City of Albany v. GA HY Imports, LLC d/b/a AutoNation Hyundai-Albany
After the Dougherty County Superior Court denied the City of Albany's motion for judgment on the pleadings the city filed a motion for interlocutory appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals. AutoNation had filed suit against the city related to damages it suffered after its property flooded due to the city's alleged failure to adequately drain storm water. In the city's motion for judgment on the pleadings it claimed that AutoNation's ante litem notice failed to comply with several provisions of the municipal ante litem notice statute.
On appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals, the city claimed that the trial court erred in finding that only substantial compliance with the ante litem statute was required, that the notice provided failed to present timely written notice of the claims, failed to provide an adequate description of the claim, and that the trial court erred in finding that the city's investigation and response constituted a waiver of the defective ante litem notice. The city claimed the ante litem notice failed to meet the requirements of the statute because it merely advised the city that AutoNation was investigating an incident and did not actually present a claim. AutoNation responded by claiming that the letters substantially complied with the ante litem notice statute. The Court of Appeals held that the fundamental rules of statutory construction required it to construe the statute according the plain and ordinary meaning. The court held that AutoNation did not comply with the ante litem notice and such was fatal to its claim.