Archive for the ‘Litigation’ Category

RECENT GEORGIA CONDEMNATION CASES   Leave a comment

RECENT GEORGIA CONDEMNATION CASES

By R. Matthew Reeves

 

Gwinnett County’s renewal of the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in November of 2013 provides three more years of millions of dollars of local funding for transportation projects, which will no doubt produce more condemnation cases in Gwinnett County. Eminent domain law remains a highly specialized area of Georgia law, as evidenced by several reported condemnation cases over the past year.

Condemnation cases often require application of other areas of Georgia law, and in Postell v. Bd. of Commissioners of Houston County, 317 Ga. App. 898 (2012), probate law was applied. As part of a road project, Houston County condemned part of a 101 acre tract that Mr. Postell’s great-grandfather owned until he died intestate in 1949. Several weeks after the property was condemned, Mr. Postell was conveyed the property by way of a quit claim deed from his mother. The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of Mr. Postell’s motion to set aside the condemnation, holding that Mr. Postell had no standing to challenge the taking because the quit claim deed was not recorded until after title had passed to the condemning authority. The Postell court noted that a petition for condemnation is not merely a pleading, but is an instrument which passes title.

Fulton County v. Dillard Land Investments, LLC, 322 Ga. App. 344 (2013), also analyzed when a condemnation becomes final. Dillard concerned a condemnation to expand a library, which must proceed under a special master form of condemnation, rather than a declaration of taking as in road-related condemnations. The Special Master opined that the property owner was entitled to $5,187,500.00. Apparently shell-shocked by the award, Fulton County attempted to voluntarily dismiss the case and abandon the proposed condemnation before the massive sum was paid. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, and held that Fulton County was authorized to dismiss the case. The Court’s reasoning hinged upon the fact that title does not pass in a special master condemnation until money is paid into the registry of court pursuant to the special master’s award.

Georgia Dept. of Transportation v. Jackson, 322 Ga. App. 212 (2013), was an inverse condemnation case in which a property owner claimed that the DOT condemned a property interest he owned, when the DOT closed a driveway that led to his property. Between the DOT’s road and the owner’s property were a tract with no owner of record, and a railroad track. Based on aerial photographs and evidence of use of the driveway for decades, including testimony from a local historian and attorney, Judge Bill Ray wrote an opinion affirming a jury verdict based on the inverse condemnation of the property owner’s prescriptive easement.

Power companies have the power of eminent domain to acquire land for transmission likes and other infrastructure. In Boston Creek Holdings, LLLP v. Amicalola Electrical Membership Corp., 320 Ga. App. 375 (2013), the Court held that there is a one-year statute of limitations for claims against power companies for occupying the lands of others. In this case, potential class action claims filed in 2011 based on power lines installed between 1979 and 2008 were dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.

In Amica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Gwinnett County Police Department, 738 S.E.2d 622 (Ga. Ct. App. Feb. 19, 2013), distinguished jurist Judge Michael Clark was once again affirmed, when the Court of Appeals held that Gwinnett County was entitled to sovereign immunity against an inverse condemnation claim based on damage caused during a police stand- off. Judge Clark and the Court of Appeals sided with effective but messy cops in this subrogation suit following a homeowner’s insurance claim based upon damage to a home during the execution of an aggravated assault arrest warrant. Former Gwinnett County Bar Association President Tuwanda Williams and County Attorney Van Stephens won this appeal.

If probate law, seven-figure Fulton County awards unrecorded driveway easements, “S.O.L.” issues, and knock-down drag-out fights with cops were not colorful enough, the barring of alcohol in private booths at a nude dancing club near Hartsfield-Jackson Airport rounds out this review of recent eminent domain cases. In Walleye, LLC v. City of Forest Park, 322 Ga. App. 562 (2013), the Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on an inverse condemnation claim, holding that based on the facts of the case, after passage of an alcohol-nudity ordinance, the subject property did not experience a regulatory taking.

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Matthew “Matt” Reeves is a former President of the GCBA, a partner at Duluth law firm Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., and practices real estate, business and probate litigation, including representing property owners and business owners in eminent domain matters.

 

This article was previously published in the Gwinnett County Bar Association newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trinity Hundredmark Becomes Partner

trinity 2014Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. is proud to announce that Trinity Hundredmark has been elected by the shareholders as a partner in the firm. Patrick McDonough, head of the firm’s criminal defense department, said: “We are thrilled welcome Trinity as a partner.  She is one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked with.  She has a brilliant legal mind and fantastic work ethic.  I am delighted she is on our team.”

Ms. Hundredmark heads up the domestic relations division for Andersen, Tate & Carr, which counsels and advises clients on a variety of divorce and custody related issues, including but not limited to child custody, visitation, child support, equitable division, and alimony. In addition, Ms. Hundredmark serves as a Guardian ad Litem in contested child custody cases, where she represents the best interests of the child. As a Guardian ad Litem, she is appointed by the superior court judge to assist the court and the parties in reaching a decision regarding child custody, visitation and child-related issues.

