Reed v. McConathyAnnotate this Case
Gail Reed appealed a superior court order granting Kimberly McConathy’s motion to dismiss Reed’s petition for an equitable partition of real property and an accounting. Reed owned a piece of real property in Catoosa County, on which she operated a florist shop. In May 2004, she executed a conveyance of the property to her daughter, McConathy, that she contended met the requirements of then-OCGA 44-6-190, and resulted in Reed and McConathy owning the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. In 2007, Reed executed a quitclaim deed transferring all right, title, and interest she possessed in the property to Patricia Page; Page executed a quitclaim deed transferring to Reed any and all interest Page had in the property. Then in 2014, Reed filed a petition for an equitable partitioning of the property and an accounting. McConathy moved to dismiss, asserting that under OCGA 44-6-160, equitable partitioning was only available when property was held by tenants in common, not joint tenants with the right of survivorship, which she contended the parties were. Reed responded by citing then-OCGA 44-6-190, and arguing that the 2007 transfer of Reed’s interests to Page severed the joint tenancy under that statute. After a hearing on McConathy’s motion to dismiss, the trial court granted the motion. On appeal, McConathy argued Reed’s 2007 quitclaim deed to Page was not a “lifetime transfer” within the meaning of former OCGA 44-6-190 (a)’s severance language because it was not a transfer of the property for her lifetime, as she quickly received the property back again. The Supreme Court disagreed: when Page received a grant of Reed’s interest in the property by virtue of the quitclaim deed, it was Page’s to do with as she wished. "There was no restriction in the quitclaim deed, and had Page chosen to retain what had previously been Reed’s interest, or sell it to another, the quitclaim deed would provide Reed no basis upon which to assert that an interest in the property should be returned to her. Rather, the reference to 'lifetime transfer' in former OCGA 44-6-190 (a)’s severance language is clearly to distinguish a conveyance during the life of a joint tenant, such as the 2007 quitclaim deed to Page, from an attempted conveyance by devise." The superior court erred in granting the motion to dismiss the petition for partition and an accounting, therefore, the Supreme Court reversed its decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.