Rodriguez v. Houston County, A20A1566

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtDillard, Presiding Judge.
Citation868 S.E.2d 464 (Mem),362 Ga.App. 320
Decision Date20 January 2022
Docket NumberA20A1566

362 Ga.App. 320
868 S.E.2d 464 (Mem)



Court of Appeals of Georgia.

January 20, 2022

John David Hadden, Atlanta, for Appellant.

Ken Jarrard, Cumming, Patrick Doyle Dodson, for Appellee.

Dillard, Presiding Judge.

362 Ga.App. 320

Nelson Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Deputy James Spivey and Houston County, alleging that he suffered injuries as a result of a motor-vehicle accident caused by the deputy's negligence and the County was liable as the deputy's employer. The County filed an answer and a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing it was not a proper party because the deputy was employed by the Houston County Sheriff's Office and not a County employee. Then, after the statute of limitation expired, Rodriguez filed a motion to add Houston County Sheriff, Cullen Talton, which the trial court denied in the same order in which it granted the County's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

On appeal to this Court, Rodriguez argued the trial court erred in finding that he failed to comply with the requirements of OCGA § 9-11-15 (c) for adding a party after the expiration of the statute of

362 Ga.App. 321

limitation, but we affirmed the trial court's ruling in an unpublished Rule 36 opinion.1

Several months later, in Oconee County v. Cannon2 (a case with facts analogous to this case), the Supreme Court of Georgia vacated a decision by this Court,3 in which we reversed a trial court's order that similarly denied the plaintiffs’ motion—filed after the expiration of the statute of limitation—to substitute the sheriff as defendant in their wrongful death action, after having wrongly sued the county.4 Specifically, the Cannon Court held that the text of OCGA § 9-11-15 (c) demonstrates

the proper question in determining whether the statute's third condition of relation-back is met is not whether the plaintiff knew or should have known the identity of
868 S.E.2d 465
the proper

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