Maddox v. Coogler, 24936.

Decision Date21 November 1968
Docket Number24936.
Citation224 Ga. 806,165 S.E.2d 158
PartiesMADDOX et al. v. COOGLER et al.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Arthur K. Bolton, Attorney General, Alfred L. Evans, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Don L. Hartman, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, for appellants.

O. J. Coogler, Robert B. Harris, Terry L. Nevel, Harris & Nevel, for appellees.


O. J. Coogler and Robert B. Harris filed suit as citizens and taxpayers of Fulton County, Georgia, against Lester G. Maddox and eight others. The petition asserts that the defendants are attempting to act as members of a certain Mineral Leasing Commission purportedly created by an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia in 1945 (Ga. L. 1945, p. 352) as amended (Ga. L. 1959, p. 270; Ga. L. 1965, p. 590); that under color of their office as members of said Mineral Leasing Commission, defendants have solicited and received a bid from a named corporation which contemplates the execution of a lease by the defendants as members of said Mineral Leasing Commission of 25,000 acres of estuaries and offshore sea bottoms owned by the State of Georgia in Chatham County, Georgia, for the purpose of mining phosphate therefrom; that the granting of said phosphate mining lease as presently contemplated would have serious deleterious effects upon the natural resources of a large portion of the marsh lands, tide lands, beaches and off-shore waters of the State of Georgia which are the valuable rights of all Georgia citizens; that the probable destruction of the scenic beauty of these unique marsh lands, the resulting imbalance of the natural ecology of the region and consequent loss of fish and wildlife involves a question of public right; that it is the public duty of each citizen to prevent unlawful practices so as to preserve substantial priceless natural resources of the State; that said geographical area, being a part of the public domain of the State of Georgia, should not be threatened with destruction by the defendants herein acting without lawful or constitutional sanction; that the plaintiffs herein as citizens of Georgia have an interest in having the laws constitutionally executed and applied and the duties herein above stated enforced; that the Acts under which the Mineral Leasing Commission is acting are violative of the State Constitution for stated reasons and that it is acting without lawful authority and its actions are void; and that the defendants should be restrained and enjoined from holding any further public hearings, executing any contracts or leases, or taking any action whatsoever under color of their office. The petitioners prayed for an injunction, that the Act of 1945, as amended, be declared void and unconstitutional and for general relief.

After hearing evidence, the trial judge overruled the defendants' oral motion to dismiss the complaint and enjoined the defendants individually and jointly as members of a Mineral Leasing Commission representing the State from acting on the lease proposal of the named corporation. The trial judge declared the Act of the General Assembly of 1945, as amended, unconstitutional and void for the reasons alleged in the petition. From this judgment the defendants appeal to this court.

It is contended by the defendants that this is a suit against the State instituted without its consent and that the trial court erred in overruling its motion to dismiss the complaint.

It has long been the rule in this State that, "No citizen and taxpayer, as such, has the right to initiate in his own behalf, without the consent of the State, a suit against a State officer in his official capacity, to enjoin and restrain him from acting under a statute which is alleged to be unconstitutional and void; such a suit being in effect a suit against the State itself." Ramsey v. Hamilton, 181 Ga. 365 (1) (182 SE 392). "The alleged unconstitutionality of a statute in such a case...

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8 cases
  • Lathrop v. Deal
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • June 19, 2017 their official capacities or in which the State itself otherwise was the real party in interest. See, e.g., Maddox v. Coogler , 224 Ga. 806, 808–809, 165 S.E.2d 158 (1968) (suit to enjoin members of state Mineral Leasing Commission from executing leases of state properties pursuant to al......
  • National Distributing Co. Inc. v. Department of Transp.
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • October 27, 1981 express waiver. Busbee v. University Professors, supra; James v. State, 225 Ga. 809, 171 S.E.2d 533 (1969); Maddox v. Coogler, 224 Ga. 806, 165 S.E.2d 158 (1968); Peters v. Boggs, 217 Ga. 471, 123 S.E.2d 258 (1961); Roberts v. Barwick, supra; Cannon v. Montgomery, 184 Ga. 588, 192 S.E. 2......
  • Evans v. Just Open Government, s. 34323-34325
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • January 4, 1979
    ...Ga. 588, 591, 192 S.E. 206, 208 (1937) and cits. Accord, Peters v. Boggs, 217 Ga. 471, 473, 123 S.E.2d 258 (1961); Maddox v. Coogler, 224 Ga. 806, 809, 165 S.E.2d 158 (1968). "It is difficult to describe in advance every action or suit against an officer or agent of the State that should be......
  • Azizi v. Board of Regents of University System
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • June 24, 1974
    ...22 S.E.2d 96; Peters v. Boggs, 217 Ga. 471, 123 S.E.2d 258; Cardin v. Riegel Textile Corp., 219 Ga. 695, 135 S.E.2d 284; Maddox v. Coogler, 224 Ga. 806, 165 S.E.2d 158; and James v. State, 225 Ga. 809, 171 S.E.2d 3. There is no merit in appellants' contention that the doctrine of sovereign ......
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