Paul Weathington, Zach Fuller and Hilliard Burton of WEATHINGTON’s Appellate Practice Team authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA) that was filed in the Supreme Court on January 12, 2021, in the case Harvey v. Merchan.
The plaintiffs attempted to bring suit in Georgia arising out of alleged sexual abuse that occurred more than twenty years earlier, while the plaintiffs and defendants lived in Canada. The plaintiffs argued that a Georgia statute, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.1, allowed them to circumvent the statute of limitations and bring the stale claims in Georgia, while the defendants argued the statute was inapplicable. In an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs, the GTLA argued that the suit was proper in Georgia because the plaintiffs continued to suffer injuries such as humiliation and emotional distress related to the alleged abuse when they later moved to Georgia.
In their amicus brief, WEATHINGTON argued on behalf of the GDLA that O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.1 did not apply to claims because the alleged torts and the injuries occurred in Canada—separate, independent intentional torts—which were all barred by the statute of limitations. Their argument highlighted the fact that the plaintiffs’ interpretation would permit any person injured by a tort in any state or country to move to Georgia to seek recovery—without limitation—simply by arguing that they suffered continued emotional consequences from the extraterritorial tort.
The case is currently set for oral argument on February 4, 2021.
Click here to read the full amicus brief.
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