GEORGIACARRY.ORG, INC. et al.
BORDEAUX et al.
P. J., COOMER and MARKLE, JJ.
Inc. ("GeorgiaCarry"), William Theodore Moore, III,
and Shane Montgomery appeal the dismissal of their complaint
against Thomas C. Bordeaux, Jr., a Chatham County probate
court judge, seeking a writ of mandamus and declaratory
relief regarding the issuance of weapons carry licenses. On
appeal, GeorgiaCarry, Moore, and Montgomery contend that the
trial court erred in dismissing the case by ruling that (1)
the claims of Moore and Montgomery were moot; (2)
GeorgiaCarry does not have standing; (3) the claims against
Bordeaux in his official capacity are barred by sovereign
immunity; and (4) the claims against Bordeaux in his
individual capacity are barred by judicial immunity. Because
judicial immunity does not bar claims for declaratory relief,
review a trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss under
a de novo standard. A motion to dismiss may be granted only
where a complaint shows with certainty that the plaintiff
would not be entitled to relief under any state of facts that
could be proven in support of his claim." Viola E.
Buford Family Ltd. Partnership v. Britt, 283 Ga.App.
676, 676 (642 S.E.2d 383) (2007) (citations and punctuation
April 27, 2018, the appellants filed a complaint seeking a
writ of mandamus and declaratory relief against Bordeaux in
the Superior Court of Chatham County. In the complaint, the
appellants alleged that the maximum amount of time allowed by
law for processing a weapons carry license application is 35
days; that Bordeaux routinely does not process weapons carry
licenses for GeorgiaCarry's members and other residents
of Chatham County within 35 days of the filing of the
application or within 10 days of receiving the background
report; and that by failing to process weapons carry licenses
within the time allowed by law, Bordeaux is violating OCGA
§ 16-11-129 (d) (4). The appellants further alleged that
on October 13, 2017, Montgomery applied for a weapons carry
license with Bordeaux; that on February 2, 2018, Moore
applied for a weapons carry license with Bordeaux; and that
neither Moore nor Montgomery had been issued weapons carry
licenses at the time the complaint was filed. However, Moore
and Montgomery both received their weapons carry licenses at
some point before August 7, 2018.
filed a motion to dismiss. After a hearing on the motion on
August 7, 2018, the trial court dismissed the case. This
appellants contend that the trial court erred by ruling that
the claims of Moore and Montgomery were moot because they had
received their weapons carry licenses. We find no error.
trial court found that the appellants' request for a writ
of mandamus was moot because Moore and Montgomery had
received their weapons carry licenses. However, the trial
court did not find that the appellants' request for a
declaratory judgment was moot.
Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy to compel a public
officer to perform a required duty when there is no other
adequate legal remedy. . . . In general, mandamus relief is
not available to compel officials to follow a general course
of conduct, perform a discretionary act, or undo a past act.
Furthermore, once the public duty has occurred, the prayer
that mandamus be issued compelling a public officer to
perform that public duty is moot.
R.A.F. v. Robinson, 286 Ga. 644, 646 (1) (690 S.E.2d
372) (2010) (citations and punctuation omitted).
it is not clear from the record when Moore and Montgomery
received their weapons carry licenses, the parties do not
dispute that Moore and Montgomery received their weapons
carry licenses at some point before the August 7, 2018
hearing in this case. Consequently, we agree with the trial
court that the appellants' request for a writ of mandamus
is now moot as it pertains to Moore and Montgomery. See
GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. James, 298 Ga. 420, 424
(2) (782 S.E.2d 284) (2016) (mandamus action moot from the
outset as to weapons license holder who received a new
weapons license before the filing of the mandamus action);
see also Moore v. Cranford, 285 Ga.App. 666, 666
(647 S.E.2d 295) (2007) (mandamus action was rendered moot
because probate court issued firearms license).
appellants argue that Moore and Montgomery still have an
interest in the process and the timely issuance of weapons
carry licenses because a weapons carry license is only valid
for five years, and Moore and Montgomery will have to apply
again. The appellants also invoke "the well-established
but narrow exception to mootness for disputes that are
capable of repetition, yet evading review." Owens v.
Hill, 295 Ga. 302, 305 (1) (758 S.E.2d 794) (2014)
(citation and punctuation omitted). If the trial court had
found that the appellants' claim for declaratory relief
was moot, this argument might be persuasive. See
Moore, 285 Ga.App. at 666 (although mandamus action
was moot because firearms license applicant received his
firearms license, superior court found that the
"'issue is one that is capable of repetition and
will evade review'" and did not dismiss claim for
declaratory and injunctive relief). Because the trial court
did not find that the appellants' request for a
declaratory judgment is moot, the dispute will not evade
appellants next contend that the trial court erred by finding
that GeorgiaCarry did not have standing. This argument has no
order dated September 4, 2018, the trial court ruled that
"GeorgiaCarry.Org is not an authorized person to seek a
writ of mandamus." The trial court made no finding as to
whether GeorgiaCarry had standing to seek a declaratory
judgment. On appeal, the appellants argue that GeorgiaCarry
is seeking a declaratory judgment, not a writ of mandamus. To
the extent our holding in Division 4 reinstates the
declaratory judgment action, the question of
GeorgiaCarry's standing to bring that action is not ripe
for our determination. The appellants contend that only Moore
and Montgomery are seeking a writ of mandamus in the present
case. Consequently, ...