Hill v. Hill, 33137

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtNICHOLS; All the Justices concur, except BOWLES
Citation244 S.E.2d 862,241 Ga. 218
PartiesB. J. HILL v. Josephine HILL.
Docket NumberNo. 33137,33137
Decision Date18 April 1978

Page 862

244 S.E.2d 862
241 Ga. 218
Josephine HILL.
No. 33137.
Supreme Court of Georgia.
April 18, 1978.

Page 863

[241 Ga. 220] Alexander, Vann & Lilly, Thomas K. Vann, Jr., Thomasville, for appellant.

Johnson & Morse, T. Jack Morse, Thomasville, for appellee.

Kenneth G. Levin, Steven Gottlieb, Atlanta, amicus curiae.

[241 Ga. 218] NICHOLS, Chief Justice.

Certiorari was granted to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in Hill v. Hill, 143 Ga.App. 549, 239 S.E.2d 154 (1977). The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

The tenant was served with a dispossessory warrant. He appeared in person before the trial court on the date set by the summons. He was without legal counsel. The trial court held that he had not answered the warrant either in writing or orally. Without endorsing anything on the warrant, the court proceeded to hold a hearing after which a writ of possession was issued to the landlord. The landlord was not present but was represented by counsel.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that although the tenant did not answer either orally or in [241 Ga. 219] writing, he was not in default because he was personally present in court.

The tenant was in default because he failed to answer either orally or in writing either at or before the date for answer set in the summons. Code Ann. §§ 61-302(b) and 61-303. His personal appearance before the court was not an "answer" within the meaning of those sections nor did it waive his right to open the default in accordance with Code Ann. § 61-303. Accordingly, he was entitled to open the default "as a matter of right by making an answer within seven days of the date of the default notwithstanding the provisions of section 81A-155 of the Georgia Civil Practice Act." (Emphasis added.) Code Ann. § 61-303.

The "answer" referred to in Code Ann. § 61-303 as being sufficient to open the default may be oral or in writing since Code Ann. §§ 61-302(b) and 61-303 must be construed together.

The purpose of the General Assembly in enacting Code Ann. §§ 61-302(b) and 61-303 was to give tenants who are unrepresented by counsel and who are unschooled in the law an opportunity to state their defenses orally to the court as best they can and to have the substance of their defenses endorsed on the dispossessory warrant, thereby making a record upon which the case may proceed in the trial and appellate courts. To effectuate this intent, the trial court is required to endorse,...

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9 cases
  • Brown v. Wilson Chevrolet-Olds, Inc., CHEVROLET-OLD
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 4 d2 Setembro d2 1979
    ...constitute legal defenses to the warrant. The tenant thereby has an answer on the record which later could be amended." Hill v. Hill, 241 Ga. 218, 219, 244 S.E.2d 862, 863-864 Is the defect amendable so as to be cured by judgment or subsequent "supplemental record"? Examples of defects in g......
  • Guye v. Home Indem. Co., 33117
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • 18 d2 Abril d2 1978
    ...244 S.E.2d 864 241 Ga. 213 Ray Russell GUYE v. HOME INDEMNITY COMPANY et al. No. 33117. Supreme Court of Georgia. April 18, 1978. Page 865 [241 Ga. 218] Rudolph J. Chambless, Waycross, Jack J. Helms, Homerville, for Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, James B. Hiers, Jr., Clifford E. Hardwick, I......
  • Slaughter v. Faust, 59831
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 26 d4 Junho d4 1980
    ...lack of jurisdiction (based upon improper service) was waived. Hill v. Hill, 143 Ga.App. 549(1), 239 S.E.2d 154, revd. on other grounds, 241 Ga. 218, 244 S.E.2d 862; Wilkie v. Wilkie, 240 Ga. 287(1), 240 S.E.2d 84; Whitby v. Maloy, 145 Ga.App. 785(2), 245 S.E.2d [155 Ga.App. 70] Judgment re......
  • King v. Ellis, s. 55523
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 9 d5 Junho d5 1978
    ...v. Fayette County, 233 Ga. 220, 210 S.E.2d 758; Hill v. Hill, 143 Ga.App. 549, 239 S.E.2d 154, reversed on other grounds, Hill v. Hill, 241 Ga. 218, 244 S.E.2d 2. The affidavit in this case stated: ". . . that said tenant fails to pay rent now due on said building and premises (is holding s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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