Court Opinions

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Recent opinions released by Georgia's Appellate courts
Ellis v. The State, A17A0659
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/26/2017, 11/21/2017)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:
The trial court erred in key factual findings and failed to balance the relevant legal factors when it denied defendant's plea in bar on constitutional speedy trial grounds.
Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Tracy, A17A1318
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/30/2017, 11/21/2017)
CONTRACTS:
The trial court erred in denying insurer's motion to dismiss plaintiff's breach of contract action because plaintiff lacked privity of contract with insurer and had not obtained a monetary judgment against its insured; plaintiff thus could not maintain a direct action against insurer.
Atwater et al. v. Tucker, A17A0722
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/24/2017, 11/20/2017)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:
County school officials were entitled to official immunity in teacher's suit under 42 USC § 1983 alleging that they violated her First Amendment rights by disciplining her after she posted a particular comment on a social media website and the trial court thus erred in denying their motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Carter v. The State, A17A0860
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/23/2017, 11/20/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court did not violate the former version of O.C.G.A.  17-8-57 when it reminded a witness during her direct examination that she was in the room when a co-defendant uttered a threat; accordingly, the Court affirmed defendant's convictions for aggravated assault and other crimes.
The State v. Peabody, A17A1258
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/25/2017, 11/20/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly granted former lieutenant's motion to quash an indictment against him for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the hot-car death of his K-9 dog because he was acting within the scope of his official job duties when the alleged crimes occurred and he was therefore entitled to the protections afforded by O.C.G.A. § 17-7-52, including timely notice of the grand jury proceeding and a copy of the proposed indictment, but State failed to comply with those statutory mandates.
Carpenter v. The State, A17A1354
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/24/2017, 11/20/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
Defendant failed to prove his ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on trial counsel's failure to object to the victim's in-court identification, because any objection would have been meritless and failure to raise a meritless objection does not constitute deficient performance; however, the trial court erred in failing to merge certain counts for sentencing.
Blue Ridge Auto Auction v. Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Company, Inc., A17A0840
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/24/2017, 11/20/2017)
INSURANCE LAW:
The trial court erred in granting summary judgment to insurer and denying summary judgment to plaintiff because the language in the insurance policy crucial to the determination of whether plaintiff was an insured was ambiguous and because the Court must construe ambiguities against the insurer, the Court concluded that plaintiff was an insured under the policy.
In The Interest of K. G., a child., A17A1309
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/24/2017, 11/17/2017)
FAMILY LAW:
The Court affirmed the grant of permanent guardianship of the child to the child's aunt, because there was clear and convincing evidence authorizing the juvenile court to find that reunification was not in the best interests of the child based on the likelihood that it would only prolong her dependency.
In The Interest of E. B., a child, A17A0784
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/23/2017, 11/17/2017)
CRIMINAL PRACTICE:
The evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile's adjudications of delinquency for burglary and shoplifting but there was sufficient evidence to support his adjudication of delinquency for tampering with the operation of an electronic monitoring device.
Graham v. Reynolds et al, A17A0709
Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (10/23/2017, 11/17/2017)
CIVIL PRACTICE:
The trial court properly denied defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' medical malpractice action because, contrary to defendant's contention, plaintiffs' expert's affidavit was sufficient to meet the requirements of O.C.G.A.  9-11-9.1.
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