Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Sachtjen v. The State, A16A1863
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (3/9/2017, 3/30/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's request to charge the jury that the absence of some audio portions of the video recording of his arrest entitled him to a presumption that the missing parts of the recording would have been favorable to the defense in his trial for DUI less-safe and reckless driving. 
City Of Stone Mountain v. Black et al., A16A2201
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (3/9/2017, 3/30/2017)
TORTS:
The Court affirmed the trial court's denial of city's motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' claim for stigma damages in a nuisance action because, contrary to city's contention, an award of both diminution-in-rental-value damages and stigma damages would not amount to a double recovery, since those categories of damages did not seek to compensate the same injury.
Lawton v. The State, A16A2089
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (3/9/2017, 3/30/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
An investigator's testimony that defendant twice scheduled a meeting to speak with her about the crimes she was investigating but failed to show for the meetings did not constitute an improper comment on his pre-arrest failure to come forward. 
Mashburn Construction, L.P. et al. v. Charterbank, A16A1530
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (3/9/2017, 3/30/2017)
CREDITORS AND DEBTORS RIGHTS:
In an action seeking a deficiency judgment on a note following a foreclosure sale, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to bank as to the amount of damages owed on the note, because there were conflicts and gaps in the evidence regarding the calculation of damages on the note.
Toole v. The State, A16A1491
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (3/10/2017, 3/30/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained as the result of a traffic stop, as the officer identified specific and articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion that defendant had violated a traffic law.
Grange Mutual Casualty Company v. Woodard et al., s16q1875
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (3/6/2017, 3/29/2017)
CONTRACTS:
Answering two of four certified questions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit regarding the interpretation of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1 in connection with a personal injury case arising out of an automobile accident, the Supreme Court found that § 9-11-67.1 does not prohibit a claimant from conditioning acceptance of a pre-suit offer to settle upon the performance of some act, including a timely payment. 
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., d/b/a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage v. Latouche, A16A1749
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (3/7/2017, 3/29/2017)
CONTRACTS:
Defendant bank was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claims for breach of contract, wrongful foreclosure and surprise arising from the nonjudicial foreclosure of his property that was financed by a Veterans Affairs Administration guaranteed loan.
In The Matter Of Gary Lanier Coulter, s17y0814
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (2/27/2017, 3/29/2017)
LEGAL PROFESSION:
The Supreme Court accepted an attorney's petition for voluntary discipline, in which he admitted that he violated Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(a) in his representation of a client in a complex probate matter, and imposed a Review Panel reprimand. 
Smiley v. The State, s16a1597
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (2/27/2017, 3/29/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The evidence was sufficient to support defendant's convictions for malice murder and first degree cruelty to children in connection with the death of a 3-month-old and injuries to a 7-month-old; however, the trial court erred in failing to merge defendant's conviction and sentence for the aggravated battery of the 3-month-old into the murder conviction, and the Court vacated that conviction and sentence. 
In The Interest Of D. W. et al., children., A16A1610
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (3/7/2017, 3/29/2017)
FAMILY LAW:
The juvenile court's order terminating mother's parental rights to her four minor children failed to point to specific facts that supported the court's conclusion that the cause of the children's dependency was likely to continue. 
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