FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2020
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
COURT GRANTS QPWB’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE IN A CONSTRUCTION LIABILITY CLAIM
BASED ON CRIMINAL CONDUCT VIOLATION
Construction Liability Claim – Personal Injury
MUSCOGEE COUNTY, Ga., ― May 6, 2020 ― C. Brent Wardrop , a partner in the Atlanta office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., was granted a motion for summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice for client in a construction liability and personal injury claim seeking over $1 million in damages.
Plaintiff was an air conditioning and heating contractor engaged to install equipment in a new residential construction in Muscogee County, Georgia. QPWB’s client was the home builder who hired the Plaintiff to install the equipment. Plaintiff alleged that when he ascended a pull-down attic staircase to conduct the installation on June 27, 2014, the staircase collapsed on him, causing substantial injuries totaling nearly $200,000. Plaintiff’s wife added a claim for loss of consortium. Both Plaintiffs sought more than $1 million in damages.
Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on March 27, 2018 – nearly 4 years after the alleged incident – against QPWB’s client and various subcontractors, and added a legal malpractice count against Plaintiffs’ original lawyer and law firm. QPWB timely filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on Georgia’s 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims as to Plaintiff (the wife’s claim was subject to a different 4-year statute of limitations). In response, the Plaintiffs and their original lawyers argued that the alleged deficient installation of the staircase constituted a crime under O.C.G.A. s. 16-5-60(b), which therefore tolled the statute of limitations for up to 6 years pursuant to O.C.G.A. s. 9-3-99.
The Court correctly found there was no criminal complaint filed and no investigation into the event or parties; that the potential for any prosecution under 16-5-60(b) ended on June 27, 2016; and any prosecution would have to have been “final or otherwise terminated” on June 27, 2016. Since the statute of limitations for civil actions runs concurrently with the statute of limitations for an underlying alleged crime (see Jenkins v. Keown, 351 Ga.App. 428 (2019)), the action against QWPB’s client and subcontractors was time-barred. As such, the Court granted QPWB’s Motion for Summary Judgment, dismissed Plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages, and dismissed QPWB’s client with prejudice as to the Plaintiff.
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Brent Wardrop is a partner in the Atlanta office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. His practice focuses on premises and property actions, negligent security, automobile and commercial transportation entities, product liability, building-related and construction defect, slip/trip and fall litigation. His practice is emphasized in multi-party liability matters involving substantial property and personal injury claims for both insured and self-insured businesses and individuals; federal consumer protection defense; and residential and commercial foreclosures, asset recovery, evictions, real estate disputes, title insurance claims, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy. His transactional practice includes loans and secured transactions, documentation of leases and closings. Mr. Wardrop received his law degree from Florida State University College of Law in 2005. He is licensed to practice law in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee and is featured in the attorney-law ranking of outstanding lawyers “Super Lawyers Rising Stars” in both Georgia and Florida.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 400 lawyers serving clients from 23 offices in the United States and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.