July 18, 2012
Authored by: Luke Lantta
Last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals was busy addressing cases involving efforts to set aside deeds based on fraud. So, we’ll take another look at a Georgia fraud case this week: Dunkley v. Evans. While the appellate court had to address several legal issues, we’ll focus on the statute of limitations. Here’s how the Georgia Court of Appeals said it worked in a fraud case:
The trial court mistakenly applied a four year statute of limitation to the case. Where the claims are the type as those made by the plaintiffs here (a request that the court exercise its equitable power to cancel allegedly fraudulent deeds), the statute of limitations is seven years in Georgia. Moreover, the rule in considering these types of claims is that the seven-year period does not commence until the fraud is or should have been discovered in the exercise of due diligence, absent a confidential or fiduciary relationship which justified reliance.
The case was remanded to the trial court on this point because, although the trial court ruled that there was no evidence fraud prevented the plaintiffs from timely filing their claim within the four-year statute of limitation for fraud, the court did not consider whether fraud prevented the plaintiffs from timely filing their claim within the applicable seven-year period.