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The Honorable Mark A. Scott Speaks at the Sept. Family Law Section Breakfast


Mark A. Scott

by M. Debra Gold

As the new Family Law Section of the DeKalb Bar continues to grow, Judge Mark A. Scott spoke before the largest turnout yet at the Sept. 3 breakfast meeting. Judge Scott sees himself as a nontraditional judge and notes that some of the other judges may better define the circuit and where it is going. Nonetheless, he felt honored and pleased to have the opportunity to address the group as he has been designated as the liaison between the DeKalb Bench and the DeKalb Bar Family Law Section.

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What Tort Reform Means to Georgians

by Rachel Elovitz, Esq.

Between 1997 and 2007 medical tort costs in the United States reportedly doubled from $15 billion to $30 billion.1 During that same period, the median jury award in medical liability cases tripled from $157,000 to $487,000.2 By 2003 America’s civil justice system reportedly cost $246 billion, $845 per citizen or $3,380 for a family of four, the most expensive civil justice system in the industrialized world, according to the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA).3 In just three years (between 2000 and 2003), tort costs reportedly increased 35.4 percent.4 Over the last 50 years, U.S. tort costs have exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2 to 3 percentage points.5 America, according to ATRA, has a grossly ineffectual civil justice system that “returns less than 50 cents on the dollar and less than 22 cents for actual economic loss to claimants.”6 This reality has inspired legislative action in Georgia and resulted in various reforms since 2000.

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THE SHADOW CURSOR: Corpus Juris Fabulae (A Body of Legal Fables)

We need a new body of imaginary law. This is because rules of logic and common sense are rarely codified or reported. But sometimes it seems that they need to be.
Those legal professionals who attempt to convey common-sense concepts to lazy or uncomprehending lawyers, or to distracted or overloaded judges, too often feel that they are engaging in what amounts to a sisyphean struggle up the steep, slippery, and syllogistic steps of what should be an intuitively obvious argument – the dead weight of the listener in tow.

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ASK THE BARRISTER: Is Civility Incompatible with Advocacy?

Dear Barrister:

I had a dream last night; actually it was more of a nightmare. I observed a heated courtroom exchange between an attorney and a judge.

The attorney objected to statements made by opposing counsel during opening arguments. During the course of his objection, he suggested as fact that which the court knew was tenuous at best. The judge chided the lawyer rather sternly, reminding the attorney that he was not new to the bench, had reached adulthood many decades earlier, and was nobody’s fool. He suggested that the attorney not waste the court’s time or taxpayer dollars with time-wasting shenanigans. The attorney nodded, as if he understood, and then repeated that for which the Court had just rebuked him.

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