Firm Wins Unanimous Supreme Court Decision
Fulcher Hagler recently won a decisive victory for the City of Statesboro before the Georgia Supreme Court. Partner Scott Kelly represented the City in the case which arose from a zoning dispute. Plaintiffs were residents of Statesboro who were denied a building permit to construct an over-sized, detached garage at their residence. After the City Council denied their appeal, the Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Mandamus and Damages in the Superior Court of Bulloch County. The Petition sought an order requiring the City to grant a permit for the garage. The crux of Petitioners’ argument was that they had already expended considerable resources toward the garage’s construction because a City employee had given them permission to build it. The City countered that no such permission was or could have been given.
The dispute over the garage actually began several years before the mandamus lawsuit was filed. By the time Mr. Kelly entered the case, he was just the latest of several lawyers who had represented the City in the matter. After analyzing and completing some essential discovery, he presented a plan for bringing the case to a conclusion. With the City’s blessing, Mr. Kelly filed a motion for summary judgment and argued that the Petition should be denied as a matter of law. Although the trial court denied the City’s motion, the trial judge granted a Certificate of Immediate Review which allowed the City to request permission to file an Interlocutory Appeal in the Georgia Supreme Court. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and eventually reversed the trial court’s decision. In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Melton, the Supreme Court held that the Petitioners’ lawsuit should be dismissed.