Constitutional Law and Tort Reform

Mr. Cork was employed by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association in 2005 to research and recommend strategies for dealing with the tort reform legislation (SB3) enacted that year. He has remained an active volunteer on the committee charged with responding to that legislation.

Published Texts and Articles

  • Special Legislation, The Verdict, Summer 2009, pp. 35-40.

Seminar Presentations

  • Challenges and Update, Senate Bill 3: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, ICLE Successful Trial Practice, September 12, 2008.
  • SB3 Three Years Later: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Atlanta Bar Assn., Litigation Section, February 8, 2008.
  • Observations and Attacks on O.C.G.A. 24-9-67.1, GTLA Annual Seminar, Atlanta, April 27, 2007.
  • Update on SB3, GTLA Holiday Workshop, Atlanta, December 8, 2006.
  • Writings on SB3, ICLE, Amelia Island, Medical Malpractice Institute, November 4, 2005.
  • SB3: Effective Date, Constitutionality & Abolition of Joint Liability, ICLE, Atlanta, June 2, 2005.
  • Offers of Judgment Under SB3, DeKalb County Bar Assn., May 19, 2005.
  • Constitutional Challenges to Tort Reform, GTLA Annual Meeting and Seminar, Atlanta, May 6, 2005.
  • SB3 and Offers of Judgment, ICLE General Practice and Trial Section Annual Meeting, April 14, 2005.
  • Status of Federal Tort Reform, Mercer Law Day Seminar, Atlanta, March 11, 2005.
  • Overview of SB3, Gambrell & Stolz, Atlanta, March 2, 2005.
  • Constitutional Challenges to Tort Reform, GTLA Tort Reform Seminar, Atlanta, March 1, 2005.
  • Senate Bill 20 and Other Efforts to Regulate “Ambulance Chasing,” GTLA “New Laws” Seminar, July 23, 1999.

Representative Appellate Cases

  • Atlanta Oculoplastic Surgery, P.C. v. Nestlehutt, 286 Ga. 731 (2010) (Court struck down caps on medical malpractice damages) (submitted amicus brief on behalf of Georgia Watch arguing that statute imposing caps on medical malpractice damages violated constitutional prohibition against special legislation).
  • Smith v. Baptiste, 287 Ga. 23 (2010) (submitted amicus brief for GTLA arguing that O.C.G.A. 9-11-68 violated the constitutional guarantee of rights to the courts by punishing the exercise of the right to have a jury determination of damages; unfortunately, the Court disagreed).
  • Couch v. Red Roof Inns, Inc., 291 Ga. 359 (2012) (submitted amicus brief for Crime Victims Advocacy Council, The Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, and DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, urging that statute calling for apportionment of damages should not be construed to allow an innkeeper that ignores threats to the safety of guests to have its responsibility for assaults against the guests reduced by the guilt of criminal assailants; unfortunately, the Court construed the statute to allow this).
  • Mason v. Home Depot, 283 Ga. 271 (2008) (Court upheld constitutionality of O.C.G.A. 24-9-67.1, but did not reach arguments presented in this amicus brief that different rules for criminal and civil cases would violate other constitutional provisions than the equal protection challenge presented there, such as the due process clause and the the constitutional right to trial by jury).
  • R.J. Taylor Mem. Hosp., Inc. v. Beck, 280 Ga. 660 (2006) (imposing a non-trivial burden of proof on defendants who seek to transfer venue under the new provision for intrastate forum non conveniens).
  • EHCA Cartersville, LLC v. Turner, 280 Ga. 333 (2006) (striking down the tort reform provision requiring automatic transfer of venue to the place of the medical malpractice tort)
  • Bell v. Austin, 278 Ga. 844 (2005) (upholding validity of the medical narrative statute against constitutional attack).
  • King v. State, 272 Ga. 788 (2000) (holding that medical records are protected by the individual's right to privacy under the state constitution).
  • Hillman v. Dept. of Transp., 257 Ga. 338 (1987) (holding that condemnees are entitled to recover for damages caused by temporary takings as a matter of constitutional law; rejecting a trend in Court of Appeals decisions that prohibited a land owner from recovering damages to the remaining property caused by the taking of a temporary construction easement).