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Anderson Anesthesia, Inc. v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Georgia

June 9, 2015

ANDERSON ANESTHESIA, INC.
v.
ANDERSON

Reconsideration denied July 28, 2015.

Income withholding order. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Dorsey, pro hac vice.

David E. Oles, Sr., for appellant.

Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle, Brooke M. French, Connie H. Buffington, for appellee.

MCMILLIAN, Judge. Barnes, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

McMillian, Judge.

Anderson Anesthesia, Inc. (" AA" ), an Alabama corporation, appeals the trial court's order dismissing its petition filed pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (the " UIFSA" ), OCGA § 19-11-100 et seq., to stay enforcement of an " Income Assignment Order" (the " Income-Withholding Order" ) issued by a Louisiana court and served on Premier Anesthesia, LLC (" Premier" ), a Georgia limited liability company, seeking to withhold a portion of AA's income.[1] We affirm for the reasons set forth below.

" On appeal, we review a trial court's decision to grant or deny a motion to dismiss de novo." Liberty County School Dist. v. Halliburton, 328 Ga.App. 422, 423 (762 S.E.2d 138) (2014). And " [i]n reviewing the grant of a motion to dismiss, an appellate court must construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the appellant with all doubts resolved in the appellant's favor." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Ewing v. City of Atlanta, 281 Ga. 652, 653 (2) (642 S.E.2d 100) (2007).[2]

Page 648

This matter arises out of the divorce of Anne E. (" Anne" ) and Warren Jeff Anderson (" Warren" ).[3] The Income-Withholding Order recites that Anne was awarded support in the divorce and that Warren became delinquent in making support payments. The order directs that Premier withhold 50% of any disposable income, " including but not limited to, wages, salary, commission, [and] compensation as an independent contractor," from the income Premier owes to Warren or AA[4] to satisfy Warren's ongoing support obligations and support arrearages.

After the Income-Withholding Order was served on Premier, AA filed a petition to stay its enforcement, asserting that the Louisiana court lacked authority or a legal basis to issue an order seizing its income because the court never obtained personal jurisdiction over [333 Ga.App. 438] AA. In response, Anne, a Louisiana resident, filed a special appearance answer, denying that the Georgia trial court had personal jurisdiction over her. Anne also moved to dismiss the petition on the ground that it failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and argued in her briefing in support of the motion to dismiss that the Georgia trial court lacked both subject matter jurisdiction over the matter and personal jurisdiction over her.

Following a hearing, the Georgia trial court issued an order on February 21, 2014, in which it questioned whether AA met the UIFSA's requirements for contesting the Income-Withholding Order in Georgia (the " First Order" ).[5] Under the UIFSA, " [a]n obligor may contest the validity or enforcement of an income-withholding order issued in another state and received directly by an employer in Georgia ... in the same manner as if the order had been issued by a tribunal of Georgia." (Emphasis supplied.) OCGA § 19-11-155 (a). For purposes of the UIFSA, the term

" [o]bligor" means an individual or the estate of a decedent ...

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