2020 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 11 - Civil Practice Act
Article 3 - Pleadings and Motions
§ 9-11-11. Signing of Pleadings; When Verification Required; Rule Abolished
- Every pleading of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading and state his address. The signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading and that it is not interposed for delay.
- Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit.
- The rule in equity that the averments of an answer under oath must be overcome by the testimony of two witnesses or of one witness sustained by corroborating circumstances is abolished.
(Ga. L. 1966, p. 609, § 11.)Cross references.
- Practice of law by active members of Georgia State Bar and by nonresidents, Rules and Regulations for the Organization and Government of the State Bar of Georgia, Rule 1-203.U.S. Code.
- For provisions of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11, see 28 U.S.C.Law reviews.
- For annual survey of legal ethics, see 38 Mercer L. Rev. 269 (1986).
Honesty and good faith required.
- Statute's purpose and intent are requirements of honesty and good faith in pleading. Stuckey's Carriage Inn v. Phillips, 122 Ga. App. 681, 178 S.E.2d 543 (1970).Failure to sign may be amended.
- Failure of party or counsel to sign petition may be supplied by amendment. Edwards v. Edwards, 227 Ga. 307, 180 S.E.2d 358 (1971).
Absence of a signature by an attorney in compliance with Rule 1-203, Rules of the State Bar of Georgia and subsection (a) of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-11 was a defect which a party may timely cure by amending the complaint to add the name and signature of a Georgia attorney. Bandy v. Hospital Auth., 174 Ga. App. 556, 332 S.E.2d 46 (1985).
Trial court properly found that a client's failure to sign the original answer to a law firm's complaint on an open account was an amendable defect which was cured by subsequently-filed signed and verified amended answers under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-15(a) because the amended answers were filed before the entry of any pretrial order and the firm did not show that the firm's case was prejudiced; the original answer was not a nullity under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-1(a) because the client's name on the signature line, placed there at the client's request by an attorney who represented the client in a divorce, evinced the client's intent to answer the complaint. Edenfield & Cox, P.C. v. Mack, 282 Ga. App. 816, 640 S.E.2d 343 (2006).
Court should grant leave to comply with requirement as to signature, rather than strike the pleading; entry of judgment by default against the plaintiff for noncompliance is the ultimate sanction, which should be invoked rarely and certainly not for minor infractions. Lee v. Precision Balancing & Mach., Inc., 134 Ga. App. 762, 216 S.E.2d 640 (1975).Default after failure to sign.
- Party who was not represented by an attorney had to sign the party's own pleading because the party failed to sign the answer or have an attorney file an answer on the party's behalf within 30 days of service, the party was in default as a matter of law. Associated Doctors of Warner Robins, Inc. v. U.S. Foodservice of Atlanta, Inc., 250 Ga. App. 878, 553 S.E.2d 310 (2001).
Because a corporate president did not sign an original answer on the president's own behalf or submit a valid answer within 30 days, and an answer submitted for the president by a non-attorney corporate principal was not sufficient pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-11(a), a default judgment was properly entered against the president under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-55. Rainier Holdings, Inc. v. Tatum, 275 Ga. App. 878, 622 S.E.2d 86 (2005).Verification of answer.
- Unless otherwise provided by law, an answer need not be verified by oath. Harrison v. Harrison, 228 Ga. 126, 184 S.E.2d 147 (1971).Divorce complaint not void for lack of verification.
- Fact that original complaint for divorce was not verified by the plaintiff did not render the action null and void, but was an amendable defect. Edwards v. Edwards, 227 Ga. 307, 180 S.E.2d 358 (1971).Determination of whether fees are frivolous litigation sanction or support award.
- Attorneys' fees award to the creditor (the debtor's former spouse) that was related to the debtor's unsuccessful efforts to obtain modifications to the divorce decree was not a domestic support obligation (DSO) as defined in the Bankruptcy Code and, thus, was not a priority claim because there was no express determination by the Georgia state court that the fees were awarded as support based upon the relative financial circumstances of the parties rather than as a sanction for frivolous litigation. Mosely v. Mosely (In re Mosely), 577 Bankr. 419 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2017).Answer to garnishment petition.
