2021 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 12 - Actions Against Nonresident Motorists
- § 40-12-1. Appointment of Secretary of State as Agent for Service of Process on Nonresidents; Nonresident Minor
- § 40-12-2. How Service on Nonresident Made
- § 40-12-3. Venue of Actions Against Nonresidents; Nonresident Joint Defendant
- § 40-12-4. Records to Be Kept by Secretary of State
- § 40-12-5. Certificate of Service to Be Sent to Clerk of Court; Time for Answering Complaint
- § 40-12-6. Continuances
- § 40-12-7. Designation of Employees to Perform Functions of Secretary of State
- § 40-12-8. Service Upon Personal Representative
- For article surveying trial practice and procedure, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 299 (1982). For annual survey article on trial practice and procedure, see 50 Mercer L. Rev. 359 (1998). For note discussing constitutional restrictions on the exercise of personal jurisdiction, see 11 Ga. L. Rev. 149 (1976). For comment criticizing Young v. Morrison, 220 Ga. 127, 137 S.E.2d 456 (1964), finding unconstitutional the 1957 amendment to the Nonresident Motorists' Act (Ga. L. 1957, p. 649), authorizing suit against nonstate resident who when cause of action arose was a state resident, see 16 Mercer L. Rev. 360 (1964). For comment, "Jurisdiction over Nonresidents in Georgia: Crowder v. Ginn," see 17 Ga. L. Rev. 201 (1982).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
Purpose of the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is to subject a nonresident to the jurisdiction of Georgia courts on the theory that by using Georgia highways the nonresident consents to be sued in Georgia on causes of action arising from an alleged tort liability incurred by the nonresident's use of the highways. Aldrich v. Johns, 93 Ga. App. 787, 92 S.E.2d 804 (1956).
Both the original act and the amendment enacted by Ga. L. 1957, pp. 649, 650, were intended to give a plaintiff user of the highways of Georgia a county of venue within the state, where the collision occurred therein and where otherwise the plaintiff would be forced into the courts of another state to protect the plaintiff's rights. Tomlinson v. Sadler, 99 Ga. App. 482, 109 S.E.2d 84 (1959).
Main and controlling purpose of the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act was to provide a ready and efficient remedy in this state for injuries occasioned by the negligent operation of motor vehicles upon the highways of this state by nonresidents who are merely passing through or have no fixed residence or place of business here where they may be readily found and sued, and thus to relieve the persons claiming to have been damaged from the necessity of pursuing the nonresidents into some other state for the purpose of obtaining redress. Hirsch v. Shepherd Lumber Corp., 194 Ga. 113, 20 S.E.2d 575, answer conformed to, 67 Ga. App. 474, 21 S.E.2d 110 (1942); Cheeley v. Fujino, 131 Ga. App. 41, 205 S.E.2d 83 (1974).Construction of chapter.
- Nothing less than the strict requirements of this statute, which is in derogation of common law, will suffice in the absence of a showing of evasion by the nonresident. Stone v. Sinkfield, 70 Ga. App. 787, 29 S.E.2d 310 (1944).
Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is in derogation of common law and must be strictly construed. Furthermore, if the statute is at all ambiguous or doubtful in meaning, the statute must receive a constitutional construction if possible. Aldrich v. Johns, 93 Ga. App. 787, 92 S.E.2d 804 (1956).
Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act, being in derogation of common law, must be strictly construed. Tomlinson v. Sadler, 99 Ga. App. 482, 109 S.E.2d 84 (1959); Foster v. Lankford, 120 Ga. App. 573, 171 S.E.2d 662 (1969); Hanft v. Allbright, 132 Ga. App. 263, 208 S.E.2d 20 (1974); Rogers v. Hagen, 445 F. Supp. 361 (N.D. Ga. 1978).
While the provisions of the Georgia Non-Resident Motorist Act, O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq., are strictly construed when service of process is attempted pursuant to that Act, this rule of strict construction does not apply when jurisdiction is obtained under the Georgia Long Arm Statute, O.C.G.A. § 9-10-94. King v. Barrios, 257 Ga. App. 538, 571 S.E.2d 531 (2002).Application of chapter to nonresidents.
- Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act applies to all nonresident defendants in tort actions resulting from the use of the highways of this state. Cheeley v. Fujino, 131 Ga. App. 41, 205 S.E.2d 83 (1974).
Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act applies only to those persons who were in fact nonresidents at the time they were exercising the rights and privileges referred to in O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1. Bailey v. Hall, 199 Ga. App. 602, 405 S.E.2d 579 (1991).
Defendant's residence at the time the cause of action arises, not defendant's residence when the suit is filed or process is served, governs the defendant's amenability to service of a suit under the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act, O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq. Brown v. Meyer, 222 Ga. App. 133, 473 S.E.2d 521 (1996).Service on residents precluded.
- Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act was intended to apply to nonresident defendants only, and not to permit a suit to be filed against a resident defendant and a nonresident defendant in a county other than that of the resident defendant. Lowe v. Roberts, 59 Ga. App. 890, 2 S.E.2d 748 (1939).
Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is a jurisdictional statute and specifically authorizes service upon nonresidents, which by necessary implication precludes service under the statute's terms on one who is a resident of this state. Davis v. Holt, 105 Ga. App. 125, 123 S.E.2d 686 (1961).
When one resides in this state, one is not subject to service under the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act, even though one may be a resident of another state also. Davis v. Holt, 105 Ga. App. 125, 123 S.E.2d 686 (1961).
Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is inapplicable where the defendant is a resident of the state. Foster v. Lankford, 120 Ga. App. 573, 171 S.E.2d 662 (1969).Resident and nonresident joint tort feasors.
- Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act, as originally codified from the Act of 1937 (Ga. L. 1937, p. 732 et seq.), affected nonresidents only, and it could not be applied since there was a resident and a nonresident suable as joint tort feasors so as to change the venue of the action as against the resident defendant. Nor did the 1957 amendment (Ga. L. 1957, pp. 649, 650) have any such effect. Tomlinson v. Sadler, 99 Ga. App. 482, 109 S.E.2d 84 (1959).Chapter not limited to use by residents.
- Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is not intended for the exclusive use of residents of the state. Griffin v. Thomas, 120 Ga. App. 362, 170 S.E.2d 437 (1969).
Nonresident of the state is entitled to utilize substituted service under the provisions of the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act. Griffin v. Thomas, 120 Ga. App. 362, 170 S.E.2d 437 (1969).Use against foreign nationals.
- While the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act is clearly in derogation of the common law, there is nothing in the statute restricting it to mere nonresident citizens of the United States, nor is there any language therein which would not allow it to be used against a foreign national. Cheeley v. Fujino, 131 Ga. App. 41, 205 S.E.2d 83 (1974).
Foreign motor common carriers are suable under the Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act. Southeastern Truck Lines v. Rann, 214 Ga. 813, 108 S.E.2d 561 (1959).Chapter inapplicable in slander action.
- Georgia Nonresident Motorist Act, which in effect authorizes judgments in personam against nonresidents who use the highways of this state with their automobiles, is in nowise pertinent to a case where a nonresident is being sued for slander. Grimmett v. Barnwell, 184 Ga. 461, 192 S.E. 191 (1937).
Cited in Everett v. McCary, 93 Ga. App. 474, 92 S.E.2d 112 (1956); White v. Tittle, 97 Ga. App. 185, 102 S.E.2d 689 (1958); Smith v. Lamb, 103 Ga. App. 157, 118 S.E.2d 924 (1961); Coggins v. Rhodes, 113 Ga. App. 837, 149 S.E.2d 834 (1966); Morrow v. Henley, 122 Ga. App. 646, 178 S.E.2d 308 (1970); Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Wilson, 124 Ga. App. 444, 184 S.E.2d 21 (1971); Railey v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 129 Ga. App. 875, 201 S.E.2d 628 (1973); Avis Rent A Car Sys. v. Rice, 132 Ga. App. 857, 209 S.E.2d 270 (1974); Rainwater v. Vazquez, 133 Ga. App. 173, 210 S.E.2d 380 (1974); Webb v. Oliver, 133 Ga. App. 555, 211 S.E.2d 605 (1974); Rosenbaum v. Dunn, 136 Ga. App. 870, 222 S.E.2d 596 (1975).
- Power of court, in exercise of discretion, to refuse to entertain action for nonstatutory tort occurring in another state or country, 32 A.L.R. 6; 48 A.L.R.2d 800.
Constitutionality, construction, and effect of statutes in relation to foreign-owned vehicles operating within state, 82 A.L.R. 1091; 138 A.L.R. 1499.
Constitutionality of statute providing for substituted or constructive service upon nonresident in action for tort in connection with automobile, 99 A.L.R. 130.
Venue of action against nonresident motorist served constructively under statute, 38 A.L.R.2d 1198.
Discretion of court to refuse to entertain action for nonstatutory tort occurring in another state or country, 48 A.L.R.2d 800.
Who is subject to constructive or substituted service of process under statutes providing for such service on nonresident motorists, 53 A.L.R.2d 1164.
Tolling of statute of limitations during absence from state as affected by fact that party claiming benefit of limitations remained subject to service during absence or nonresidence, 55 A.L.R.3d 1158.
Doctrine of forum non conveniens: assumption or denial of jurisdiction in action between nonresident individuals based upon tort occurring within forum state, 92 A.L.R.3d 797.