Enacted as part of the Georgia Tort Reform Act of 1987, the state’s punitive damages statute requires, among other things, that 75 percent of any punitive damage award in a product liability suit be turned over to the state.

Intended to ensure that such damages serve as a “punishment” for an offending defendant rather than an additional reward for plaintiffs, the law has been anything but a cash cow for Georgia’s coffers. Instead it’s acted as an incentive for parties to settle posttrial rather than hand over hefty awards to the state.

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