Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Building (John Disney/Daily Report)
The Georgia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week over whether a retirement community for wealthy seniors should be exempt from property taxes, what should be required to sue a law firm for legal malpractice and how long to provide Workers Compensation Act benefits after an injury.
Those cases are included in a full schedule of arguments before the high court Monday and Tuesday.
The senior living case revolves around a 40-acre development called Spring Harbor at Green Island in Columbus. It was financed with a $75 million bond issue from the Medical Center Hospital Authority, except it’s not for indigents or patients but wealthy retirees, according to a summary from the high court’s public information officer. The Board of Tax Assessors in Columbus is appealing rulings by the Georgia Court of Appeals and Muscogee County Superior Court. Both courts said the Medical Center Hospital Authority’s interest in a retirement facility that serves wealthy elderly people qualifies as “public property” and is therefore exempt from ad valorem property taxation.
In the workers’ compensation case, Ocmulgee Electric Membership Corp. is appealing a Court of Appeals ruling that employers must prove that suitable employment is available before suspending an employee’s benefits, even if that employee’s condition has improved and no longer qualifies as a compensable injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act, according to the high court summary.
The legal malpractice argument is RES-GA McDonough LLC’s appeal of a Fulton County judge’s dismissal of its lawsuit against Taylor English Duma. The company accused the law firm of mishandling a case, leading to its dismissal.
“The issue in this appeal is simple: In a legal malpractice case, a plaintiff is required to prove that the underlying claim was valid,” the summary said, quoting briefs filed by attorneys for Taylor English Duma.“RES-GA’s underlying … claims were never valid.”