This Opinion is Uncorrected and subject to revision by the court.
McFADDEN, Judge. Ellington, P. J., and Dillard, J., concur.
Harriet Tuggle, a teacher at a Fulton County middle school, appeals the denial of her motion for summary judgment on official immunity grounds in this assault-and-battery action brought by a former student, P. R., and his parents. Tuggle argues that because the plaintiffs have presented insufficient evidence to rebut her direct evidence of a lack of malice, she was immune from suit and entitled to summary judgment. We agree and therefore reverse.
1. Factual background.
Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material fact remain and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. On appeal, we review a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence and all inferences drawn from it in a light favorable to the nonmovant.
Griswold v. Collins, 318 Ga.App. 556 (734 S.E.2d 425) (2012) (citation omitted). Viewed most favorably to the plaintiffs, the evidence shows that, in 2012, P. R. was a student in a seventh-grade language arts class taught by Tuggle. In February 2012, P. R. asked Tuggle a question about a project he was working on. Tuggle answered him and he returned to his seat. P. R. approached Tuggle
again, while she was checking work at another student's desk, because P. R. felt she had not answered his question. Tuggle became angry and said, " Oh, my God, child. Just follow me." She grabbed P. R. and put him in a " headlock" : she extended her arm all the way around his neck, resting her hand on the back of his neck, so that his head was under her arm. Tuggle walked P. R. around the room as she continued to go desk by desk, checking the work of other students. P. R.'s head was in front of Tuggle's body, his body was behind, and he was forced to hunch over as she walked him through the rows of desks. Initially, Tuggle's grip was pretty loose, but it became tighter as they walked between the rows of desks, until it became " pretty tight." It did not become so tight that Tuggle pulled P. R. over.
When she grabbed him, Tuggle handed P. R. his clipboard with his paper and told him to work. P. R. tried to complete his homework for the next day, but he could only hold the clipboard in front of him with one hand and read the assignment. Accoding to P. R., Tuggle let him go when she was " finished" and he walked back to his seat. He did not have any way of knowing how long she held him because he did not look at a clock, but it " felt like forever." Afterwards, P. R.'s neck felt " a bit weird."
Tuggle described the interaction as her putting her arm around P. R. because she did not want him to leave her presence until she could answer his question. She testified that she held P. R. less than 30 seconds. She denied intending to embarrass P. R. or to hurt him.
Tuggle moved for summary judgment on the ground that she was entitled to official immunity. The trial court conducted a hearing, at which Tuggle re-asserted an objection she had made in her reply to the plaintiff's brief in opposition to summary judgment. Specifically, Tuggle objected on hearsay grounds to the plaintiffs' reliance on summaries of statements from P. R.'s classmates that were included in an investigative report prepared by a school district investigator. At the hearing, she also objected to the consideration of P. R.'s affidavit testimony that the incident lasted 20 minutes, arguing that the affidavit ...