary damage claims that are wholly outside that's reasonable and fair,” explains Tom Gooding, Champions Civil Justice Reform.

Georgia is one of only nine states nationally that has yet to address tort reform and that has state business leaders worried about overall economic development.

“We've got to have it because if we are going to continue to grow economically we are competing against states that have passed tort reform in some shape, form, or fashion,” says Georgia Chamber of Commerce President George Israel.

"We appreciate the opportunity for someone who has been injured to receive punitive damages and we think that's important, but we do believe there's a balance and we think the pendulum has swung a little too far,” adds Valdosta Business Leader Jeff Hanson.

Local business experts say the benefits from this kind of reform are evident in neighboring states.

"Florida has recently gone through civil justice reform and is using that as 1 of the advantages in their economic development activities when they are competing with Georgia,” Gooding adds.

A competition state lawmakers are looking to eliminate.

Valdosta chamber leaders will travel to Atlanta next week to support the Civil Justice Reform Bill.