Ms. Hundredmark’s criminal practice includes both state and federal white-collar and general criminal defense, where she has handled cases involving allegations of murder, animal cruelty, fraud, mortgage fraud, theft, drug trafficking and possession, armed robbery, battery, kidnapping, stalking, aggravated assault, burglary, DUI, and minor traffic violations.  Ms. Hundredmark is also certified in DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.

Ms. Hundredmark has served as a legal analyst on Nancy Grace, CNN Network, HLN, and Fox News.   Catch a glimpse of one of Ms. Hundredmark’s appearances at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRU0dF_VRmA.  In 2012 and 2013, Ms. Hundredmark was named a Georgia Super Lawyer “Rising Star.”  Ms. Hundredmark serves on the Board of Directors for The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts.

 

ATC Gives a Warm Welcome to Melody Glouton

Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. is proud to announce that Melody A. Glouton, an exceptional lawyer with a wealth of experience in litiMelody Gloutongation matters, with an emphasis in estate litigation, has joined the firm. “We are excited about the addition of Melody and the wealth of experience she brings to our practice. Her strong ties to the community as well as her excellent legal skills made her a natural choice as we continue to grow the firm,” says managing partner Don Swift.

Ms. Glouton will continue her practice as a civil litigation lawyer, including an emphasis on contested estate, trust and probate litigation matters, contested guardianships and conservatorships, as well as providing legal counsel and advice to families of wrongful death and personal injury matters. “I am very excited to join the talented group of lawyers at Andersen Tate, & Carr and look forward to being a part of the firm’s continued success,” says Melody.

Criminal defense attorney Trinity Hundredmark appears as legal analyst on Nancy Grace   Leave a comment

Hundredmark

Trinity Hundredmark recently appeared as a legal analyst on Nancy Grace on HLN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byh5vBvdGKY

A criminal defense and family law attorney and Partner at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., Trinity discussed the case of missing Orlando mother Michelle Parker.  At the time of the broadcast, new video was released that showed Michelle Parker’s car, its exterior altered, hours after her cellphone was dumped, and she was last seen alive at the home of her ex-fiancé.  In addition, Trinity commented the suspicious disappearance and stunning discovery of the remains of the McStay family in the Mojave Desert.  The McStay family had been missing since February 2010.

This week, a motorcyclist riding about 50 yards from a dirt road found two shallow graves containing the skeletons of Joseph and Summer McStay and two children believed to be their young sons, Gianni and Joseph Jr.  Dental records confirmed the couple’s identities, and detectives have concluded that all four were homicide victims.  No suspects have been identified.

 

Trinity Hundredmark discusses felon disclosures on job applications on Fox News with Cavuto   Leave a comment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HENdq0_cCWw

Hundredmark

Interview by Daily Report; Matt Reeves and Robert Thomas successfully defend against appeal…   Leave a comment

R. Matthew Reeves

Waterscape, [represented by Andersen, Tate & Carr attorneys R. Matthew Reeves and Robert D. Thomas], [recently asked the] Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David Dickinson to disqualify [attorney George] Butler from representing the [opposing party], on the basis that Butler had been a lawyer for Waterscape.

Waterscape sought dismissal of the appeals, saying that the disqualification order was not a final order, meaning that Butler and his clients had to obtain a certificate of immediate review or follow the application procedures for an interlocutory appeal. Butler’s clients argued that there was a conflict in Georgia case law on whether a disqualification order is directly appealable.

[In reviewing the brief filed by Mr. Reeves and Mr. Thomas], the Nov. 13 opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Branch, joined by Chief Judge Herbert Phipps and Judge John Ellington…sided with Waterscape, ruling that Butler and his clients could not appeal the disqualification order at this point in the litigation.

The cases are Settendown Public Utility v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0830, and Butler v. Waterscape Utility, No. A13A0831.

Read more:

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1202628794506&Panel_Parties_Appeal_Over_Loss_of_Lawyer_is_Premature#ixzz2l9Bx9Ho7

- photos and summary courtesy of the Daily Report (Nov. 19, 2013).

 

Patrick J. McDonough Appears as Legal Analyst on Fox News

2948701_1[1]Patrick J. McDonough has appeared on Fox News as one of their Atlanta based legal analysts.  Recently on Fox News,  McDonough spoke on the issues surrounding revenge pornography.   McDonough explained how currently there are civil remedies for victims, but that can be a costly endeavor and not available to most victims. McDonough did note the trend is for states to criminalize this behavior.  First amendment advocates will surely challenge these statutes, but McDonough believes if the statutes are drafted narrowly they should withstand Supreme Court scrutiny.  McDonough said the lesson is twofold: first, one should not take any uncompromising pictures of themselves and send them to current partners, and second, jaded ex-partners should think twice before posting these images.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/2686422345001/can-you-fight-revenge-porn-/?playlist_id=931078471001

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