Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion stemming from a Georgia slip and fall lawsuit. According to the record, the plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant on May 24, 2019, for injuries she suffered on May 28, 2017. The plaintiff served the defendant with the summons and complaint on August 23, 2019. In response, the defendant answered, claiming that the plaintiff’s service occurred after the applicable statute of limitations. The case illustrates the importance of acting with haste when filing a personal injury claim.
According to the court’s opinion, the parties agreed upon a scheduling order and submitted it to the court. The order notified the court that the plaintiff’s attorney’s co-counsel was a General Assembly member, and was entitled to a statutory leave of court, starting on January 6, 2020. However, on December 13, 2019, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint based on the statute of limitations. The defendant argued that the plaintiff failed to effectuate service. The plaintiff’s response was due on January 13, 2020; however, she did not respond, and the court dismissed her claims. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in ignoring co-counsel’s statutory leave, when it granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
In Georgia law, if an attorney is a member of the General Assembly, the court must grant a continuance and stay of all aspects of the pending case. This includes the requirement that the attorney respond to any pending motions. However, the text of the statute is unclear whether it only applies to the lead counsel or, as is the case here, to co-counsel as well.
In this case, the court declined to resolve the scope of the statute, instead concluding that the attorney appropriately relied on the court’s proposed scheduling order, including the stay. The court reasoned that it was appropriate for an attorney and client to rely on a date set by a court’s order.
Here, the continuance and stay ran from one week before the legislative session through three weeks after the end of the term. Therefore, the plaintiff’s attorney’s response to opposing the motion to dismiss was within the appropriate period. Under the court’s order, the plaintiff’s attorney was relieved of her obligation to respond to the defendant’s motion based on non-compliance with the statute of limitations. The court ultimately ruled that the plaintiff should be allowed to respond to the defendant’s motion, and reinstated her right to pursue her claims.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Georgia Slip and Fall?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died in a Georgia accident, you should contact Christopher Simon, Attorney at Law. The Simon Law firm has extensive experience handling various accident cases, including Georgia slip and falls, motor vehicle collisions, defective products, and more. Our attorneys possess the legal knowledge, resources, and skill to successfully represent clients in their claims for damages. Through our representation, we have recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of Georgia injury victims. Compensation in these cases typically includes payments for medical bills, ongoing expenses, lost wages and benefits, and pain and suffering. Contact the Simon Law Firm at 404-259-7635, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.