Ga. R. Prob. Ct. 15 app A

As amended through February 11, 2021
Appendix A

The following amendments apply to the Uniform Probate Rules with respect to counties with a population of more than 96,000 persons according to the U.S. Decennial Census of 1990 or any future such census in which the judge thereof has been admitted to the practice of law for at least 7 years. In the material below, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, "rule" means Uniform Probate Court Rule; "probate court" or "court" means a probate court of a county to which these amendments apply; "probate judge" or "judge" means the judge of the probate court of such a county.

Amendments

The fourth paragraph of Rule 1.2 is hereby amended by adding the following sentence at the end of such paragraph: "Likewise, any such probate court may, without specific Supreme Court approval, provide by local rule that any necessary jurors may be supplied by the superior court or state court serving that county."

Rule 3, the existing material shall be designated paragraph (A) and the following paragraph (B) shall be added: "(B) With respect to contested matters, any attorney appointed to act instead of a judge of the probate court pursuant to OCGA § 15-9-13(a), and any hearing officer appointed under any applicable law to hold a hearing in lieu of the judge of the probate court, shall have been admitted to the practice of law for at least 7 years. Such substitute need not be a resident of the same county as the judge of the probate court making such appointment."

Rule 5 (Discovery) is deleted and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

"Rule 5. Discovery

In order for a party to utilize the court's compulsory process to compel discovery, any desired discovery procedures must first be commenced promptly, pursued diligently and completed without unnecessary delay and within six months after the filing of the answer, objection, or other response. At any time, the court, in its discretion, may extend, reopen or shorten the time to utilize the court's compulsory process to compel discovery."

Rule 6.3 (Hearing) is hereby deleted and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

"Rule 6.3 Hearing

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all motions, including those for summary judgment, shall be decided by the court without oral hearing, except motions for new trial and motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. However, oral argument on any motion for summary judgment shall be permitted upon written request if such request is made not later than 5 days after the time for response."

With respect to Rule 6, the following section shall be added:

"Rule 6.8 Motions for New Trial

A. Time for Hearing

In order to reduce delay between the conclusion of the trial and the filing of the notice of appeal, the trial court may hear motions for new trial immediately after filing and prior to the preparation of the transcript of proceedings. In any event, the motion for new trial shall be heard and decided as promptly as possible.

B. Transcript Costs

Except where leave to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted, an attorney who files a motion for new trial, or a notice of appeal which specifies that the transcript of evidence or hearing shall be included in the record, shall be personally responsible for compensating the court reporter for the cost of transcription. The filing of such motion or notice shall constitute a certificate by the attorney that the transcript has been ordered from the court reporter. The filing of such motion or notice prior to ordering the transcript from the reporter shall subject the attorney to disciplinary action by the court."

Rule 7.2 (Pre-Trial Order) is hereby deleted and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

"Rule 7.2 Pre-Trial Order

At the pre-trial conference, or prior to that day as specified in the pre-trial calendar, counsel for each party shall have prepared and shall file with the court a proposed Pre-Trial Order in substantially the following form. The words 'plaintiff' and 'defendant' may be changed if other words are more appropriate."

THE PROBATE COURT OF ______________ COUNTY STATE OF GEORGIA

(STYLE OF CASE) ESTATE NO. ____________

PRE-TRIAL ORDER

The following constitutes a Pre-Trial Order entered in the above-styled case after conference with counsel for the parties:

1. The name, address and phone number of the attorneys who will conduct the trial are as follows:

Plaintiff _________________________________________________________________________________

Defendant _______________________________________________________________________________

Other __________________________________________________________________________________

2. The estimated time required for trial is ________________________________________________________
3. There are no motions or other matters pending for consideration by the court except as follows:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

4. The jury will be qualified as to relationship with the following:_______________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

5.
(a) All discovery has been completed, unless otherwise noted, and the court will not consider any further motions to compel discovery except for good cause shown. The parties, however, shall be permitted to take depositions of any person(s) for the preservation of evidence for use at trial.
(b) Unless otherwise noted, the names of the parties as shown in the caption to this order are correct and complete and there is no question by any party as to the misjoinder or nonjoinder of any parties.
6. The following is the Plaintiff's brief and succinct outline of the case and contentions:(USE SPACE AS NEEDED)

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

7. The following is the Defendant's brief and succinct outline of the case and contentions:(USE SPACE AS NEEDED) _______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

8. The issues for determination by the court are as follows: ___________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

9. The following facts are stipulated: ___________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

10. The following is a list of all documentary and physical evidence that will be tendered at the trial by the Plaintiff or Defendant. Unless noted, the parties have stipulated as to the authenticity of the documents listed and the exhibits listed may be admitted without further proof of authenticity. All exhibits shall be marked by counsel prior to trial so as not to delay the trial.
a. By the Plaintiff:__________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

b. By the Defendant:________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

11. Special authorities relied upon by Plaintiff relating to peculiar evidentiary or other legal questions are as follows:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

12. Special authorities relied upon by Defendant relating to peculiar evidentiary or other legal questions are as follows:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

13. Requests and exceptions to charge

All requests to charge shall be numbered consecutively on separate sheets of paper and submitted to the court in duplicate by counsel for all parties at the commencement of trial, unless otherwise provided by Pre-Trial Order; provided, however, that additional requests may be submitted to cover unanticipated points that arise thereafter.

14. The testimony of the following persons may be introduced by depositions:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Any objection to the depositions or questions or arguments in the depositions shall be called to the attention of the court prior to trial.

15. The following are lists of witnesses the
a. Plaintiff will have present at trial:_____________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

b. Plaintiff may have present at trial:____________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

c. Defendant will have present at trial:___________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

d. Defendant may have present at trial:__________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Opposing counsel may rely on representation by the designated party that he will have a witness present unless notice to the contrary is given in sufficient time prior to trial to allow the other party to subpoena the witness or obtain his testimony by other means.

16. The form of all possible verdicts to be considered by the jury are as follows:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

17.
(a) The possibilities of settling the case are:____________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

(b) The parties do/do not want the case reported. If they do,_____________________will arrange for the reporter.
(c) The cost of take-down will be paid by:_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

(d) Other matters:

Submitted by:

______________________________________

______________________________________

It is hereby ordered that the foregoing, including the attachments that the foregoing, including the attachments thereto, constitutes the PRE-TRIAL ORDER in the above case and supersedes the pleadings which may not be further amended except by order of the court to prevent manifest injustice.

This __________________ day of __________________, _______________.

______________________________________

Judge, Probate Court of

________________________________ County

Rule 9.2 (Continuances) shall be deleted and the following shall be substituted:

"Rule 9.2 Continuance after Scheduled for Trial

Continuances will not be granted merely by agreement of counsel. Actions will not be removed from a trial calendar after notice of such calendar has been duly given, except by court direction upon such terms as reasonably may be imposed, including the possible imposition of a penalty of up to $50 upon the moving party if, absent statutory grounds or good cause, a motion for continuance of an action is first made within 5 days of the trial week scheduled."

Rule 9.3 (Appeals - Probate Court Transcript Not Transmitted) shall be deleted and the following shall be substituted:

"Rule 9.3 Appeals Record

The record which is transmitted to the appropriate appellate court on appeal shall be prepared in the same manner as appeals from the superior court are prepared, as nearly as practicable."

Rule 14 (Leaves of Absence) shall be amended by adding the following after subsection (C):

(D)" Whether any hearings or trials have been scheduled and, if so, the date of said hearing or trial."

Rule 19.3 (Recusal - Procedure upon a Motion for Disqualification) shall be amended by deleting the present material and substituting the following:

"Rule 19.3 Procedure upon a Motion for Disqualification

If the recusal motion is sustained, the probate judge shall be recused and a state court judge (other than the one who heard the motion) or an attorney shall be appointed by the judge who heard the recusal motion to sit in place of the recused judge, provided that such state court judge or attorney appointed to hear the case shall have been admitted to the practice of law for at least 7 years."

Rule 20.8 (Filing of Transcripts) is hereby amended by deleting the last sentence and substituting in lieu thereof the following sentence: "See also Rule 9.3 in this Appendix A concerning appeals."

Rule 24 is amended to read as follows:

"Rule 24 Jury Trials

A. Right to Jury Trial. The right of a party to a jury trial must be asserted by a written demand within 30 days after the filing of the first pleading of the party or within 15 days after the filing of the first pleading of an opposing party, whichever is later, except that with respect to a petition pursuant to OCGA § 29-5-6, relating to guardianship of an incapacitated adult, if any interested party desires a trial by jury, such party must make such request for a jury within ten days after the date of mailing of the notice provided for by paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of OCGA § 29-5-6. If a party fails to assert the right to a jury trial, the right shall be deemed waived and may not thereafter be asserted.
B.Voir Dire. The court may propound, or cause to be propounded by counsel, such questions of the jurors as provided in OCGA § 15-12-133; however, the form, time required and number of such questions is within the discretion of the court. The court may require that questions be asked once only to the full array of the jurors, rather than to every juror - one at a time - provided that the question be framed and the response given in a manner that will provide the propounder with an individual response prior to the interposition of challenge. Hypothetical questions are discouraged, but may be allowed in the discretion of the court. It is improper to examine a juror as to how he would act in certain contingencies or on a certain hypothetical state of facts. No question shall be framed so as to require a response from a juror which might amount to a prejudgment of the action. Questions calling for an opinion by a juror on matters of law are improper. The court will exclude questions which have been answered in substance previously by the same juror. It is discretionary with the court to permit examination of each juror without the presence of the remainder of the panel. Objections to the mode and conduct of voir dire must be raised promptly or they will be regarded as waived.
C.Selection of Juries. After completion of the examination of jurors upon their voir dire, the parties and their counsel shall be entitled, upon request, to 15 minutes to prepare for jury selection; thereafter, during the selection of jurors, the judge in his discretion, upon first warning counsel, may restrict to not less than one minute the time within which each party may exercise a peremptory challenge; a party shall forfeit a challenge by failing to exercise it within the time allowed."

The following new Rule 25 is added:

"Rule 25 Settlement Agreements Altering Terms of Will

With respect to approval of settlement agreements pursuant to OCGA § 53-3-22, the probate courts to which these amendments apply shall have the same powers that superior courts have on appeals from other probate courts."

The following new rule Rule 26 is added:

"Rule 26 Court Reporters

Unless otherwise notified by the court, if any party desires that a hearing or trial be reported by a court reporter, then it shall be the duty of such party to arrange, at his own expense, for a court reporter to be present at the hearing or trial. Such party shall immediately notify the court and opposing counsel in writing when such arrangements have been made. No delay or continuance of any hearing or trial shall be granted in order to allow any party to make such arrangements, except for good cause shown. If the court will arrange for a court reporter to be present at a particular hearing or trial, then the court will so inform the parties in the notice of hearing, pre-trial order, or other appropriate notice."

Ga. R. Prob. Ct. 15 app A