The first few decisions a Georgia personal injury plaintiff makes can be critical to the ultimate success of their case. In a recent Georgia premises liability case before the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case as untimely because the plaintiff originally named the wrong party as a defendant. By the time the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her initial complaint and refiled a complaint naming the correct defendant, the statute of limitations had expired.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was injured at a water park. Just a few days before the statute of limitations expired the plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit naming “Georgia Department of Natural Resources d/b/a Summer Waves Water Park” as a defendant. Later, the plaintiff voluntarily withdrew that case and refiled a case naming “Jekyll Island State Park Authority, a/k/a Jekyll Island Authority, d/b/a Summer Waves Water Park” as the defendant. The two claims were based on the same injuries. The plaintiff claimed that the subsequent case was a renewal action and that it related back to the date of her original complaint.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s case was filed after the statute of limitations, and should be dismissed. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s second case was not a renewal action because it named a different defendant. The trial court agreed with the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.
The Court’s Opinion
The court held that the plaintiff’s case was not a renewal action, and that because the statute of limitations had expired by the time the second case was filed, it was time-barred. The court explained that, under Georgia’s renewal statute, “if the statute of limitation has expired, the plaintiff is limited to suing the same defendants under the same theories of recovery.”
Here, the court determined that the defendants in the plaintiff’s first and second case were not the same entity. The court reasoned that each entity was created by a different statute and, while the two entities were related, they were not identical. The court also held that the fact that the plaintiff included the entity’s trade name, “Waves Water Park,” in both complaints did not change the result. The court explained that it is an entity’s actual name that is relevant to the inquiry, and not its trade name.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Attorney Christopher M. Simon is a dedicated Georgia personal injury lawyer with extensive experience representing injury victims in all types of personal injury claims. Attorney Simon provides a unique form of client-centered representation to each of his clients, ensuring that they are kept abreast of their case’s progress through the process. To learn more about how Attorney Simon can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 404-259-7635 to schedule your free consultation today.
Court Discusses “Distraction Doctrine” in Recent Georgia Premises Liability Case, Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog, published December 26, 2018
Georgia Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case for Lack of Evidence Proving Defendant’s Knowledge of Hazard, Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog, published January 15, 2019