Kowalski Joiner v. City of McDonough

Case Number: 19SV1504
Decision Date: April 20, 2020
Case Type: Ante Litem Notice
This matter arises from an automobile collision. Plaintiff alleged that a City of McDonough employee driving a city-owned vehicle, negligently caused the accident, injuring Plaintiff and damaging his vehicle. However, the pertinent issue in this case concerns the sufficiency of the ante litem notice.
Plaintiff's attorney sent a letter purported to be an ante litem notice to the Mayor of the City of McDonough. The letter was hand delivered to the Executive Assistant for the City of McDonough. It was not delivered to the Mayor personally.

The Ante Litem Notice statute (O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(f)) expressly requires personal service "upon the mayor or the chairperson of the city council or city commission ... or by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery." The Ante Litem Notice statute expressly designates who should receive service of the notice.
The letter identifies the collision between Plaintiff and the city employee driver and alleges that the City of McDonough was liable for negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring, and damage to property among other claims, but was not personally delivered to the Mayor.

Further O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(e) provides that the Ante Litem notice "shall include the specific amount of monetary damages being sought from the municipal corporation.” However, the letter did not make a clear statement of the amount being claimed. Because Plaintiff failed to strictly comply with the statutory Ante Litem requirements the court granted the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.