Defending a Bad Faith Claim in Georgia? Expert Testimony Can Support Summary Judgment

By John V. Burch August 5, 2021 Articles

A claim made against a surety is often accompanied by a bad faith demand. There are many defenses to bad faith claims, but here is one more to add to your arsenal in Georgia: a surety can use expert opinion to support the dismissal of a bad faith claim on summary judgment. A recent case granting summary judgment on bad faith to an insurer on a property damage claim is instructive. Bad faith claims under insurance policies are governed by O.C.G.A. § 33-4-6, and Georgia’s courts have said the rules under that statute are applicable to claims made against sureties under O.C.G.A. § 10-7-30, the exclusive basis for extra-contractual damages against sureties in the state. The Georgia Court of Appeals in Montgomery v. Traveler’s Home & Marine Ins. Co., 859 S.E.2d 130 (Ga. App. 2021), reconsideration denied (July 13, 2021), recently set out the framework for when an expert’s opinion to an insurer will support a grant of summary judgment denying bad faith.

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Changes to Georgia’s Lien Waiver Statute

By J. Jackson Harris March 3, 2021 Articles

Dramatic changes to the lien waiver statute, O.C.G.A. § 44-14-366, took effect on January 1, 2021. Lien waivers are ubiquitous in the construction industry, and a failure to comply with the lien statute’s requirements can have severe consequences. Thus, contractors, subcontractors, and their sureties should take note of these statutory changes.

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By Jack Burch and Jackson Harris September 15, 2020 Articles

Georgia and other states have statutes that expressly authorize bad faith penalties against sureties. The threat of such penalties often weighs heavily. But do not assume, simply because a case is pending in Georgia or another state with a bad faith statute, that bad faith penalties are a real threat.

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