Still debating the reach of the state’s 10-year-old apportionment statute, a divided Georgia Supreme Court on Monday held that workers’ compensation law does not prevent defendants in a tort suit from trying to shift blame to the employer of a plaintiff who is injured on the job.

The 5-2 ruling authored by Justice Keith Blackwell extended the reasoning of the court’s July ruling in Zaldivar v. Prickett, which interpreted the 2005 statute that was part of a tort reform package opposed by plaintiffs lawyers. The statute allows juries to allocate fault and corresponding damages to both parties and nonparties, potentially reducing a defendant’s financial obligation without creating any financial obligation on the part of nonparties.

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