GEORGIA LOTTERY CORPORATION et al.
1100 SHORTER DOLLAR, LLC.
MCFADDEN, C. J., MCMILLIAN, P. J., and GOSS, J.
MCFADDEN, CHIEF JUDGE.
Lottery Corporation and its chief executive officer and
president appeal the order granting 1100 Shorter Dollar,
LLC's petition for mandamus and denying Georgia Lottery
Corporation's motion to dismiss the petition.
Lottery Corporation Rules provide a mechanism for seeking a
stay of its orders - the relief Shorter Dollar sought in its
mandamus petition - but Shorter Dollar did not pursue that
mechanism. We express no opinion about whether that mechanism
is still available to Shorter Dollar. But because it was
available at some time, Shorter Dollar cannot pursue that
relief via mandamus. So we reverse.
relevant facts are largely undisputed. Shorter Dollar is a
retail business in Rome, Georgia that operates Class B
coin-operated amusement machines ("COAMs") pursuant
to a licence granted by Georgia Lottery Corporation under the
COAM laws. See OCGA §§ 16-12-35 and 50-27-70 to
50-27-104. See generally Gebrekidan v. City of
Clarkston, 298 Ga. 651, 655-658 (3) (a) (784 S.E.2d 373)
Lottery Corporation issued a citation to Shorter Dollar
alleging that Shorter Dollar violated Georgia Lottery
Corporation Rule 13.1.10 (5) and OCGA § 50-27-84 (c) and
(e) by failing to provide certain monthly reports. The matter
was referred to a hearing officer, who conducted a hearing on
March 21, 2018. Shorter Dollar failed to appear. The hearing
officer found Shorter Dollar guilty of the charge, imposed a
$5, 000 fine, and revoked Shorter Dollar's COAM license,
effective immediately. Instead of filing a motion for
reconsideration or seeking further review from the chief
executive officer of Georgia Lottery Corporation as
contemplated by the Georgia Lottery Corporation Rules, Ga.
Comp. R. & Regs., r. 560-2-19-.05 (1), Shorter Dollar
filed a petition for certiorari review of the hearing
Georgia Lottery Corporation failed to reinstate Shorter
Dollar's license and reactivate its COAMs, Shorter Dollar
filed this petition for a writ of mandamus, asking the trial
court to order Georgia Lottery Corporation to reinstate
Shorter Dollar's license and to reactivate its COAMs. The
mandamus petition was transferred to the same judge presiding
over the certiorari petition. Georgia Lottery Corporation
filed a limited appearance answer and moved to dismiss the
petition. The superior court agreed with Shorter Dollar,
granted the petition for writ of mandamus, denied the motion
to dismiss, and ordered the chief executive officer of
Georgia Lottery Corporation to allow Shorter Dollar to
operate its location license, to reconnect its COAMs, and to
restore Shorter Dollar's COAM licensing rights pending
resolution of the certiorari action or further order in the
mandamus action. This appeal followed.
writ of mandamus is properly issued only if (1) no other
adequate legal remedy is available to effectuate the relief
sought; and (2) the applicant has a clear legal right to such
relief." Ga. Assn. of Professional Process Servers
v. Jackson, 302 Ga. 309, 312 (2) (806 S.E.2d 550) (2017)
(citation and punctuation omitted). Accord Gaddy v. Ga.
Dept. of Revenue, 301 Ga. 552, 561-562 (3) (802 S.E.2d
225) (2017) ("Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy to
compel a public officer to perform a required duty when there
is no other adequate legal remedy.") (punctuation
omitted); OCGA § 9-6-20 ("[T]he writ of mandamus
may issue to compel a due performance if there is no other
specific legal remedy for the legal rights . . . .").
Shorter Dollar "bears the burden to show that it lacks
an adequate legal remedy so that an action for mandamus will
lie." Merchant Law Firm v. Emerson, 301 Ga.
609, 611 (1) (800 S.E.2d 557) (2017).
"adequate remedy at law" is defined as "[a]
legal remedy . . . that provides sufficient relief to the
petitioning party, thus preventing the party from obtaining
equitable relief." Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed.
2019). "(W)here a statute provides a party with a means
of review by an administrative agency, such procedure is
generally an adequate remedy at law so as to preclude the
grant of equitable relief." Ga. Dept. of Human Svcs.
v. Addison, 304 Ga. 425, 433 (4) (819 S.E.2d 20) (2018)
(citation and punctuation omitted). Moreover, "[i]f
there be a specific remedy by certiorari, the right of
mandamus will not lie." DeKalb County v. Wal-Mart
Stores, 278 Ga. 501, 502 (604 S.E.2d 162) (2004)
(citation and punctuation omitted).
Dollar had the opportunity to pursue administrative and
certiorari review. The COAM rules provide an administrative
appeal procedure that involves requesting reconsideration
from the hearing officer and then moving for review by the
president and chief executive officer. Ga. Comp. R. &
Regs., r. 560-2-19-.05 (1). The rules provide explicitly that
the president and chief executive officer as well as the
hearing officer may stay the execution of the executive
order, Ga. Comp. R. & Regs., r. 560-2-19-.05 (2), the
relief Shorter Dollar seeks here, but that "[u]nless the
execution of the [o]rder is stayed by the [chief executive
officer] or [h]earing [o]fficer, the execution of the [o]rder
is to be effective on the date specified in the [o]rder or
upon service of the [o]rder if no other effective date is so
specified." Ga. Comp. R. & Regs., r. 560-2-19-.04
OCGA § 50-27-76 (a) grants to a person affected by an
action of Georgia Lottery Corporation or its chief executive
officer the right to appeal to the Superior Court of Fulton
County. Shorter Dollar cites no authority prohibiting a
certiorari petitioner from seeking the relief it seeks here.
Cf. OCGA § 50-13-19 (d) (1) (expressly providing in
proceedings for review under the Georgia Administrative
Procedure Act that the agency and the reviewing court may
stay enforcement of decisions).
whether it still may pursue such relief, Shorter Dollar had
the opportunity to pursue an adequate remedy at law, whether
through agency review or through the certiorari
proceedings. DeKalb County, 278 Ga. at 502.
Accordingly, Shorter Dollar could not pursue mandamus relief
and the superior court erred by granting mandamus relief and
denying Georgia Lottery's motion to dismiss. Goldman
v. Johnson, 297 Ga. 115, 116 (772 S.E.2d 704) (2015)
(petitioner could not file mandamus petition to remove judge
from presiding in another case because petitioner could have
appealed denial of motion to recuse in that case but did
not); Titelman v. Stedman, 277 Ga 460, 462 (591
S.E.2d 774) (2003) (entry of written order denying relief was
an appealable judicial act, so mandamus was not available to
McMillian, PJ, and ...