Textualism Is the Law of the Land in Georgia: What to Do About It?

As we see it, the most important trend coming from the Georgia Supreme Court in 2017 is the court’s adoption of textualism as the guiding principle of statutory interpretation in Georgia. Because of the growing impact of textualism on litigation, and the potential effect it will have on contracting parties, it is important that you take this trend into account both in the way you operate your business in Georgia and in any formal legal dispute.

We first wrote about the lengthy opinion issued by the Georgia Supreme Court in Lathrop v. Deal in an article for the Daily Report. While notable for its subject matter – holding that the doctrine of sovereign immunity restricted the manner and method in which state laws could be challenged as violating the Georgia Constitution – we opined that the bigger impact of the decision is its forthright embracing of textualism as an interpretative tool. To put it simply, textualism requires the court to apply the plain meaning of the statutory text at the time the statute was originally adopted. In Lathrop, the court clearly adopted this principle as reflected by its analysis of the applicable law’s first draft, written in 1861, and what particular words meant at the time that statute was originally written. Continue Reading

Welcome to Georgia On Our Mind!

Welcome to Georgia On Our Mind: Updates from Parker Poe Atlanta! This is our first entry in a new blog intended to bring to the fore issues, thoughts, and ideas related to Parker Poe’s legal practice in Atlanta. Each month, we intend to publish as part of this blog legal items of interest that, most importantly, impact the way you run your business in the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia, and the Southeast overall.

Part of Parker Poe’s strength is the way all our different offices are integrated as a whole. This blog will not change that. You will see over time that several of our participant bloggers will be lawyers whose practices touch both the Carolinas and Georgia. We pride ourselves on our collaboration (and collegiality) between different offices.

However, we do want to highlight for our friends and clients some of the things that are perhaps unique to Atlanta and that we think will influence the ways in which you approach your business and your disputes within the State of Georgia. Every month, we will be blogging about those issues. Our goal is to help identify them and explain how they’re impacting our clients and others who do business in the state. Continue Reading