May 3, 2022

Blinded By The Light? Georgia Court of Appeals Says Commercial Greenhouse Light Not A Nuisance

In Kempton v. Southern Flavor Real Estate, L.P.[1], the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment order in favor of a commercial greenhouse operator and against a residential neighbor’s claim of nuisance due to excess light emitted from the greenhouse. The greenhouse business was located on rural land zoned for agricultural use. The greenhouse used automated lights mounted near the glass roof and pointed down toward the floor. A significant amount of the light reflected upward and was emitted through the roof. The neighbor owned the adjoining land with a house located about 1,000 feet from the greenhouse. The… Read more

Jun 4, 2021

The Importance of Follow-Up/Oversight on Contract Provisions

Companies should be aware that even when they have a written contract that spells out the parties’ responsibilities, e.g., pay rent monthly, they need to monitor compliance with those responsibilities.  Failure to do so – sloppy follow-up – can result in a “quasi-new agreement.” The Georgia Court of Appeals’ recent decision in The Hatchett Firm, P.C. v. Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc., 358 Ga. App. 607 (2021), vividly illustrates this point.  In that case, a sublessee paid partial rent payments for ten months and no rent for 6 months.  The sublessor sued the subtenant for the unpaid past due rent… Read more

Feb 5, 2020

When in Doubt Write it Out: Modifying, Cancelling, Revoking or Rescinding a Contract Subject to the Statute of Frauds


When entering into a contract, parties always have to ask themselves whether the contract must be written down and signed. Under the Georgia Statute of Frauds, contracts for (1) marriage; (2) sale of real property; (3) guaranteeing another’s debts; (4) terms of longer than one-year; (5) sale of goods for more than $500; (6) executor or other estate representative, promising to pay damages out of his/her own estate; (7) reviving a debt after the passage of the statute of limitations; and (8) commitment to lend money, must be in a writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith…. Read more

Mar 20, 2018

Georgia Court of Appeals Decision Regarding Antidegradation Rule and Nonpoint Sources

Georgia Court of Appeals: Wastewater Treatment Facility

On February 27, 2018, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a decision in Craig Barrow, III v. Richard E. Dunn, which involved an administrative appeal of a permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (“EPD”) to the City of Guyton for the operation of a land application system (“LAS”) wastewater treatment facility. In Barrow, the plaintiff-property owner filed an administrative appeal of the LAS permit and alleged that the partially treated wastewater sprayed by the City at the LAS site would run off the site and degrade the water quality of nearby streams and wetlands on the plaintiff’s property…. Read more

Dec 8, 2016

The Georgia Court of Appeals Changes its Rules

Stack of Files

Effective January 1, 2017, the Georgia Court of Appeals has made a number of changes to its rules. For practitioners, the most significant change is to the limitations on the length of briefs. Instead of limits of 30 pages in civil cases and 50 pages in criminal cases for the opening briefs of the appellant and the appellee, the Court will have word limits of 8400 words in civil cases and 14,000 words in criminal cases. This works out to 280 words per page.  That may overstate the number of words that will fit on a page when prepared in… Read more

Jul 11, 2016

Georgia Supreme Court Decision Regarding Causation Testimony in Asbestos Case

On July 5, 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a decision in Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc. v. Knight, et al., in which the plaintiff alleged he was exposed to asbestos-containing products at a textile manufacturer’s facility in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  In reversing a Georgia Court of Appeals decision, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the trial court should have excluded the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert because it did not “fit” the legal standard for causation under Georgia law.  Specifically, the plaintiff’s expert had adopted a “cumulative/any exposure” causation theory and opined that each exposure to asbestos… Read more

Apr 8, 2013

When Is a Published Decision Not Binding Precedent?

A practitioner might expect that a published decision appearing in the official reports of the Georgia Court of Appeals is binding precedent.  However, Georgia practice contains a wrinkle that affects the ability of a practitioner to cite a published decision as precedent.  It may be a wrinkle to which practitioners need to pay closer attention. The Georgia Court of Appeals has 12 judges, and an overwhelming majority of cases are decided by panels consisting of three judges.  Under Rule 33(a) of the Georgia Court of Appeals, a decision by a three-judge panel is “physical precedent only” with respect to any… Read more

Dec 3, 2012

Georgia Court of Appeals’ November Term Ends

            November 30 marked the end of the September Term of the Georgia Court of Appeals.  The end of the Court’s terms often follows an interesting dynamic.  However, that dynamic can impact the usefulness of the Court’s decisions.            The Georgia Court of Appeals has three terms of court:  January, April and September.  The Georgia Court of Appeals is obligated by the Georgia Constitution to decide an appeal by the end of the term after it is placed on the docket for hearing.  Therefore, a case docketed for hearing in the April term must be decided by the end… Read more