In Georgia, the Civil Practice Act lays down the rules that should be followed by Georgia state courts. The rules govern civil actions and apply generally to courts of record of Georgia. In Georgia, a civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court. Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. Once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue summons to the defendant(s). A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage.
Different types of pleadings in Georgia courts are: a complaint, answer to complaint, counter claim, answer to counter claim, cross claim, answer to cross claim, third-party complaint, third-party answer, affirmative defense and answer to affirmative defense. A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest. If the real party in interest is an infant or incompetent person, the person’s representative should file the complaint. If the infant or incompetent person does not have a representative, s/he may file the action through a next friend or a guardian ad litem. The courts, if found necessary will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor or incompetent person.
Parties may obtain discovery by:
- Depositions upon oral examination or written questions;
- written interrogatories;
- requests for admission;
- request for production of documents or things;
- request for permission to enter into land or other property for inspection or other purpose; and/or
- physical and mental examinations.
If a party wishes to waive the right to trial by jury, the party can make a written or oral request with the court. A judgment is passed after trial and it includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies. Generally, the party who loses in the action shall be liable for the costs.