In a unanimous decision the Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a decision that could have wide-ranging effects for contract employees working for the state.
In 2001 18-year old George Summerlin died while in the care of the state. He was living in Georgia Pines, a small mental health facility in South Georgia's Thomas County.
Attorney Cale Conley represents Summerlin's family. He says workers at the state contracted facility were negligent and failed to check on George during the night. He was dead seven hours before they found him.
"He had a seizure and got into this contorted position and because of the seizure couldn't, couldn't sort of rescue himself and he suffocated."
The state claimed because the two workers were not technically state employees the state could not be sued. The Georgia Supreme Court disagreed. The case is now expected to go to trial.