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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (metro area)
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    8

    Default Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    I'm defendant in dispossessory (eviction) in Georgia. I lost in magistrate court, filed notice of appeal, case was transferred to state court.

    I've immersed myself in the code and much of procedure, but can't figure out how I begin discovery since the code states that it begins "after answer" to [implied] complaint.

    Since my "complaint" was a counterclaim, the landlord / plaintiff was not required to answer in the original magistrate court. What can / should I do now to obtain the authority to compel discovery?

    [original event is here
    http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30120
    [lots more has happened since first appearance in court. Will write about that asap]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    Unless it's an appeal "de novo", which amounts to a new trial, the appeal would normally be based on the lower court record.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Atlanta, GA (metro area)
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    Default Re: Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    It is, in fact, 'de novo.'

    To perhaps clarify, as the defendant in the eviction but plaintiff in the counterclaim, there's no 'complaint' (by which I mean, no 'stands on its own' document to which the landlord - the originating plaintiff - MUST reply, confirm or deny my claims). And as most people know, in a magistrate (aka small claims) eviction, the process is VERY compressed (30 days overall) with NO time for discovery, etc.

    I mean, it looks like I'd either just start sending document requests, interrogatories, etc. OR I'd write and file a formal complaint with the court just as if I were originating the whole matter, then he'd have 30 days to 'answer' and then the back-n-forth would have commenced... but NONE of the books and / or reference materials OR the code or rules appear to address this.

    Thoughts?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,656

    Default Re: Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    It's not easy to litigate a case by yourself, which is why most people hire lawyers. Georgia's statutes and court rules are available online. (Sometimes the statutes page returns a login prompt, but if you let the page fully load it should give you access to a free statutes page.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA (metro area)
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    8

    Default Re: Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    Thanks, Aaron. I've been turned-down by my lawyer in my one prior matter (labor action, I won, he made a lot of $$ from a case that was - in his words, a slam-dunk. This from a defense lawyer who's specialty is busting unions). Turned-down by a lawyer I went to high school with (plaintiff-specialist). Put on "ignore" by the outside counsel / firm that handles stuff for my city of residence. Declined by the "panel attorney" in the local bar referral as well as a shot-in-the-dark call to an "old boy" father / son (office across from the court house kind of firm).

    That last guy gave me over an hour of free advice, but said that the case is a dog and I can't disagree. But it's MY dog. His main reason for declining, however, was that it was the 11th hour, he didn't have time to prep, but that he'd reconsider his decision if I could get it continued and back up a Brinks truck to his door.

    Appearing tomorrow, pro se.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA (metro area)
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Getting Discovery For An Appeal From Magistrate To State Court, in Georgia

    Well, I appeared this morning and long-story-short was granted the continuance, so now I'm off to see Billy-Bob. Brinks truck will meet me there.

    The most facinating thing about this, my first appearance ever for anything save a traffic ticket (counting this, of course, as an extension of Magistrate's Court) was that when the judge got to me and opponent in her roll call, I said that I wasn't prepared because my utilities had been off for the last 30 days. She asked opposing counsel if he wanted to see if we could work it out.

    We grabbed a room, the landlord, his lawyer and me. After a couple of back-n-forths, we were clearly at a stalemate. Back to the courtroom for the second rollcall. Upon my turn - and I wish I could claim this a brilliant strategic move, but it was really my best-ever brain fart - the judge called me up and said, "So where are we?" I said, "Your honor, 30 days ago I realized that I needed help and have been looking for a lawyer. Last Thursday night, I found a guy who said he'd help if I could get a continuance, but otherwise he didn't have time to prepare.

    Judge to opposing counsel, "What about you, Mr. X?" "We're ready, your honor!" he says. Judge, "Well, he *would* be better off with a lawyer. I'll give you one continuance, but NO more!"

    I think that I acci-brilliantly blind-sided the other guy, because he apparently just saw me as an ittity-bitty pro se who'd make a tasty snack. I went in thinking that having my util's cut was my ace. Judge seemed much more enthusiastic about me getting a lawyer. Come to think of it, at least for now, so am I.

    I really appreciate all of the above input, and if I'm allowed by counsel, hope to write much more about the other side's antics between the magistrate's court and today. I'm told it's goofy and convoluted enough to make a law-school text example.

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