Maddox v. Superior Rigging & Erecting Co., A89A2160

Citation393 S.E.2d 42,195 Ga.App. 114
Decision Date15 March 1990
Docket NumberNo. A89A2160,A89A2160
PartiesMADDOX et al. v. SUPERIOR RIGGING & ERECTING COMPANY et al.
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)

Scott Walters, Jr., East Point, for appellants.

Pierce, Goldner, Sommers & Scrudder, Stephen L. Goldner, Glenn S. Bass, Atlanta, for appellees.

COOPER, Judge.

Appellants, Grady Maddox ("Mr. Maddox") and Betty Maddox ("Mrs. Maddox"), brought a declaratory judgment action against appellees, the Hanover Insurance Companies ("insurer") and its insured.

Mr. Maddox was injured in an automobile collision with a vehicle driven by an employee of the insured. An adjuster for the insurer negotiated directly with appellants in an effort to settle the personal injury claim of Mr. Maddox and Mrs. Maddox's possible claim for loss of consortium. After negotiating for over one year, Mr. and Mrs. Maddox agreed to a settlement for a lump sum of money and an annuity, and signed a release containing the following language: "In addition to cash payment of $101,755.00, we will buy for you from SAFCO Insurance Company an Annuity Policy that will pay you $725.00 per month for life." A few days after signing the release, appellants received a draft made payable to both of them in the amount of $101,755 and an annuity application for Mr. Maddox's signature. Appellants, who believed that the settlement would provide an annuity covering both their lives, retained an attorney who contacted the adjuster about the "mistake." The adjuster responded to appellants' attorney by letter setting forth the position of the insurer that the annuity included in the settlement agreement was only for the life of Mr. Maddox and that a joint life annuity was never discussed. After receiving that letter, appellants presented the draft for payment. Subsequently, correspondence was exchanged between appellants' attorney and the adjuster reiterating the positions taken by both parties, and several months later appellants filed this action seeking to clarify the rights and duties of the parties to the settlement agreement and to amend the annuity contract to cover both their lives. Upon considering cross motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted appellees' motion and denied appellants' motion.

1. The trial court held that while there could have been a legitimate dispute as to the construction of the release, appellants' actions in negotiating the check after receiving correspondence from the adjuster setting forth a contrary position constituted an accord and satisfaction. "Accord and satisfaction occurs where the parties to an agreement, by a subsequent agreement, have satisfied the former agreement, and the latter agreement has been executed." OCGA § 13-4-101. "Like any other contract, accord and satisfaction requires a meeting of the minds as to the subject matter embraced therein, if it is to be valid and binding. [Cits.] Where there is no agreement to settle all matters in dispute, no accord and satisfaction result. [Cits.]" Wallace v. Harrison, 166 Ga.App. 461(2), 304 S.E.2d 487 (1983). It is undisputed that the draft and annuity contract were tendered to appellants in satisfaction of their claims arising out of the automobile accident with the insured's employee; that the amount of the draft was exactly the amount of the lump sum payment agreed to; and that appellants only disputed the annuity contract as not conforming to their agreement. Appellees, as movants for summary judgment, had the burden of proving that there was a meeting of the minds and that appellants, by negotiating the draft, intended to resolve the dispute as to the annuity contract. See Wallace v. Harrison, supra. Appellees rely on cases which hold that the cashing of a check and retention of the proceeds constitute an accord and satisfaction. However, the negotiation by appellants of the draft...

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3 cases
  • McClure v. Raper, S03A1433.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • 8 Marzo 2004
    ...276 Ga. 367(4), 578 S.E.2d 852 (2003). See also Royal v. Royal, 246 Ga. 229, 271 S.E.2d 144 (1980) and Maddox v. Superior Rigging & Erecting Co., 195 Ga.App. 114, 393 S.E.2d 42 (1990) (declaratory judgment actions regarding settlement agreements between the parties). The settlement agreemen......
  • Superior Rigging & Erecting Co. v. Maddox
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • 28 Febrero 1991
    ...motion of Superior and Hanover while denying that of the Maddoxes. The Maddoxes appealed and in Maddox v. Superior Rigging and Erecting Co., 195 Ga.App. 114, 393 S.E.2d 42 (1990), the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and, in Division 1 of their opinion, ruled that: "the negotiation......
  • Maddox v. Superior Rigging & Erecting Co., A89A2160
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 31 Mayo 1991
    ...Atlanta, for appellees. COOPER, Judge. This court having entered on March 15, 1990, a judgment in the above-styled case, 195 Ga.App. 114, 393 S.E.2d 42 (1990), reversing the judgment of the trial court and remanding the case to the trial court; and the judgment of this court having been rev......

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