Sovereign immunity. Fulton State Court. Before Judge Roth.
Samuel S. Olens , Attorney General, Shingler Lewis , George P. Shingler , Ashley E. Wilson, for appellant.
Robin F. Clark , Deitch & Rogers, Andrew T. Rogers, for appellees.
DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller and Dillard, JJ., concur.
Doyle, Presiding Judge.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (" DOT" ) appeals from the trial court's denial of its motion seeking dismissal of tort claims brought by Edward and Bernadette Kovalcik, as parents of Stephanie Kovalcik (deceased), and Edward Kovalcik as administrator of Stephanie's estate. The DOT argues that the trial court erred by ruling that the Kovalciks' claims were not barred by sovereign immunity. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.
[328 Ga.App. 186] " We review de novo a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss based on sovereign immunity grounds, which is a matter of law. However, factual findings by the trial court in support of its legal decision are sustained if there is evidence authorizing them." 
The evidence shows that the DOT, the City of Atlanta, and the Buckhead Community Improvement District (" BCID" ) began planning a road improvement project to redesign a portion of Peachtree Road (" Project" ), a State route within the City limits. In February 2004, the DOT and the City entered into an agreement to undertake certain improvements including the Project. The agreement stated that the City would
accomplish all of the design activities for the project ... in accordance with the [DOT's] Plan Development Process, the applicable guidelines of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ..., the [DOT's] Standard Specifications Construction of Roads and Bridges, the [DOT's] Plan Presentation Guide, Project schedules, and applicable guidelines of the [DOT].
The contract further provided that the DOT
shall review and has approval authority for all aspects of the Project provided however this review and approval does not relieve the City of its responsibilities under the terms of this agreement. The [DOT] will work with the [Federal Highway Administration] to obtain all needed approvals with information furnished by the City.
Pursuant to an agreement between the BCID and the City, the BCID retained URS Corporation to deliver construction plans that included road design, signage, pavement markings, curbs, traffic signals, and landscaping. URS prepared the plans and, through ...