- Garnishee's answer to a verified post-judgment garnishment petition need not be verified. First Nat'l Bank v. Sinkler, 170 Ga. App. 668, 317 S.E.2d 897 (1984).Attachment of deed to correct deficiencies in answer.
- Claimants in a forfeiture action corrected any deficiencies in the claimants' answer when the claimants' filed an amended answer that incorporated by reference a recorded warranty deed, which provided necessary information and corrected the lack of verification by one of the claimants. Bell v. State, 234 Ga. App. 693, 507 S.E.2d 535 (1998).Section applied retroactively.
- When at the time the defendant's answer was filed, the verification of a non est factum defense was required by statute, but at the time that the plaintiff moved to strike that defense, former Code 1933, § 20-801 had been repealed and there was no longer any statutory requirement of verification, the existing rather than the former law controls, and it was error to grant the plaintiff's motion to strike. Ballard v. Frey, 179 Ga. App. 455, 346 S.E.2d 893 (1986).Matters in abatement and in bar.
- As a determination whether compliance with the ante litem notice requirement of O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 was met by property owners who asserted claims against a municipality was properly considered a matter in abatement, which should have been raised in a motion to dismiss under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-12, flexibility by the court was required; accordingly, consideration of the matter within the summary judgment context, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-56, was proper because matters outside of the pleadings, including the owners' depositions, were considered. Davis v. City of Forsyth, 275 Ga. App. 747, 621 S.E.2d 495 (2005).
Cited in Cook v. Cook, 225 Ga. 779, 171 S.E.2d 568 (1969); Brown v. Olen, 226 Ga. 492, 175 S.E.2d 838 (1970); Knickerbocker Tax Sys. v. Texaco, Inc., 130 Ga. App. 383, 203 S.E.2d 290 (1973); Ben O'Callaghan Co. v. Rose, Silverman & Hunt, 131 Ga. App. 29, 205 S.E.2d 45 (1974); George v. George, 232 Ga. 389, 207 S.E.2d 26 (1974); Anderson v. Atlanta Univ., Inc., 134 Ga. App. 365, 214 S.E.2d 394 (1975); Cel-Ko Bldrs. & Developers, Inc. v. BX Corp., 136 Ga. App. 777, 222 S.E.2d 94 (1975); North Ga. Prod. Credit Ass'n v. Vandergrift, 239 Ga. 755, 238 S.E.2d 869 (1977); Ballard v. Frey, 179 Ga. App. 455, 346 S.E.2d 893 (1986); Cunningham v. State, 182 Ga. App. 266, 355 S.E.2d 762 (1987); McCullers v. Harrell, 298 Ga. App. 798, 681 S.E.2d 237 (2009).
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 61B Am. Jur. 2d, Pleading, §§ 833, 837, 838.C.J.S.
- 35A C.J.S., Federal Civil Procedure, §§ 247, 401. 71 C.J.S., Pleading, § 347 et seq.ALR.
- Necessity of showing authority or qualification of affiant in affidavit made in behalf of corporation, 3 A.L.R. 132.
Necessity and propriety of counter affidavits in opposition to motion for new trial in civil case, 7 A.L.R.3d 1000.
Attorneys' fees: obduracy as basis for state-court award, 49 A.L.R.4th 825.
Comment Note - General principles regarding imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 95 A.L.R. Fed. 107.
Imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pertaining to signing and verification of pleadings, in actions for defamation, 95 A.L.R. Fed. 181.
Imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pertaining to signing and verification of pleadings, in action for wrongful discharge from employment, 96 A.L.R. Fed. 13.
Imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pertaining to signing and verification of pleadings, in actions for securities fraud, 97 A.L.R. Fed. 107.
Imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pertaining to signing and verification of pleadings, in actions for infliction of emotional distress, 98 A.L.R. Fed. 442.
Imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pertaining to signing and verification of pleadings, in antitrust actions, 99 A.L.R. Fed. 573.
Procedural requirements for imposition of sanctions under Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 100 A.L.R. Fed. 556.