Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Dolan et al., A17A0408
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/28/2017, 7/28/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The Court affirmed the judgment entered on a jury verdict in favor of homeowners in their suit arising from the allegedly negligent installation of air conditioning ductwork in their house.
Kolb v. Northside Hospital, A17A0114
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/29/2017, 7/28/2017)
HEALTH LAW:
The trial court properly granted hospital's motion for summary judgment on doctor's claims for breach of contract, negligence, tortious interference with business and contractual relations and attorney fees arising out of the suspension of her medical staff privileges at the hospital because the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 barred the claims. 
Souza v. Berberian, A17A0314
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/28/2017, 7/27/2017)
CONTRACTS:
An email exchange between parties was too indefinite to be enforceable as a contract because it did not set out the terms essential to a contract and no other evidence filled the gaps; accordingly, the trial court properly granted summary judgment to defendant on plaintiff's contract-based claims in a business dispute. 
Gaddy et al. v. Georgia Department Of Revenue et al.; and vice versa, s17a0177
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/26/2017, 7/27/2017)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:
The trial court properly dismissed taxpayers' claims challenging the constitutionality of Georgia's Qualified Education Tax Credit based on lack of standing but erred in denying defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claim for mandamus relief.
Sutherlin v. sutherlin, S17F0613
Supreme Court of Georgia, Civil Case (6/26/2017, 7/27/2017)
FAMILY LAW:
The trial court partially erred in holding husband in contempt of parties' divorce decree because the Separation and Property Division Agreement husband allegedly violated was ambiguous with respect to one provision and given that ambiguity, husband's failure to comply with his obligations did not constitute a willful violation of the agreement. 
Scott v. The State, s17a0524
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/26/2017, 7/27/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
Although defendant's trial counsel performed deficiently in not seeking expert assistance in evaluating defendant's mental condition, defendant failed to prove her ineffective assistance of counsel claim because she did not show that but for the deficiency, there was a reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have been more favorable to her, since defendant did not meet her burden to demonstrate a reasonable probability that a mental evaluation would have resulted in her being found incompetent to stand trial or being found not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill.
Jones v. The State, s16g0890
Supreme Court of Georgia, Criminal Case (6/26/2017, 7/27/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
Although the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of defendant's prior DUI conviction in his trial for DUI per se because the probative value of the evidence was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, the error was harmless in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt. 
Hospital Authority Of Valdosta/Lowndes County d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center et al. v. Fender et al., A17A0002
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/23/2017, 7/26/2017)
TORTS:
The trial court erred in denying summary judgment to defendant hospital on plaintiffs' claims for negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention because hospital conceded that it would be vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior if its employee was found negligent and plaintiffs did not also bring a valid claim for punitive damages against hospital for its own independent negligence; however, the trial court properly denied hospital's and medical defendants' motions for summary judgment on plaintiffs' medical malpractice claims. 
Jewell v. McGinnis et al., A17A0161
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/22/2017, 7/26/2017)
FAMILY LAW:
The trial court erred in awarding joint legal custody to the children's mother and paternal grandparents and primary physical custody to grandparents, because O.C.G.A. § 19-9-6 does not authorize an award of joint legal custody to a parent and a third party.
Oxendine v. Government Transparency And Campaign Finance Commission, A17A0242
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (6/22/2017, 7/26/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court did not err in finding that it lacked jurisdiction under O.C.G.A. § 50-13-19 to review the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission's "interim decision" regarding a candidate for governor's alleged violation of a provision of the Ethics in Government Act because he did not meet his burden to show that a review of the final Commission hearing would not provide an adequate legal remedy.
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