Ga. Code § 29-3-3

Current through 2021-2022 Regular Session Chapter 884
Section 29-3-3 - "Gross settlement" defined; compromise of claim; finality of settlement
(a) For purposes of this Code section, the term :
(1) "Gross settlement" means the present value of all amounts paid or to be paid in settlement of a minor's claim, including cash, expenses of litigation, attorney's fees, and any amounts allocated to a structured settlement or other similar financial arrangement. Such term shall include the total amount paid or to be paid on behalf of all settling parties.
(2) "Net settlement" means the gross settlement reduced by:
(A) Attorney's fees, expenses of litigation, and legally enforceable liens against the settlement that are to be paid from the settlement proceeds;
(B) The present value of amounts to be received by the minor after reaching the age of majority; and
(C) The present value of amounts to be placed into a trust that the probate court or court in which the action is pending approves or creates for the benefit of the minor.
(b) If the minor has a conservator, the only person who can compromise a minor's claim is the conservator.
(c)
(1) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is $25,000.00 or less, the natural guardian of the minor, without becoming the conservator of the minor and without any court approval:
(A) May compromise the claim; or
(B) May receive payment of and shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1.
(2) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is more than $25,000.00, and the net settlement is $25,000.00 or less:
(A) The settlement shall be submitted for approval to:
(i) The probate court if no legal action has been initiated, or
(ii) The court in which the legal action is pending if legal action has been initiated, and such court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to approve the settlement, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section;
(B) No conservator shall be required to compromise the claim; and
(C) No conservator shall be required to receive payment of the settlement; provided, however, that the natural guardian receiving payment of the settlement shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1.
(3) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is more than $25,000.00, and the net settlement is more than $25,000.00:
(A) A conservator shall be required to compromise the claim;
(B) A conservator shall be required to receive payment of the settlement and shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1; and
(C) Such conservator shall submit the settlement for approval to:
(i) The probate court if no legal action has been initiated, or
(ii) The court in which the legal action is pending if legal action has been initiated, and such court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to approve the settlement, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section.

(d)
(1) If an order of approval is obtained from the probate court or a court in which legal action is pending, based upon the best interest of the minor, the natural guardian, next friend, or conservator shall be authorized, subject to Code Section 29-3-22, to compromise any contested or doubtful claim in favor of the minor without receiving consideration for such compromise as a lump sum.
(2) Without limiting the foregoing, the compromise may :
(A) Involve a structured settlement or creation of a trust on terms that the probate court or court in which the action is pending approves or creates, including, but not limited to, funding; and
(B) Be in exchange for :
(i) The resolution of the action; or
(ii) An arrangement that defers :
(I) Receipt of part, not to exceed a total distribution of $25,000.00 prior to a minor reaching the age of majority; or
(II) All of the consideration for the compromise until after the minor reaches the age of majority .
(e) Any settlement entered consistent with the provisions of this Code section shall be final and binding upon all parties, including the minor.
(f) It shall be within the discretion of the court in which the action is pending to hold a hearing on compliance with the requirements of this Code section; provided, however, that a hearing shall not be required if compliance with such requirements is evident from the record.
(g)
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section to the contrary, where a settlement has been submitted to a court for approval, an action shall not be voluntarily dismissed pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 9-11-41, or otherwise dismissed upon motion, except upon order of the court in which the action is pending and upon the terms and conditions as that court deems proper.
(2) If specifically indicated in the dismissal order, or if a settlement is reached while the case is pending in the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, the trial court shall retain exclusive jurisdiction to approve any settlement.
(3) If legal action has been initiated but is no longer pending, and the trial court has not specifically retained jurisdiction pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, then any settlement approved by the court in which the legal action is pending as required by subsection (c) of this Code section, shall instead be submitted for approval to the probate court.

OCGA § 29-3-3

Amended by 2022 Ga. Laws 745,§ 3, eff. 5/2/2022.
Amended by 2008 Ga. Laws 685,§ 6, eff. 7/1/2008.
Amended by 2006 Ga. Laws 766,§ 5, eff. 7/1/2006.
Former § 29-3-3 repealed by 2004 Ga. Laws 460, § 1, eff. 7/1/2005.
Added by 2004 Ga. Laws 460, § 1, eff. 7/1/2005.