Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 12, 2021

GA Appeals Court Finds the Trial Court Erroneously Characterized Appellant’s Action an Improper Mandamus

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Following the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners’ decision to deny Appellant Nancy Gastel’s request for a variance and to rezone her DeKalb County property, Gastel sued both the Board and the County. Appellant sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and she asserted various constitutional claims, including a purported takings claim and a Section 1983 claim. The trial court granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss, characterizing Appellant’s lawsuit as an improper “mandamus action.”

Here, neither Appellant’s complaint nor the amended complaint made any mention of mandamus relief. While the record did not include a transcript of the hearing on Appellees’ motion to dismiss, there was no indication in the record or in the trial court’s order. Furthermore, there was no argument by Appellees that Appellant somehow amended or recast her complaint during that hearing. As the trial court’s ruling was based solely on the mischaracterization of Appellant’s claims, the court did not need to consider the claims actually raised in Appellant’s complaint. The judgment of the trial court was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Gastel v Dekalb County, 2021 WL 2701417 (GA. App. 7/1/2021)

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