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Released Opinion

June 27, 2011

This morning the Supreme Court released opinions in seven cases, one of which is civil. A brief summary of the civil case and the opinion is below.

S11A0019. Daniel et al. v. Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation

This case began as a dispute about an easement, but contains a constitutional challenge and a statute of limitations challenge.  In 2006, the Daniels purchased a piece of property; the title search indicated no easements existed on the property.  In 2007, Amicalola crews came to the property and cut down approximately 40 trees, clearing out a path along a claimed easement.  The Daniels claim that Amicalola employees advised them that the easement had been abandoned.  A year later, crews again came to work along the property and the Daniels sued.

The trial court granted Amicalola’s motion for summary judgment, finding that a one-year statute of limitations applied from the time the Daniels learned of the easement, rejecting the tolling and constitutional challenges to the statute raised by the Daniels.

The Daniels appealed based on the constitutional challenge to the statute of limitations, arguing that the trial court erred.  Amicalola responded, arguing that statute is constitutional and that the Attorney General was not properly served.  The Georgia Electric Membership Corporation filed an amicus brief supporting Amicalola.  The Daniels filed a reply brief.

The Court heard oral argument on the case on January 24, 2011.

On Monday, June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed in part and reversed in part. Writing for the Court, Justice Nahmias explained that the one-year statute of limitations was constitutional, but that issues of material fact remained regarding the existence of the easement and the trespass and conversion claims, making the grant of summary judgment improper.

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