2015 Georgia Code
Title 9 - CIVIL PRACTICE
Chapter 15 - COURT AND LITIGATION COSTS
§ 9-15-15 - Attorney's fees and expenses assessed in civil actions brought against judicial officers

GA Code § 9-15-15 (2015) What's This?

(a) When any civil action is brought against a judicial officer, other than an action for quo warranto, mandamus, or an action brought under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code, and such action arises out of the performance of the judicial officer's official duties, the plaintiff shall be liable for all attorney's fees and expenses incurred in the defense of the action if the action is concluded in favor of the judicial officer, and the court finds that an attorney or party brought an action that lacked substantial justification or that the action, or any part of the action, was interposed for delay or harassment. As used in this Code section, "lacked substantial justification" means substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious. For purposes of this Code section, judicial officers shall include justices and judges of the appellate courts of Georgia and judges of the superior, state, probate, juvenile, magistrate, and municipal courts.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall apply both with respect to actions brought against a judicial officer in his or her official capacity and with respect to actions brought against a judicial officer in his or her individual capacity where the action arises out of the performance of the judicial officer's official duties.

(c) Recovery may be had under subsection (a) of this Code section by the state or by a unit of local government with respect to attorney's fees and expenses incurred by the state or by the unit of local government. Where recovery by a governmental unit is so authorized, recovery shall be authorized for attorney's fees paid to outside counsel as well as for compensation paid to counsel employed by the governmental unit. Recovery may also be had under subsection (a) of this Code section with respect to attorney's fees and expenses personally incurred by a judicial officer. Recovery under subsection (a) of this Code section shall include any attorney's fees and expenses incurred in appellate proceedings arising out of an action subject to this Code section.

(d) When a civil action against a judicial officer, other than an action for quo warranto, mandamus, or an action brought under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code, which action arises out of the performance of the judicial officer's official duties is presented for filing, the clerk of court shall file the matter but shall present the complaint or other initial pleading to the district court administrator for the judicial circuit where the action was filed, to assign to a superior court judge of that circuit. If the action is filed against a judge or justice of an appellate court, the chief judge or justice shall assign the matter to a member of that court. The judge shall review the pleading, and, if the judge determines that the pleading shows on its face such a complete absence of any justiciable issue of law or fact that it cannot be reasonably believed that the court could grant any relief against any party named in the pleading, then the judge shall enter an order dismissing the pleading. An order dismissing the pleading shall be appealable in the same manner as an order dismissing an action.

(e) Attorney's fees and expenses under this Code section may be requested by motion at any time during the course of the action but not later than 45 days after the final disposition of the action.

(f) An award of reasonable and necessary attorney's fees or expenses of litigation under this Code section shall be determined by the court without a jury and shall be made by an order of court which shall constitute and be enforceable as a money judgment.

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