Georgia Court Rules on a Party’s Request for a Stay of Proceedings

Although a lawsuit may seem straightforward as a dispute between two or more parties, there are often many procedural details that occur behind the scenes that act as stepping stones in the course of litigation. Understanding and navigating these procedural requirements can often be challenging, but can also save parties time and money during the course of a lawsuit when appropriately handled by an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case, the court considered a misunderstanding in a dispute concerning an important procedural issue. The plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant for a slip and fall action four days before the statute of limitations for her case was set to expire. The plaintiff did not serve the defendant until 12 weeks later. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to present evidence that she had exercised proper diligence in attempting service after the statute of limitations expired.

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision, siding with the plaintiff. Because the plaintiff’s counsel was a member of the Georgia General Assembly, he was entitled to a statutory leave of court, which he had properly requested. This meant that the plaintiff’s counsel was entitled to an extension and temporarily relief from responding to the motions. Further, because the plaintiff relied on the court approving a scheduling order that both parties agreed to, the trial court erred in granting a motion to dismiss because the plaintiff was within the correct time frame and had no further obligation to respond.

In Georgia, a member of the General Assembly who is also serving as an attorney representing a client in a case pending trial is eligible for the granting of a “stay,” or a temporary suspension of a matter if requested. This suspension also shields the attorney it applies to from having to respond to motions in addition to all aspects of the case.

Further, if both parties in a particular case have agreed to a proposed schedule and the court has approved this schedule, the parties should be reasonably allowed to rely on this agreement to proceed with relevant deadlines and satisfy the procedural requirements of the case. When a temporary suspension is necessary, as in the case of a General Assembly member who has requested one, the Georgia court has established that it is not in the business of setting up procedural traps. Rather, since both parties have agreed to a schedule and the court has approved it, working within the confines of the schedule everyone has agreed on is the proper course of action.

In any lawsuit, legal procedural issues can be challenging and confusing. This is why potential plaintiffs are advised to hire experienced counsel who can help them navigate their claims through this process, especially when it comes to satisfying procedural requirements from the court. Meeting all of the requirements necessary in the course of a lawsuit without issues can save all parties involved time and energy while moving towards a favorable resolution.

Do You Need a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or someone you know has been recently involved in a Georgia slip and fall accident, or any other type of preventable accident, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law today. Our team of lawyers is experienced, compassionate, and committed to pursuing the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 404-622-5337.

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