Georgiacarry.org v. JamesAnnotate this Case
In 2014, appellant Iziah Smith applied to appellee Harry James, III, Judge of the Probate Court of Richmond County, for a renewal Georgia weapons carry license; he requested the issuance of a temporary renewal license as well. At that time, Smith had fewer than 90 days remaining before his carry license expired. Although Smith initially was refused a temporary renewal license, he was issued a weapons carry license within 30 days of the filing of his application for a license, and before his previously issued license expired. Several weeks later, Smith and appellant GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. (“GCO”) brought this mandamus action against James in the Superior Court of Richmond County, alleging James was wrongly refusing to issue temporary renewal licenses. James answered, denying the material allegations of the complaint. Appellants then filed a motion for recusal, asserting that a Richmond County Superior Court Judge should not be presiding over a case in which the Richmond County Probate Court Judge was named as the defendant. The trial court denied the motion to recuse. Following discovery, both sides moved for summary judgment. Recognizing that, at some point, James had begun issuing temporary renewal licenses to other applicants, appellants acknowledged they were no longer entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandamus. They asserted, nevertheless, that they were entitled to costs and attorney’s fees as the “prevailing party” in the lawsuit. The trial court granted James’ summary judgment motion and denied appellants’ summary judgment motion. The Supreme Court found that It follows that GCO lacked standing to recover costs and attorney fees pursuant to Georgia law. Because Smith’s claim was moot and GCO lacked standing, it was incumbent upon the trial court to enter an order dismissing appellants’ claims. Accordingly, the Court remanded this case to the trial court with direction that it vacate the grant of summary judgment to James and enter an order of dismissal. The Court affirmed in all other respects.