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King v. Peeples

Court of Appeals of Georgia

August 13, 2014

KING
v.
PEEPLES et al

Release. Gwinnett State Court. Before Judge Rich.

Margo King, pro se.

Cruser & Mitchell, William T. Mitchell, Michael D. Hoffer, Cowsert & Avery, Craig C. Avery, Michael S. Broun, for appellees.

MCFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 818

McFadden, Judge.

Margo King appeals pro se from the trial court's order granting summary judgment to Kenneth Peeples in King's action against him for injuries she sustained in a motor vehicle collision. She also [328 Ga.App. 815] challenges the trial court's earlier order granting summary judgment to her uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) carrier, Ameriprise Insurance Corporation; the trial court's order permitting King's counsel to withdraw from representing her; and the trial court's failure to continue the proceedings. As detailed below, the undisputed evidence showed that the trial court did not err in granting the motions for summary judgment filed by Ameriprise and Peeples and that the trial court acted within his discretion in permitting counsel to withdraw and declining to continue the proceedings. Accordingly, we affirm.

1. Facts and procedural posture.

Viewed in the light most favorable to King, the nonmovant, see Lau's Corp. v. Haskins, 261 Ga. 491 (405 S.E.2d 474) (1991), the evidence showed that King was involved in a vehicle collision with Peeples on July 23, 2004. At that time, she had an insurance policy with Ameriprise that included UM coverage but she did not notify Ameriprise of the accident. On July 20, 2006, King filed a personal injury action against Peeples in the Superior Court of Walton County. She did not serve Ameriprise with a copy of that complaint. See OCGA § 33-7-11 (d) (setting forth requirements for serving UM carrier with action where owner or operator of vehicle causing injury or damage to insured is known and vehicle is believed to be uninsured). She first notified Ameriprise of her intent to pursue UM coverage on October 28, 2011.

On January 9, 2012, King entered into a limited liability release with Peeples, which released Peeples from " any and all" claims of King resulting from the accident, " except to the extent other insurance coverage is available which covers the claim or claims of [King] against [Peeples]."

On January 18, 2012, represented by new counsel, King voluntarily dismissed her Walton County action against Peeples without prejudice. Two months later, on March 27, 2012, she renewed her action against Peeples in the State Court of Gwinnett County. See OCGA § 9-2-61 (a) (setting forth requirements for renewal action). On August 23, 2012, she served a copy of the complaint on Ameriprise, which answered, raised several affirmative defenses, and filed a cross-claim against Peeples.

On March 25, 2013, Ameriprise moved for summary judgment. It argued among other things that the doctrine of laches barred the action against it. King did not file a response to Ameriprise's motion, and the trial court granted the motion. That same day, King's counsel filed a notice of intent to

Page 819

withdraw from representing her. On May 22, 2013, the trial court entered an order ...


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