2021 Georgia Code
Title 23 - Equity
Chapter 3 - Equitable Remedies and Proceedings Generally
Article 3 - Quia Timet
Part 1 - Conventional Quia Timet
§ 23-3-43. Special Master

Universal Citation: GA Code § 23-3-43 (2021)

At the option of the complainant as prayed for in the complaint, the court, upon receipt of the complaint, shall submit the same to a special master as provided for in Code Sections 23-3-63 through 23-3-68, except that as in other equity cases there shall be no right to a jury trial.

(Code 1981, §23-3-43, enacted by Ga. L. 2000, p. 1408, § 1.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "The New Special Master Rule - Uniform Superior Court Rule 46: Life Jackets for the Courts in the Perfect Storm," see 15 (No. 4) Ga. St. B. J. 20 (2009). For annual survey on real property, see 65 Mercer L. Rev. 233 (2013).


Authority of special master and judge.

- In submitting a quiet title case to the special master, the trial court did not cede jurisdiction to render a final decision as although the trial court was not required to hear exceptions to the special master's report, the trial court had to independently evaluate the correctness of the report before adopting the report as judgment and it was the trial court, not the special master, who ordered disbursement of excess funds following the tax sale. Republic Title Company, LLC v. Freeport Title and Guaranty, Inc., 351 Ga. App. 408, 829 S.E.2d 172 (2019), cert. denied, No. S19C1616, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 168 (Ga. 2020).

Payment of special master's fees not prerequisite to appeal.

- Provisions of O.C.G.A. § 9-7-22(c) requiring the payment of auditors' fees prior to the filing of an appeal did not apply to special masters appointed under the Quiet Title Act, O.C.G.A. § 23-3-60 et seq., pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 23-3-43 and23-3-63, and an appeal was not dismissed due to failure to pay the special master's fees. Davis v. Harpagon Co., LLC, 300 Ga. App. 644, 686 S.E.2d 259 (2009) was overruled to the extent it was to the contrary. Nix v. 230 Kirkwood Homes, LLC, 300 Ga. 91, 793 S.E.2d 402 (2016).

No notice or hearing required.

- When a defendant who asserted a quiet title claim against the plaintiffs requested a special master, the trial court was required to submit the claim to a special master, and no notice or hearing on the matter was required; once submitted, the special master had complete jurisdiction to determine the quiet title claim. Boyd v. JohnGalt Holdings, LLC, 294 Ga. 640, 755 S.E.2d 675 (2014).

Sua sponte appointment improper.

- Trial court's sua sponte appointment of a special master, over the siblings' objection, was in direct contravention of Georgia law. Patel v. Patel, 342 Ga. App. 81, 802 S.E.2d 871 (2017).

Jury trial unavailable.

- While a special master erred in concluding the property purchaser's action to quiet title was a conventional quia timet action, and, thus, no jury trial was available to the property claimant, the claimant was not harmed by the error; although a jury trial was available regarding the property purchaser's action in quia timet as against all the world, the property claimant did not show that the evidence presented a question of fact, and, thus, the intervention of a jury was not required. Gurley v. E. Atlanta Land Co., 276 Ga. 749, 583 S.E.2d 866 (2003).

Trial court properly appointed a special master in a quiet title action and a corporation, who was unsuccessful in the corporation's claim for the property, was properly held not entitled to a jury trial because the suing bank had amended the bank's petition to provide for an action only for conventional quia timet by the time it was heard by the special master; therefore, no jury trial was available under O.C.G.A. § 23-3-43. Vatacs Group, Inc. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 292 Ga. 483, 738 S.E.2d 83 (2013).

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