MCFADDEN, C. J., MCMILLIAN, P. J., and SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE
MCFADDEN, CHIEF JUDGE.
appeal is from the entry of a default judgment on
cross-claims. The appellant asserts that the trial court
erred in entering a default judgment against him on the
cross-claims because no answer to the cross-claims was
required and they stood automatically denied. We agree and
reverse the entry of a default judgment on the cross-claims.
Facts and procedural posture.
Gilmore filed a verified complaint against Vernard Hodges,
Auction Credit Enterprises, LLC, and others, claiming fraud
and breach of contract. Auction Credit filed an answer and
cross-claims against Hodges for conversion, unjust
enrichment, and indemnification. Hodges filed a motion to
dismiss both Gilmore's complaint and Auction Credits'
cross-claims, but the trial court denied the motion.
claims against all the defendants were eventually resolved,
leaving Auction Credit's cross-claims against Hodges
pending for resolution. The trial court then entered an order
vacating its prior order denying Hodges' motion to
dismiss the cross-claims, converting Hodges' motion to
dismiss the cross-claims into a motion for summary judgment,
and giving Auction Credit 30 days to respond to Hodges'
motion for summary judgment on the cross-claims. Auction
Credit timely responded to Hodges' motion for summary
judgment and also moved the court to strike Hodges'
answer to the cross-claims and enter a default judgment,
arguing that Hodges' answer to the cross-claims was not
January 26, 2018, while Hodges' motion for summary
judgment was still pending, the trial court entered an order
granting Auction Credit's motion to strike Hodges'
unverified answer to the cross-claims, declaring that Hodges
was in default on the cross-claims, deeming the allegations
in the cross-claims to be true and established, and directing
the parties to submit affidavits on the issue of damages. On
July 25, 2018, the trial court entered its final order and
default judgment in favor of Auction Credit for damages
totaling $63, 724.
August 17, 2018, Hodges filed a motion to set aside the
orders awarding default judgment to Auction Credit, or
alternatively for an extension of time to appeal. The trial
court denied the motion to set aside, but granted the
extension of time to appeal, ordering that Hodges "shall
have until and through September 23, 2018, to file a Notice
of Appeal from this court's order of July 25, 2018.
This order is intended to and is to be construed to grant
the maximum extension permissible under OCGA § 5-6-39
(c)." (Emphasis supplied.) Hodges filed his notice
of appeal on Monday, September 24, 2018.
Motion to dismiss the appeal.
Credit has moved to dismiss the appeal, claiming that the
notice of appeal was untimely since it was filed on September
24 instead of September 23, 2018. The motion is without
out above, the trial court order granting Hodges an extension
of time to file his notice of appeal expressly stated that
the order was intended to grant the maximum extension allowed
by OCGA § 5-6-39 (c) to appeal from the July 25, 2018
order. Under OCGA §§ 5-6-39 (c) and (d), "an
extension of time [for filing a notice of appeal] may be
granted but it shall not exceed 30 days and [the application
for such an extension] must be made before the initial 30-day
period for filing the notice of appeal expires."
Grovnor v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. System of
Ga., 231 Ga.App. 120 (1) (497 S.E.2d 652) (1998). See
OCGA § 5-6-38 (a) (the initial period for filing a
notice of appeal is "within 30 days after entry of the
appealable decision or judgment complained of").
moved for an extension before the initial 30-day period for
filing the notice of appeal had expired, so after the trial
court granted him the maximum extension allowed by OCGA
§ 5-6-39 (c), "the deadline for the filing of the
notice of appeal became the 60th rather than the 30th day
following the entry of the [July 25, 2018 final order]."
Dillard v. State, 223 Ga.App. 405 (1) (477 S.E.2d
674) (1996). That 60th day fell on September 23, 2018, which
was, as Auction Credit concedes, a Sunday. Under
Georgia's statutory rules of construction,
when a period of time measured in days . . . is prescribed
for the exercise of any privilege or the discharge of any
duty, the first day shall not be counted but the last day
shall be counted; and, if the last day falls on Saturday
or Sunday, the party having such privilege or duty shall have
through the following Monday to exercise the privilege or to
discharge the duty.
OCGA § 1-3-1 (d) (3) (emphasis supplied). Since the last
day of the maximum statutory period for an extension granted
by the trial court fell on a Sunday, Hodges had through the
following Monday, ...