Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Ussery v. Goodrich Restoration, Inc., A17A0004
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (5/16/2017, 5/30/2017)
CONTRACTS:
The trial court properly found in favor of plaintiff on defendant's counterclaim for a violation of the Fair Business Practices Act in a contractual dispute, as the trial court properly ruled that because plaintiff did not realize a profit from its dealings with defendant, it was not required under O.C.G.A. § 43-41-17 subsection (b) to return funds defendant paid to plaintiff for general contracting services it provided without the necessary license.
Darden v. The State, A17A1059
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (5/10/2017, 5/30/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
Defendant failed to prove that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to move to suppress certain evidence and in opening the door to testimony regarding defendant's refusal to speak with police, because defendant did not show that the evidence would have been suppressed had trial counsel so moved and, even assuming that counsel was deficient in opening the door to testimony regarding defendant's right to remain silent, defendant did not show a reasonable probability that such deficiency impacted the outcome of his trial.
Hartman v. Clark, A17A1023
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (5/10/2017, 5/30/2017)
TORTS:
Because the record contained no evidence that defendant had superior knowledge of the hazard on which plaintiff slipped and fell in defendant's restaurant's restroom, the trial court properly granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. 
Central Georgia Women's Health Center, LLC et al. v. Dean et al., A17A0243
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (5/10/2017, 5/26/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly denied defendants' motions for directed verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in plaintiffs' medical malpractice suit seeking damages for the wrongful death of their child and for the pain and suffering of the mother and the child, as the evidence did not demand a finding in favor of defendants on the issue of causation and the matter was properly submitted to the jury for resolution.
Bihlear v. The State, A17A0116
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (5/10/2017, 5/26/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The Court affirmed the trial court's denial of defendant's pro se "Motion to Correct Void Sentence" following his conviction for armed robbery, for which he was sentenced as a recidivist to life in prison without parole, because the trial court correctly determined that defendant's sentence was not void. 
The State v. McPherson, A17A0364
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (5/9/2017, 5/26/2017)
EVIDENCE:
The trial court abused its discretion in excluding similar transaction evidence in defendant's child molestation trial because the fact that the prior acts were committed about 35 years earlier did not automatically require their exclusion and the prior acts were admissible under O.C.G.A. § 24-4-414 subsection (a).
Caffee v. The State, A17A0087
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (5/10/2017, 5/26/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during a traffic stop because, under the totality of the circumstances, there was probable cause for a warrantless search of defendant's shirt pocket and the officer's investigation did not exceed the permissible scope of the stop nor unnecessarily prolong it.
Lee et al. v. Park, A17A0519
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (5/9/2017, 5/25/2017)
ATTORNEYS FEES:
The trial court abused its discretion in ruling that plaintiff's claims lacked substantial justification and, based upon that finding, in awarding defendant attorney fees under O.C.G.A. § 9-15-14 subsection (b) because plaintiff presented evidence that created a legitimate factual dispute as to whether defendant was a bona fide purchaser for value and the fact that the trial court ultimately ruled against her did not mandate a finding that plaintiff's equitable claims were substantially frivolous, groundless or vexatious.
In Re Lionel John Williams et al., A17A0019
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (5/9/2017, 5/25/2017)
FAMILY LAW:
The trial court erred in ordering potential adoptive parents to provide notice of pending adoption proceedings to the child's alleged biological father, because the trial court had terminated the rights of "any unknown, unnamed biological father" of the child, the alleged biological father had not filed a motion to set aside the termination order and he thus was no longer entitled to notice of adoption proceedings. 
Millsaps v. The State, A17A0592
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (5/8/2017, 5/25/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly denied defendant's motion to dismiss on double jeopardy grounds an accusation brought in superior court alleging charges of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, reckless driving, and speeding after he pleaded guilty in municipal court to separate charges of reckless driving, resisting an officer and speeding arising from the same police chase, because defendant failed to show that the municipal court prosecutor had actual knowledge of the criminal conduct taking place outside of the city limits.
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