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Next Week at the Court

October 18, 2013

On Monday, the Supreme Court of Georgia will hear argument in three cases, one of which is within the scope of our coverage. A summary of the case and issues is below.

Monday, October 21, 2013 10:00 am Sitting

S13A1601 Ford Motor Co. v. Conley et al.

This case began with a single-car crash that killed Conley’s mother and severely injured her son, but is before the Supreme Court on a grant of a motion for new trial. In 2007, Conley filed a product liability suit against Ford as a result of the crash and, during discovery, Ford objected to any questions about the names and amounts of its insurance coverage. After a two-week trial in 2009, jurors returned a verdict in favor of Ford. But in June 2011, during the trial of another product liability case, Ford disclosed that it had excess verdict insurance coverage from a variety of different carriers. Conley then filed an extraordinary motion for new trial, claiming that the lack of information about the insurance coverages prevented Conley from questioning jurors about potential connections to insurers. The trial court granted the motion, finding Ford “intentionally misled” Conley and that Conley had not waived her right to qualify the jury. Ford appealed.

The Court of Appeals equally divided on the question in an unpublished 5-5 order (two judges recused) and the case was transferred by laws to the Supreme Court of Georgia for determination.

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