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Rigby v. Boatright

Court of Appeals of Georgia

November 12, 2014

RIGBY et al.
v.
BOATRIGHT et al

Reconsideration denied December 4, 2014.

Page 784

Electric membership corporation. Bacon Superior Court. Before Judge DeVane.

Futch Law Firm, Kenneth E. Futch, J. Patrick Brooks, for appellants.

Roberts Tate, James L. Roberts IV, for appellees.

MILLER, Judge. Barnes, P. J., and Branch, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 785

Miller, Judge.

The Satilla Rural Electric Membership Corporation (" Satilla" ) disqualified Jerry E. Boatright from running for the Board of Directors (" the Board" ) seat representing Bacon County. Thereafter, both in his individual capacity and derivatively on behalf of Satilla's members, Boatright sued Satilla and the individual Board members, as well as members of the Board's Credentials and Elections Committee (" the Elections Committee" ) for injunctive and declaratory relief and for a writ of mandamus to place his name on the ballot for the Board election. The parties stipulated to certain facts and, after a hearing, the trial court granted Boatright a writ of mandamus, finding that the decision to disqualify him was arbitrary and capricious. [330 Ga.App. 182] Five members of the Board, Julian Rigby, Thomas J. Morris, Herman Sellers, Scott Day, and Fred C. Harrison, Sr. (collectively " Appellants" ) appealed,[1] and the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed, holding that mandamus relief was not available to enforce the purely private right that Boatright asserted. Rigby v. Boatright, 294 Ga. 253, 254-256 (751 S.E.2d 851) (2013). Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Georgia remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of Boatright's requests for injunctive relief. Id. at 256.

On remand, the trial court reiterated that the decision to disqualify Boatright was arbitrary and capricious, granted Boatright's requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, enjoined the Board from declaring Boatright disqualified and again ordered the Board to place Boatright on the ballot. Appellants appeal again to this Court,[2] contending that (1) the trial court erred in finding that the decision to disqualify Boatright was arbitrary and capricious and (2) the trial court erred in granting Boatright injunctive relief. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

[A] trial court has broad discretion to fashion equitable remedies based upon the exigencies of each case, and we have held that a trial court should craft an injunction in a manner that is the least oppressive to the defendant while still protecting the valuable rights of the plaintiff. Moreover, where there are conflicts in the evidence and a trial court, in reviewing those conflicts,

Page 786

grants an injunction, an appellate court will not disturb the injunction the trial court has fashioned unless there was a manifest abuse of discretion.

( Footnotes omitted.) Goode v. Mountain Lake Investments, 271 Ga. 722, 724 (2) (524 S.E.2d 229) (1999). Moreover, in an action for declaratory and injunctive relief, the trial court's findings of fact shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. See State Farm Mut. ...


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