2021 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 12 - Actions Against Nonresident Motorists
§ 40-12-3. Venue of Actions Against Nonresidents; Nonresident Joint Defendant
All actions brought under this chapter relating to the use of the highways of this state by nonresident motorists shall be brought in the county in which the accident or injury occurred or the cause of action originated, or in the county of the residence of the plaintiff, as the plaintiff in such action may elect, if the plaintiff in such action is a resident of the State of Georgia; and, if the plaintiff in such action is a nonresident of the State of Georgia, the action shall be brought in the county in this state in which the accident or injury occurred or the cause of action originated; and the courts in such counties having jurisdiction of tort actions shall have jurisdiction of all such nonresident users in actions arising under this chapter. Where an action for damages is brought against a resident of this state, any nonresident involved in the same accident or collision and who is suable under this chapter may be joined as a defendant in the county wherein the resident defendant is suable, and the jurisdiction of the court of and over such nonresident joint defendant shall not be affected or lost by reason of the fact that the jury returns a verdict in favor of such resident joint defendant although the accident, injury, or cause of action did not originate in the county wherein the action is brought.
(Ga. L. 1937, p. 732, § 3; Ga. L. 1947, p. 305, § 2; Ga. L. 1955, p. 650, § 1; Ga. L. 1959, p. 120, § 1.)Law reviews.
- For article discussing aspects of third party practice (impleader) under the Georgia Civil Practice Act, see 4 Ga. St. B.J. 355 (1968). For article summarizing law relating to jurisdiction and venue over domestic and foreign corporations in Georgia, and service therein, see 21 Mercer L. Rev. 457 (1970). For article, "Foreign Corporations in Georgia," see 10 Ga. St. B.J. 243 (1973). For article surveying trial practice and procedure, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 299 (1982). For note discussing problems with venue in Georgia, and proposing statutory revisions to improve the resolution of venue questions, see 9 Ga. St. B.J. 254 (1972). For comment on World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 100 S. Ct. 559, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1980) and Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U.S. 320, 100 S. Ct. 571, 62 L. Ed. 2d 516 (1980), regarding minimum contacts and state jurisdiction, see 15 Ga. L. Rev. 19 (1980). For comment, "Jurisdiction over Nonresidents in Georgia: Crowder v. Ginn," see 17 Ga. L. Rev. 201 (1982).
- It is not a violation of the equal protection clause to allow a nonresident motorist to be sued in any county of the state at the election of the plaintiff. Lloyd Adams, Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 190 Ga. 633, 10 S.E.2d 46 (1940).Joint defendant sued with manufacturer "resident defendant."
- Since the rupture of a tire was alleged to have "involved" a manufacturer in a collision, the driver of the truck using the tire was also allowed to be sued as a joint defendant with the manufacturer, which was a "resident defendant" under O.C.G.A. § 40-12-3. Gault v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 208 Ga. App. 134, 430 S.E.2d 63 (1993).Nonresident against nonresident.
- Nonresident may bring an action and secure service under the Nonresident Motorist Act (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq.) against a nonresident user of the highways of this state, a resident of the same state as the plaintiff, for the recovery of damages for injuries sustained as a result of the operation of the defendant's automotive vehicle on the highways of this state. Griffin v. Thomas, 120 Ga. App. 362, 170 S.E.2d 437 (1969).Use against foreign nationals.
- There is nothing in the statute restricting the statute to mere nonresident citizens of the United States, nor is there any language therein which would not allow the statute to be used against a foreign national. Cheeley v. Fujino, 131 Ga. App. 41, 205 S.E.2d 83 (1974).Foreign corporation with in-state office not nonresident.
- When a foreign corporation has an office and place of business in a county in this state, which office is in the charge of an agent upon whom service of a suit against the corporation can be legally made, such corporation is not a "nonresident" of this state within the meaning of Ga. L. 1937, p. 732, § 3 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-3) so as to authorize a suit against the corporation in a county in this state when the corporation has no office, place of business, or agent. 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).Resident may choose county for filing action.
- Ga. L. 1959, p. 120, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-3) allows a resident of Georgia at the time of the incident to choose, as a matter of convenience at the time of filing the resident's action, a proper forum in the county where the incident took place or a proper forum in the county where the resident is then residing. Oliver v. Carter, 118 Ga. App. 353, 163 S.E.2d 757 (1968).Courts with jurisdiction over actions.
- Venue for actions under the Nonresident Motorist Act (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq.) is in courts which have jurisdiction of tort and criminal actions. Aldrich v. Johns, 93 Ga. App. 787, 92 S.E.2d 804 (1956).Joint action against resident and nonresident.
- Ga. L. 1947, p. 305, § 2 (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-3) does not authorize the bringing of a joint tort action against a resident of Georgia and a nonresident in a county wherein the resident defendant does not reside. Hays v. Jones, 81 Ga. App. 597, 59 S.E.2d 404 (1950).
