Klingensmith v. Long County

Court: Georgia Court of Appeals
Case Number: A19A1295
Decision Date: September 23, 2019
Case Type: Immunity - Sovereign

This case was filed by residents of a subdivision who brought the following claims against the County: (1) negligence of the County to properly oversee the development of the subdivision that violated the County’s own policies; (2) nuisance arising from the County’s failure to take action to address the flooding problems in the subdivision; and (3) trespass for the water that intruded upon the plaintiffs’ properties. The County moved for summary judgment on all claims. The trial court granted the County’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that (1) the Plaintiffs’ ante litem notice was insufficient under OCGA § 36-11-1 because it did not identify any of the claimants; (2) the four-year statute of limitations (OCGA § 9-3-30 (a)) barred the claims for negligence and trespass; (3) the negligence claim was barred by sovereign immunity; (4) the nuisance claim for flooding failed because the County did not construct or maintain the drainage system; and (5) the nuisance claim for the condition of the roads failed because the County did not own the roads. The plaintiffs appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals found that  (1) sovereign immunity barred negligence claims asserted against county; (2) the claim that drainage pipes beneath subdivision were inadequate was a permanent nuisance claim for statute of limitations purposes and therefore the claim fell outside the statute of limitations period, and as such was barred; (3) the County was not subject to liability for continuing nuisance created by failure to maintain drainage system as the County did not own the drainage system; (4) the claim that roads within subdivision were deficiently installed was permanent nuisance claim for statute of limitations purposes and so were likewise barred; and (5) the County was not liable for a continuing nuisance created by improper maintenance of subdivision roads as the County did not own the roads in question.