Georgia Supreme Court Rules No Pre-Suit Notice Required to Sue Cities for Intentional Acts


By: A. Ali Sabzevari

Anyone who defends cities in Georgia should be aware of the recent opinion from the Supreme Court of Georgia, WEST v. CITY OF ALBANY et al., No. S16Q1881, 2017 WL 875033, at *3 (Ga. Mar. 6, 2017). The Supreme Court held that the city ante litem statute, O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5, only applies to damages caused by negligence, not intentional acts including those filed under the Georgia Whistleblower Act. City employees who have claims under the Georgia Whistleblower Act therefore do not have to provide their employer with ante litem notice prior to filing a lawsuit. The same does not hold true for claims against counties, because the plain language of the county ante litem statute makes clear that notice is required for all claims: “[a]ll claims against counties must be presented within 12 months after they accrue or become payable or the same are barred[.]” O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1.

If you would like a copy of the opinion or have any questions, please contact A. Ali Sabzevari at [email protected].