Venue is proper over a nonresident third-party defendant when the third-party complaint is sued in the county of residence of the third-party plaintiff (the defendant in the primary action). Chapman v. Latex Filler & Chem. Co., 135 Ga. App. 665, 218 S.E.2d 671 (1975).Differing venue classifications for resident and nonresident actions.
- Since the venue of tort actions against residents is based upon the residence of the defendant, it is apparent that the venue of actions against nonresidents could not be determined on the same basis. The situation of the nonresident being distinctly different from that of the resident, it was proper for the General Assembly to classify nonresidents separately for the purpose of determining venue. Lloyd Adams, Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 190 Ga. 633, 10 S.E.2d 46 (1940).Defendant's appearance is waiver of jurisdictional defects.
- When a petition brought under the Nonresident Motorist Act (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq.) sufficiently alleged the trial court's jurisdiction of the subject matter of the suit, the defendant waived any jurisdictional defects as to the defendant's person by appearing through the defendant's attorneys and pleading to the merits. Garver v. Smith, 90 Ga. App. 892, 84 S.E.2d 693 (1954).
An action, brought by a resident against nonresidents, neither in the county where the action arose nor in the county of the plaintiff's residence, confers jurisdiction of the subject matter upon the court if it is named in the Nonresident Motorist Act (see now O.C.G.A. § 40-12-1 et seq.), and the defendant's plea to the merits without filing a plea to the jurisdiction as to the person is a waiver of the lack of such jurisdiction. Stanford v. Davidson, 105 Ga. App. 742, 125 S.E.2d 720 (1962); Biddinger v. Fletcher, 224 Ga. 501, 162 S.E.2d 414 (1968).Only defendant's conduct can waive venue.
- Conduct which will amount to waiver of venue is that of the defendant alone and nothing a plaintiff might do can change the legal consequences which attach to that conduct. Biddinger v. Fletcher, 224 Ga. 501, 162 S.E.2d 414 (1968).Submission to jurisdiction of court.
- When a nonresident voluntarily institutes a suit in a county in this state the nonresident submits oneself, for all purposes of that suit, to the jurisdiction of the courts of the county in which the suit is pending. Biddinger v. Fletcher, 224 Ga. 501, 162 S.E.2d 414 (1968).Trial in improper county does not invalidate judgment.
- Venue relates to procedure, and not to jurisdiction, and the fact an action is tried in a county other than that declared by the statute as the proper county for its trial does not go to the jurisdiction and does not invalidate the judgment. Biddinger v. Fletcher, 224 Ga. 501, 162 S.E.2d 414 (1968).Action against nonresident motor common carrier.
- While it is provided that an action against a nonresident motor common carrier may be brought in the county where the cause of action or some part thereof arose, this does not have the effect of restricting or limiting the venue in that respect. This provision contemplates an action arising out of a transaction in Georgia, but even then the statute does not require that the action be brought in the county where the action arose. Parker v. Ryder Truck Lines, 150 Ga. App. 163, 257 S.E.2d 18 (1979).
Even though a nonresident interstate motor common carrier was registered in Georgia and had a registered agent for service of process, venue of a personal injury action against the carrier and nonresident driver was proper only in the county in which the accident occurred. Southern Drayage, Inc. v. Williams, 216 Ga. App. 721, 455 S.E.2d 418 (1995).
Cited in Pate v. Taylor Chem. Co., 88 Ga. App. 127, 76 S.E.2d 131 (1953); Wade v. Hopper, 209 Ga. 802, 76 S.E.2d 403 (1953); Wade v. Hopper, 89 Ga. App. 87, 78 S.E.2d 809 (1953); Horne v. Ewing, 89 Ga. App. 300, 79 S.E.2d 339 (1953); Garver v. Smith, 90 Ga. App. 892, 84 S.E.2d 693 (1954); Arnold v. Chupp, 93 Ga. App. 583, 92 S.E.2d 239 (1956); Rogers v. Johnson, 94 Ga. App. 666, 96 S.E.2d 285 (1956); Petroleum Carrier Corp. v. Carter, 233 F.2d 402 (5th Cir. 1956); Hole v. Duncan, 105 Ga. App. 725, 125 S.E.2d 731 (1962); Atlanta Metallic Casket Co. v. Mosby Truck Serv., Inc., 107 Ga. App. 677, 131 S.E.2d 590 (1963); Key v. Hobbs, 133 Ga. App. 863, 212 S.E.2d 496 (1975); Gowdy v. Schley, 317 Ga. App. 693, 732 S.E.2d 774 (2012).
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 142 et seq., 214, 240. 8 Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 941, 972, 973, 1172.C.J.S.
- 61 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles, §§ 1116 et seq., 1127 et seq.ALR.
- 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.
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.