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Surette v. Henry County Bd. of Tax Assessors

Court of Appeals of Georgia

June 10, 2015

SURETTE et al.
v.
HENRY COUNTY BOARD OF TAX ASSESSORS

Taxation. Henry Superior Court. Before Judge McGarity.

Judgment affirmed.

The Roberts Law Firm, John A. Roberts, for appellants.

LaTonya N. Wiley; Power-Jaugstetter, Patrick D. Jaugstetter, for appellee.

BRANCH, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Miller, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 417

Branch, Judge.

John and Marla Surette appealed their residential property valuation for the year 2011 to the Superior Court of Henry County. That court eventually signed a consent order and judgment between the Surettes and the Henry County Board of Tax Assessors that expressly established the value of the Surettes' property as $153,000 for that year and for 2012 and 2013, as well, but subject to certain statutory law:

[T]he parties have expressly agreed, as indicated by their respective signatures hereto, that as of January 1, 2011, the fair market value of the real property and all improvements [332 Ga.App. 458] thereon ... for tax purposes was $153,000.00. ... By further agreement and stipulation of the parties and subject to the provision of OCGA § 48-5-299 (c), the fair market value for January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013, shall be $153,000.

Nevertheless, two years later the Surettes sought to appeal the 2013 valuation established by the consent order on the grounds that the value of the property had fallen significantly since the time of that order. The Board of Assessors concluded that the 2013 value should remain at $153,000, and it certified the Surettes' appeal to the Board of Equalization, which affirmed the decision of the Board of Assessors. The Surettes then appealed to the Superior Court of Henry County, but the Board of Assessors moved to dismiss based on the 2011 consent order and judgment. The superior court granted the motion " due to Plaintiffs' prior stipulation of value entered in [the earlier consent order]." The Surettes appeal the dismissal of their appeal. We affirm.

" 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) (citation omitted). " In 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." Ewing v. City of Atlanta, 281 Ga. 652, 653 (2) (642 S.E.2d 100) (2007) (punctuation and footnotes omitted).

1. The Surettes obviously agreed in a consent order that the value of the property for 2011, 2012, and 2013 would be $153,000. Without an exemption or exception to that agreement, the Surettes are bound to what they agreed to.

Parties to stipulations and agreements entered into in the course of judicial proceedings are estopped from taking positions inconsistent therewith, and no litigant will be heard to complain unless it be made plainly to appear that the ...

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