United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
Order granting in part and denying in part the
Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court noted
that Plaintiff Sterling's claims under the Eighth
Amendment and under the Georgia Constitution had gone
unaddressed. Doc. 78 at 18-19. Because the Eighth Amendment
claim appeared frivolous, the Court ordered Sterling to show
cause why the claim should not be dismissed. Id.
Sterling did not respond, and the Eighth Amendment claim was
dismissed. Doc. 80. Regarding the claims under the Georgia
Constitution, the Court ordered simultaneous briefing
addressing those claims. Doc. 78 at 19. The Defendants have
submitted their brief. Doc. 81. The deadline for filing those
briefs was November 15, 2018. Even considering the prison
mailbox rule and allowing for delays in prison
mailings, Sterling has not filed a brief within the required
their brief, the Defendants argue the protections of the
Georgia Constitution are unenforceable by courts. They state
that “[t]here is no cognizable cause of action for a
violation of the Georgia Constitution, ” and again that
“Georgia law thus does not provide any cause of action
for the violation of a right protected by the Georgia
Constitution.” Doc. 81 at 4. Because of this,
“the Plaintiff cannot state a viable claim” for
the violation of his rights. Id. They also argue
these claims are barred by sovereign immunity and official
sovereign immunity and official immunity bar Sterling's
state law claims under the Georgia Constitution, the Court
need not address the argument that there is no cause of
action for violating the Georgia Constitution. See
McConnell v. Dep't of Labor, 302 Ga. 18, 19, 805
S.E.2d 79, 80 (2017) (noting that because sovereign immunity
is jurisdictional, courts should address it as a threshold
current Georgia law, state sovereign immunity bars all claims
against officers in their official capacities, whether for
injunctive relief or damages, absent a waiver. Lathrop v.
Deal, 301 Ga. 408, 444, 801 S.E.2d 867, 892 (2017).
Sterling does not point to an applicable waiver here, so his
official-capacity claims are barred.
claims against the officers in their individual capacities
are governed by the doctrine of official immunity, which
applies when officers are performing their official
functions. Ga. Const. art. I, § 2, ¶ IX.
“Official functions” includes discretionary acts
within the scope of a state officer's authority.
Gilbert v. Richardson, 264 Ga. 744, 753, 452 S.E.2d
476, 483 (1994). As the Court noted in its prior order, the
officers were “undoubtedly acting within the scope of
their discretionary authority when they disallow[ed]
participation in the Eid feast, ” so official immunity
is applicable here. Doc. 78 at 13. As the doctrine of
official immunity has been developed by the state supreme
court, it does not bar suits against state officers in their
individual capacities for injunctive or declaratory relief
for constitutional violations. Lathrop, 301 Ga. at
443-44, 801 S.E.2d at 891. However, official immunity does
bar suits for damages against officers in their individual
capacities, unless those officers acted with actual malice or
intent to cause injury. Id.; Ga. Const. art. I,
§ 2, ¶ IX.
has not shown the officers acted with actual malice or intent
to cause injury in prohibiting the Eid feast, so his claim
against the officers in their individual capacities for
damages for violations of Georgia law is barred by official
immunity. In the time since he filed his complaint regarding
the Eid feast, Sterling has been transferred to another
prison. Docs. 1; 12; 56. Because of that transfer, his
requests for declaratory and injunctive relief are moot.
See Zatler v. Wainwright, 802 F.2d 397, 399 (11th
Cir. 1986); Wahl v. McIver, 773 F.2d 1169, 1173
(11th Cir. 1985); McKinnon v. Talladega County, 745
F.2d 1360, 1363 (11th Cir. 1984); Whitehead v.
Lavoie, 176 Ga.App. 666, 667, 337 S.E.2d 357, 359
(1985). For these reasons, the Defendants are entitled to
summary judgment on Sterling's claims under the Georgia
Constitution. Accordingly, the Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 59) is GRANTED in
part, as to the Plaintiff's claims under the
Georgia Constitution. Those claims are DISMISSED with
 Under the “prison mailbox rule,
” a prisoner's complaint, or in this case brief, is
deemed to be filed on the date it is delivered to prison
officials for mailing. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S.
266, 276 (1988); United States v. Glover, 686 F.3d
1203, 1205 (11th Cir. 2012).
 Under Georgia's Tort Claims Act,
official immunity, at least in tort cases, “is cast in
seemingly broader terms than official immunity under the
Constitution.” Lathrop, 309 Ga. at 443, 801
S.E.2d at 891 n.31. Because the constitutional provision on
official immunity applies to bar any claims against the
officers for damages, there is no need to reach the ...