MILLER, P. J., MCFADDEN, P. J., and MCMILLIAN, J.
McFADDEN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
granted interlocutory review of the order of the State Court
of Fulton County transferring venue to another county.
Because venue was proper in Fulton County, we reverse.
the underlying facts relating to the issue of venue are
undisputed. Therefore, the trial court's application of
the law to the undisputed facts is subject to de novo
review." Bd. of Regents of the Univ. System of Ga.
v. Jordan, 35 Ga.App. 703 (1) (782 S.E.2d 809) (2016)
(citation omitted). Those undisputed facts show that on July
29, 2014, a vehicle driven by Stephen Prince collided with a
vehicle driven by Donna Burchfield in Fulton County. At the
time of the collision, Prince was acting in the course and
scope of his employment with West Metro Glass, Inc.
March 24, 2015, Burchfield filed an action in the State Court
of Fulton County against West Metro Glass and Prince
(collectively, the defendants) for injuries she allegedly
sustained in the collision. Burchfield served this action on
West Metro Glass on April 8, 2015. On May 29, 2015, the
defendants filed answers to the complaint in which they
asserted improper venue as a defense. But West Metro Glass
never filed a notice to remove the action from Fulton County.
Instead, on November 11, 2015, the defendants filed a motion
to transfer venue. The trial court granted the motion,
finding that neither West Metro Glass nor Prince was a
resident of Fulton County and concluding that venue was
improper in Fulton County.
trial court erred in granting the motion to transfer, because
venue was proper in Fulton County and West Metro Glass did
not file a timely notice to remove. OCGA § 14-2-510 (b)
[A] corporation authorized to transact business in this state
shall be deemed to reside and to be subject to venue as
follows: . . . (4) In actions for damages because of torts, .
. . in the county where the cause of action originated. If
venue is based solely on this paragraph, the defendant shall
have the right to remove the action to the county in Georgia
where the defendant maintains its principal place of
business. A notice of removal shall be filed within 45 days
of service of the summons.
OCGA § 14-2-510 (b) (4). As our Supreme Court has
explained, OCGA § 14-2-510 (b) (4) "establishes
venue for tort actions against corporations in the county
where the cause of action originated [and] establishes a
procedure for removal from that county[.]" Pandora
Franchising, LLC v. Kingdom Retail Group, LLLP, 299 Ga.
723, 724 (791 S.E.2d 786) (2016) (citation and punctuation
cause of action in this case originated in Fulton County,
where the collision occurred. So OCGA § 14-2-510 (b) (4)
established venue for Burchfield's action against West
Metro Glass in Fulton County. Pandora Franchising,
LLC, supra, 299 Ga. at 724. And West Metro
Glass did not file a notice of removal within 45 days of the
summons. We disagree with West Metro Glass's argument
that its answer, which it did file within 45 days of the
summons, was the functional equivalent of a notice of
removal. In that answer, West Metro Glass asserted
improper venue as a defense to Burchfield's
action. But a notice of removal under OCGA § 14-2-510
(b) (4), by that statute's terms, concerns a
defendant's right to move the action out of a county in
which venue is otherwise proper. And even if West
Metro Glass's later motion to transfer could be construed
as a notice of removal, West Metro Glass filed that motion
well outside of the 45-day period. Compare Huddle House
v. Paragon Foods, 263 Ga.App. 382, 387 (3) (587 S.E.2d
845) (2003) (holding that defendant's motion to transfer
action from county where tort occurred to county where
defendant had place of business served to preserve
defendant's right to remove case under OCGA §
14-2-510 (b) (4) because defendant filed transfer motion
within 45-day period). So West Metro Glass did not avail
itself of the procedure for removal from Fulton County
afforded by OCGA § 14-2-510 (b) (4). As a result, venue
for this action remained proper in Fulton County as to West
Metro Glass. (Because West Metro Glass had the opportunity to
file a notice of removal within 45 days of service of the
summons as required by OCGA § 14-2-510 (b) (4), we do
not address the situation where it only becomes feasible for
a defendant corporation to seek removal during the course of
a tort action, if venue in a particular county is proper as
to one joint tortfeasor, it is proper as to the other joint
tortfeasor[ ] as well. Consequently, because venue was proper
in Fulton County as to [West Metro Glass], it was likewise
proper as to [Prince], " HD Supply v. Garger,
299 Ga.App. 751, 756 (2) (683 S.E.2d 671) (2009) (citations
omitted). So we do not reach Burchfield's separate
enumeration of error regarding a purported admission in
judicio by Prince regarding venue.
defendants' challenge to venue on the ground that it was
improper had no merit, and the trial court erred in holding
that venue was improper in Fulton and in granting the
defendants' motion to transfer venue.
Miller, P. J., and ...