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When Citizens Can Bring Private Actions for Alleged Violations in Georgia

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed into law a measure that clarifies when citizens can bring private actions for alleged violations of state regulatory law, a moved hailed by tort reform advocates.

The Transparency in Lawsuits Protection Act, which the Republican governor signed into law on Wednesday, allows a private right to action only when the state legislation under which the suit is brought expressly allows such a suit. Previous Georgia law left the interpretation of a private right to sue to the courts.

Tort reform advocates hailed the change.

“Clarity and transparency in legislative intent is critical, especially when bills might crack open the door to frivolous and expensive litigation,” Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Washington-based U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, said in a statement. “Under this common-sense law, no new private rights of action will be inadvertently created through legislation unless specifically articulated by the Legislature.”

She noted that the law is the first of its kind in the United States.