Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Baker v. Gosi Enterprises, Ltd.

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division

June 24, 2019

BAKER
v.
GOSI ENTERPRISES, LTD.

          BARNES, P. J., MERCIER and BROWN, JJ.

          Brown, Judge.

         Lauren Taylor Baker appeals pro se the trial court's order dismissing four out of nine counts in her amended complaint against GOSI Enterprises, Ltd. Baker asserts that the trial court erred in dismissing these counts as barred by the applicable statutes of limitation because they "relate back" to the complaint previously filed and dismissed by Baker in her first action against GOSI. For the reasons explained below, we affirm.

         We review a trial court's order dismissing a plaintiff's complaint de novo. See Mujkic v. Lam, 342 Ga.App. 693, 694, n.1 (804 S.E.2d 706) (2017).

In doing so, our role is to determine whether the allegations of the complaint, when construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and with all doubts resolved in the plaintiff's favor, disclose with certainty that the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any state of provable facts; however, we need not adopt a party's legal conclusions based on these facts.

(Punctuation and footnote omitted.) Dove v. Ty Cobb Healthcare Sys., 316 Ga.App. 7, 9 (729 S.E.2d 58) (2012).

         The record shows that Baker began freelancing for Singer22[1] in 2007, working on the fashion retailer's website and marketing. According to her amended complaint, Baker and Singer22 entered into an oral partnership agreement in February 2008, pursuant to which Singer22 "promised to equally share (50/50) in the value of sale of the Singer22 business." At that same time, Singer22 also offered Baker "commissions on all growth over the previous year based on 3% of Singer22's gross revenues" in exchange for Baker working exclusively for Singer22. Baker accepted the offer. From 2007 to 2009, Baker made various contributions to Singer22, including implementing various branding and marketing ideas, which financially benefitted Singer22. By 2009, Baker believed Singer22 was not compensating her as agreed to, and in June 2009, she demanded that Singer22 reduce their oral agreements to writing, which Singer22 refused to do. The working relationship ended entirely some time in July 2009, when Singer22 "eliminated all [of Baker's] access," "excluded [her] from the organization," and "refused to pay anything more for her efforts."

         Baker filed her original suit against GOSI in January 2013. Her complaint included claims for breach of contract, conversion of a non-copyrightable idea, quantum meruit, attorney fees, and punitive damages. Baker filed an amended complaint in June 2013 (the "2013 complaint"). On May 4, 2015, Baker voluntarily dismissed this suit without prejudice.

         On November 4, 2015, Baker initiated the instant suit by filing a renewed complaint with the same claims asserted in the original action (the "2015 complaint"). On July 12, 2016, Baker filed an amended complaint (the "2016 complaint"), which included additional factual allegations of an oral partnership agreement and new claims for breach of partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, and promissory estoppel (the "new claims"). GOSI filed a motion to dismiss the new claims, arguing that they were barred by the applicable statutes of limitation. The trial court granted GOSI's motion in its entirety.[2] Baker now appeals from the dismissal of the new claims.

         In related enumerations of error, Baker asserts that the trial court erred in dismissing the new claims because they arose out of the same conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth in her 2013 complaint and thus relate back to the date of the 2013 complaint pursuant to OCGA § 9-11-15 (c). We first find it necessary to delineate the difference between an amendment to a pleading and the renewal of an action:

[A]mendment and renewal are not the same, they do not have the same underpinnings, and they should not be conflated or equated. A renewal suit is an action de novo. Unless the case is an absolute nullity, the defective or improper suit may be used to nurse the cause of action into full life in the proper form and forum. And it has long been held that the renewal statute is remedial, and to be liberally construed so as to preserve the right to renew the cause of action set out in a previous suit, wherever the same has been disposed of on any ground other than one affecting the merits. Also, renewals and amendments are limited in different ways. For example, an action renewed after the running of the statute of limitation cannot be used to add parties not sued in the original action; whereas an amendment to add a party to an existing suit after the statute of limitation "relates back" under certain circumstances. Similarly, a renewal after the statute of limitation is valid only if it is substantially the same both as to the cause of action and as to the essential parties. But amendment may be used to add causes of action and parties. In short, amendment and renewal are not the same. . . .

         (Citations, punctuation, and emphasis omitted.) Chandler v. Opensided MRI of Atlanta, LLC, 299 Ga.App. 145, 155-156 (2) (b) (682 S.E.2d 165) (2009). See also OCGA §§ 9-2-61 and 9-11-15. The case at hand implicates both an amendment and renewal. It is undisputed that Baker properly renewed her original suit against GOSI when she filed her 2015 complaint pursuant to OCGA § 9-2-61, which pertinently provides:

When any case has been commenced in either a state or federal court within the applicable statute of limitations and the plaintiff discontinues or dismisses the same, it may be recommenced in a court of this state or in a federal court either within the original applicable period of limitations or within six months after the discontinuance or dismissal, whichever is later, subject to the requirement of payment of costs in the original action as required by subsection (d) of Code Section 9-11-41; provided, however, if the dismissal or discontinuance occurs after the expiration of the applicable period of limitation, this privilege of renewal shall be exercised only once.

OCGA § 9-2-61 (a). Additionally, "[t]o be a good renewal of an original suit, so as to suspend the running of the statute of limitations under OCGA § 9-2-61, the new petition must be substantially the same both as to the cause of action and as to the essential parties." (Citations, footnote, and punctuation omitted; emphasis supplied.) Safi-Rafiq v. Balasubramaniam, 298 Ga.App. 274, 275 (679 S.E.2d 822) (2009). See ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.