Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Newstrom et al. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, A17A0954
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/30/2017, 11/27/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly granted insurer's motion for summary judgment in insureds' declaratory judgment action in connection with their uninsured/underinsured motorist claim because, under Georgia law, a claimant who settles with a tortfeasor must execute a limited release pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-24-41.1 in order to preserve the claimants pending claim for UM motorist benefits against his or her own insurance carrier and here the claimant executed a general release of her claims against the other driver in the accident.
Pittman v. The State, A17A1122
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/30/2017, 11/27/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The Court affirmed defendant's conviction for one count of entering an automobile, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence an unredacted prior accusation against defendant as evidence of prior difficulties between defendant and the victim.
The State v. Licata, A17A1200
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/26/2017, 11/22/2017)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:
The trial court erred in granting DUI defendant's motion to suppress the results field sobriety tests and evidence of his refusal to take a breath test because he was sufficiently warned of his right not to incriminate himself before the field sobriety tests and he was not entitled to counsel when deciding whether to submit to the state-requested breath test.
Harvey v. The State, A17A0898
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/30/2017, 11/22/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
Although the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for possession of marijuana, the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for possession of a firearm during a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon because there was no evidence showing that defendant exercised dominion over the gun.
Smith v. Found et al., A17A1312
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/26/2017, 11/22/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
Defendant was entitled to summary judgment in plaintiff's negligence action arising after her husband, a farm employee, died when he was pinned under a tractor tire while trying to remove it by himself, because the employee assumed the risk of injury as a matter of law and had equal or greater knowledge of the hazardous condition.
HH&L Electric, Inc. v. Hebbard Electric, Inc., A17A0957
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/25/2017, 11/22/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court erred in granting partial summary judgment to defendant in a breach of contract action that was based on a disagreement as to the amount of "profit" parties were to split in their joint venture because the trial court based that decision on disputed opinion testimony.
The State v. Council, A17A1218
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/30/2017, 11/22/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court erred in granting defendant's motion in limine to suppress the results of two breath tests obtained after her arrest for driving under the influence because, under the totality of the circumstances, the officer did not coerce or compel defendant to undergo the breath tests.
Emanuel, et al. v. Kautz, A17A1284
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/25/2017, 11/21/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly awarded appellate attorney fees to Snellville mayor after she successfully appealed the trial court's decision in her declaratory judgment action against the members of the City Council in which she sought a declaration that she had sole authority to terminate the employment of the city attorney.
Benson et al. v. Ward, A17A0661
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/30/2017, 11/21/2017)
LEGAL PROFESSION:
The trial court erred in denying attorney's motion for summary judgment in former client's legal malpractice action because former client could not show that attorney's actions were the proximate cause of damages to the client.
Fulton County, Georgia v. Soco Contracting Company, Inc., A17A1001
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/25/2017, 11/21/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court erred in denying county's motion for summary judgment in construction company's suit arising out of a contract for the construction of a cultural center because county was entitled to sovereign immunity on causes of action related to unwritten change orders.
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