Strickland v. Arch Insurance Company
ORDER granting Arch's 24 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying Strickland's 26 Motion for Summary Judgment. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter the appropriate judgment and close this case. Signed by Chief Judge Lisa G. Wood on 1/10/2017. (ca)
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DEVIN B. STRICKLAND,
ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY,
Court are Plaintiff Devin B. Strickland and
Dkt. Nos. 24, 26.
The motions have been
fully briefed and the Court heard oral arguments on both
Dkt. Nos. 28, 31-32, 35-36, 38.
satisfactory and takes responsibility for it?
Or does the
authority also need to issue formal "final acceptance"?
final acceptance is needed, because O.C.G.A. § 13-10-65 is
U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Rome
Concrete Pipe Co., 353 S.E.2d 15, 16-17 (Ga. 1987).
reason, as discussed below, the Court GRANTS Arch's motion,
dkt. no. 24, and DENIES Strickland's motion, dkt. no. 26.
Strickland supplied sand to Douglas Asphalt for use on a
Georgia Department of Transportation
Dkt. No. 24-1 nil 1-2.
C'GDOT") road project.
Douglas Asphalt went into default.
Arch took over Douglas Asphalt's duty, pursuant to an
agreement, then arranged for the work's completion by a third
Id. K 5; Dkt. No. 24-3 at 6-9, 16-17.
Dkt. No. 31-3 1| 7.
on August 22, 2014.
He sued Arch seeking recovery
Dkt. No. 1-1 at 4.
to this Court on September 19, 2014.
The suit was removed
Dkt. No. 1.
''substantially complete," "ready for final inspection," and
"complete and satisfactory" on August 25, 2010.
September 1, 2010.
Dkt. No. 22-3 at 1.
Dkt. No. 22
It requested that
GDOT take over project maintenance on January 25, 2012, "since
all the [work] [had] been completed."
Dkt. No. 22-4 at 1.
February 1, 2012, GDOT's area engineer informed his district
Dkt. No. 22-5 at 1.
Arch chimed in on February
8, 2012, informing GDOT that "[t]he project ha[d] been open to
Dkt. No. 22-7 at 1.
responsibility retroactive to September 14, 2011.
It considered all construction work complete, and all
that remained to be done was ''the final close out" paperwork.
Id. at 16:22-17:7.
Therefore, in summer 2012,
Id. at 15:8-16.
Id. at 15:18-24.
The payment was only
GDOT did not end up paying any additional
Id. at 15:25-16:1.
Up until GDOT's "final written acceptance," the builder
had the duty to protect the project and repair any damage to
Dkt. No. 22 at 22:10-18.
on September 22, 2014.
Final written acceptance issued
Dkt. No. 22-10 at 1.
Strickland found out shortly before this that GDOT was
"prepar[ing] to close out the job."
Dkt. No. 23 at 52:25-
He was told by a GDOT employee that the project had not
yet been closed, but he needed to file any claims he had
Id. at 54:3-10.
He was assured that GDOT would
not close out the project if there were any pending lawsuits,
so he responded by filing the instant suit.
Id. at 54:13-15.
In part, he had not taken earlier action because of a
indications that the project might need additional sand.
at 41:20-43:16; see also id. at 44:10-11
really tried to
demonstrate I was a team player . . . .").
However, he had
demanded payment in a September 7, 2012 letter to Arch, with
ten pages of records attached.
Dkt. No. 24-3 at 22-33.
Arch sought more documents, he did not respond.
Id. at 3.
Summary judgment is required where ''the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Civ. P. 56(a).
A fact is "material" if it "might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law."
FindWhat Inv^ r
F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
A dispute is "genuine" if the "evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
The court must view the evidence most favorably
Johnson v. Booker T. Washington Broad. Serv.,
Inc., 234 F.3d 501, 507 (11th Cir. 2000).
O.C.G.A. § 13-10-65 bars suits for recovery on public works
payment bonds "[brought after] one year from the completion of
the contract and the acceptance of the . . . construction by
the proper public authorities."
Completion and acceptance are
U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Rome Concrete Pipe
Co., 353 S.E.2d 15, 16 (Ga. 1987).
Both were finished here as
of September 14, 2011, and Strickland did not file this suit
until August 22, 2014.
See Dkt. No. 1-1; Dkt. No. 22 at
I. WORK WAS COMPLETED BY SEPTEMBER 14, 2011.
Work on the road project here was completed by September
Georgia's statute of limitations begins to run as
of ^^completion of the actual construction work"—not the public
authority's "'complet[ion] [of the project] under its policy
Rome Concrete Pipe Co., 353 S.E.2d at 17.
This gives the builder clear notice as to when to expect a
lawsuit, whereas interpreting the statute otherwise would keep
the window open until a year after some bureaucratic basilica
unpredictably sends up white smoke.
Id. at 16-17.
Georgia's rule, like other statutes of limitation, ^^prevent[s]
Order of R.R. Telegraphers v. Ry. Express Agency,
321 U.S. 342, 348-49 (1944).
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