McDonnell Douglas Framework and Pretext in Whistleblower Cases

Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals formally stated that the McDonnell Douglas framework, used in Title VII retaliation, federal whistleblower, and state discrimination claims, applied to claims brought under the Georgia Whistleblower Act. Although, in Forrester v. Ga. Dept. of Human Svcs., 308 Ga. App. 716, 708 S.E.2d 660 (2011), the Court of Appeals previously held that the McDonnell Douglas analysis was appropriate for courts to use in evaluating whether a state whistleblower claim is subject to summary adjudication, this decision was physical precedent only. With its recent decision in Tuohy v. City of Atlanta, 771 S.E.2d 501 (2015), the Court of Appeals solidified the applicability

Changes coming to key defense apportionment tactic?

A decision on whether a person or entity, which may be immune from a suit, can be put on the verdict form by the defendant for apportionment purposes may be coming soon. As part of a 2005 package, apportionment has been used as a key defense tactic as a way to determine damages. A defendant may add nonparties to the verdict form if that person or entity contributed to the alleged injury or damages. Issues arise when the nonparties would typically be immune, such as spousal immunity, or by statute, such as workers compensation. A federal trial judge has asked the state Supreme Court whether a person or entity that may be immune from a suit can nonetheless be put on the verdict form by the

Business Phone Calls Before or After Accident Do Not Create Respondeat Superior Liability

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently refused to extend the doctrine of respondeat superior liability to an employer based on work-related phone calls that took place approximately 25 minutes before and 45 minutes after the accident at issue. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer can be liable for the negligence of its employees if the employee was acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the injury. In the situation where an accident occurs while an employee was driving his employer’s vehicle, a rebuttal presumption arises that the employee was in the course and scope of his employment; however, it is well established that, as a general rule, an emp

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