In two earlier postings (“When a Published Decision is Not Binding Precedent,” posted April 8, 2013; “Binding Precedent Revisited,” posted July 25, 2013), this blog looked at the frequency with which the Georgia Court of Appeals has issued published decisions that are not binding precedent. If the case is decided by a three-judge panel of the Court and at least one of the judges concurs in whole or in part in the “judgment only,” that decision is not binding precedent as to that part of the decision in which a judge has so concurred.
December 1, 2014 was the last day on which the Georgia Court of Appeals issued opinions for cases submitted during its April 2014 term. A review of the opinions in FASTCASE shows that during its September 2014 term through December 1, the Court issued 26 published decisions by three-judge panels in which one or more of the judges concurred in the judgment only as to some part of the opinion. Because the fact that a judge has concurred in the judgment only is reflected only in a notation at the end of the opinion and typically is not accompanied by a separate opinion, practitioners need to carefully review each opinion they cite to make sure that it is binding precedent.
For more information on this topic, contact your Appellate Counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell.