Case No. A07A0985
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Varsha Mandiga on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BUSA 2106 at Georgia State University taught by Grelecki in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views.
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Date Created: 03/10/16
Varsha Mandiga WILSON v. The HOME DEPOT USA, INC. FACTS Case No. A07A0985. When: Decided: November 7, 2007 Where: Court of Appeals of Georgia. Who: Appellant – Gary C. Harris. Appellees – Jones Day, Rebekah R. Bennett, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, John F. Wymer III. RUFFIN, Judge. What: Robert Wilson sued The Home Depot USA, Inc., for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed Wilson's complaint with prejudice based upon Wilson's alleged failure to comply with a court order. On appeal, Wilson challenges this ruling. He also contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for summary judgment on the issue of Home Depot's liability. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and reverse in part. ISSUE(S) The relevant facts show that Wilson and his wife, Martha Carver, divorced in 1997. Wilson retained physical custody of their child. Carver learned that Wilson no longer worked for Home Depot, she called the Georgia store, using Home Depot's interstore telephone system. Carver then subpoenaed Wilson's employment records for use in a custody dispute in Tennessee. Wilson filed suit against Home Depot, alleging claims for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Wilson initially stated that he lost custody of his child because the Tennessee judge believed he had a drug problem. Wilson also claimed that the injury he suffered as a result of Home Depot's conduct was “pretty much” the loss of custody. Home Depot moved for summary judgment, arguing, inter alia, that Wilson was unable to show he was damaged by Home Depot's alleged tortious disclosure of his failed drug test. Home Depot pointed to Wilson's deposition testimony that his injury was the loss of his son, coupled with his attorney's statement that the loss of custody was unrelated to the failed drug test. Wilson, he complied with this mandate by amending his complaint. Notwithstanding this amendment to the complaint, the trial court dismissed Wilson's complaint with prejudice on the basis that Wilson “failed to set out any damages which resulted from the alleged negligent conduct of Home Depot.” The trial court found Wilson's failure constituted contumacious conduct that warranted dismissal. Wilson appeals this ruling. In a separate claim of error, Wilson contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for summary judgment on the issue of Home Depot's liability. RULE(S) OCGA § 91137. Failure to make discovery; motion to compel; sanctions; expenses. ANAYLSIS The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment with respect to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, but it denied the motion with respect to the invasion of privacy claim. The dismissal of a complaint for failure to comply with a court order is the most severe sanction available and one that is generally warranted where the plaintiff has engaged in contumacious conduct or has wilfully disregarded a court order. Summary judgment is appropriate when the record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.13 We review a trial court's ruling on motion for summary judgment de novo, and we construe the evidence, and all reasonable conclusions drawn therefrom, in a light favorable to the nonmoving party. CONCLUSION According to Wilson, Carver had no legitimate need to know and thus was not privileged to receive the information. Indeed, the evidence shows that Home Depot's policy limited the dissemination of personnel information to “salaried management who have a need to know” the information. However, the evidence also shows that Carver was an assistant manager who contacted Home Depot, using an intraHome Depot phone system and was given a code for Wilson's termination that only a Home Depot manager could interpret. Under these circumstances, we find there is at least an issue of fact as to whether the communication was privileged. Thus, the trial court did not err in denying Wilson's motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability. Judgment reversed. 2
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