Articles Posted in Georgia Supreme Court

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n November 2005, Appellant Richard Mitchell obtained title to property located in Alpharetta and executed a security deed in favor of MERS, who subsequently assigned the security deed to Wells Fargo as trustee. The property was foreclosed upon after Appellants Richard (and his wife Deborah) became delinquent on their mortgage payments. Wells Fargo purchased the property at a foreclosure sale. Since that time, Appellants admitted that they made numerous "dilatory filings," proceeding pro se, in state, federal, and bankruptcy courts. In May 2010, Mitchell filed a complaint against Wells Fargo; Wells Fargo moved to dismiss the complaint and moved for a bill of peace pursuant to OCGA 23-3-110 against Mitchell as a measure to end Mitchell's "meritless filings" in state court. The trial court issued an order granting Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because Mitchell had not properly served Wells Fargo. The court also granted Wells Fargo's motion for a bill of peace, finding that the records of Fulton County courts reflected "nothing less than repeated and contemptuous behavior in the courts of this State" and that the lengthy history of filings in federal court showed a pattern of behavior by Mitchell consistent with his state filings. The court permanently enjoined Mitchell from filing any pleading or complaint related to the foreclosure and eviction from the property at issue for a period of five years unless Mitchell first received written approval from the court. Mitchell moved to set aside the order granting the bill of peace, which the court denied. The Mitchells appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against Wells Fargo. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Mitchell v. Wells Fargo Bank" on Justia Law

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Before he committed suicide in September 2012, twenty-two-year old Christopher Landry had been under the care of appellant, psychiatrist Crit Cooksey. In August 2012, Dr. Cooksey prescribed both Seroquel and Cymbalta for Christopher, two drugs that contained "black box warnings" warning of an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in young adults and recommended that medical professionals prescribing the drugs monitor patients for worsening or emergent suicidal thoughts and behavior. Following Christopher's death, his parents, appellees Lisa and Michael Landry, began investigating a potential medical malpractice, wrongful death, and survival action against Dr. Cooksey and made multiple requests for copies of Christopher's psychiatric records. Dr. Cooksey on each occasion refused to produce the records, claiming they were protected from disclosure by Georgia's psychiatrist-patient privilege. Appellees filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction directing Dr. Cooksey to turn over all of Christopher's psychiatric records. The trial court, without reviewing Dr. Cooksey's files, concluded that equity supported appellees' position and issued an injunction directing Dr. Cooksey to produce to appellees "all records pertaining to the medical treatment and history of Christopher Landry." Dr. Cooksey appealed the trial court's order and filed a motion for an emergency stay which was granted. Upon further review, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred to the extent it exercised its equitable powers to order the production of information protected from disclosure by Georgia law. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the order of the trial court in part and reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cooksey v. Landry" on Justia Law

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This appeal stems from a divorce action filed by appellant Kathryn Brookfield Hoover (Wife) against Richard Craig Hoover (Husband). Wife requested a jury trial, and the court bifurcated the proceedings, first hearing the issue of child custody in a bench trial, and reserving issues of equitable division of property, alimony, and child support for a jury trial. After the bench trial on the child custody issue, the trial court issued a court-ordered parenting plan which granted joint physical and legal custody of the minor children. An amended parenting plan order was entered, and another order, “2nd Order Amending June 15, 2012 Parenting Plan” was entered January 11, 2013. Before the jury trial on the remaining issues started, the parties executed a settlement agreement resolving the financial issues in the case, and the trial court entered a final judgment and decree of divorce on February 14, 2013. In addition to referencing the settlement agreement, the final judgment referenced the three orders relating to the parenting plan and stated these orders “are . . . incorporated herein and made a part of this Final Judgment and Decree.” Wife filed a motion for new trial of the custody issues within thirty days of the date the final order and decree was entered. The trial court granted Husband’s motion to dismiss the motion for new trial, finding that Wife’s motion for new trial was untimely since it sought a new trial on the court-ordered parenting plan and was thus filed more than thirty days after the “entry of judgment” on the court-ordered parenting plan. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order dismissing the motion for new trial as having been untimely filed. View "Hoover v. Hoover" on Justia Law