In an earlier posting (When Is a Published Decision Not Binding Precedent, posted April 8, 2013), this blog looked at the phenomenon of published decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals that are not binding precedent. If a case is decided by a three-judge panel of the Court and at least one judge concurs in whole or in part in the “judgment only,” that decision is not a binding precedent as to that part of the decision in which a judge has so concurred. A subsequent three-judge panel is free to reach a different outcome. The earlier blog posting noted an apparent increase in the number of published decisions that are not binding precedent. That trend appears to have continued in the recently-concluded April term.
A review of published opinions appearing in FASTCASE issued during the April Term of Court (April through July) shows that there were 23 published decisions issued by three-judge panels in which one or more of the judges concurred in the judgment only as to some part of the opinion. There were 32 such opinions published in the January Term of Court. Because these opinions are not binding precedents, practitioners need to be alert when they select recent decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals to cite in their briefs.