General Motors Corp v moseley.docx - General Motors Corp v Moseley Annotate this Case 213 Ga App 875(1994 GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION v MOSELEY et al and

General Motors Corp v moseley.docx - General Motors Corp v...

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General Motors Corp. v. Moseley Annotate this Case 213 Ga. App. 875 (1994) GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION v. MOSELEY et al.; and vice versa. A94A0826, A94A0827. Court of Appeals of Georgia. Decided June 13, 1994. Reconsiderations Denied July 14, 1994. King & Spalding, Griffin B. Bell, Frank C. Jones, Byron Attridge, Chilton D. Varner, Philip E. Holladay, Jr., for appellant. Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General, Michael E. Hobbs, Deputy Attorney General, Butler, Wooten, Overby & Cheeley, James E. Butler, Jr., Robert D. Cheeley, Patrick A. Dawson, Albert M. Pearson III, Andersen, Davidson & Tate, Gerald Davidson, Jr., for appellees. Alston & Bird, James C. Grant, Robert D. McCallum, Jr., G. Conley Ingram, amici curiae. BLACKBURN, Judge. On October 21, 1989, as Shannon Moseley drove his 1985 GMC pickup truck through an intersection, he was struck on the driver's side by another pickup truck driven by David Ruprecht. The side saddle gas fuel tank on Moseley's truck ruptured, and burst into flames shortly after the collision. Moseley was killed in the incident, *876 and the medical examiner who performed an autopsy concluded that he died from thermal burns and smoke inhalation following the collision. Thomas and Elaine Moseley, as administrators of Moseley's estate and as parents and sole survivors, commenced this action against General Motors Corporation (GM). Following trial in the matter, the jury awarded the Moseleys $4,241,611.84 against GM and Ruprecht on their wrongful death claim, and $1.00 on a claim for pain and suffering. The jury also assessed against GM $101,000,000 in punitive damages. Subsequently, the State of Georgia sought 75 percent of the punitive damages award pursuant to OCGA § 51-12-5.1 (e) (2), which apportions that percentage of such an
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award to the State of Georgia and the remaining 25 percent to the plaintiffs in a product liability action. The trial court disallowed that apportionment, finding the statute unconstitutional. On appeal, however, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of OCGA § 51-12-5.1 (e) (2), and reversed. State of Ga. v. Moseley, 263 Ga. 680 (436 SE2d 632) (1993). GM filed a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence, which the trial court denied, and this appeal followed. The Moseleys, dissatisfied with the $1.00 award for pain and suffering and the trial court's denial of their request for prejudgment interest, also filed a motion for new trial which the trial court denied. The Moseleys have filed a cross-appeal from that denial of their motion for new trial. The parties originally filed their respective appeals with the Supreme Court, on the ground that the case involved constitutional questions regarding the matter of punitive damages. However, after noting that the issues in these cases involve only the application of settled constitutional principles, and do not require the construction of either the Georgia or the United States Constitution, or a determination of the constitutionality of a law, the Supreme Court transferred the appeal and cross-appeal to this Court.
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