Georgia Appeals Law Guide / Appellate Law Treatise

Consolidation

Appeals courts may consolidate two or more pending appeals for the purpose of deciding them jointly. Typically in Georgia, consolidated cases involve some of the same parties or underlying facts. See, e.g., Lewis v. State, 255 Ga. 681, 681 n.1 (341 SE2d 434) (1986) (consolidating appeals brought by same criminal defendant from two separate criminal convictions, “due to the intertwining of the records and issues in the two trials”); Dept. of Transp. v. Montgomery Tank Lines, 253 Ga. App. 143, 143 (558 SE2d 723) (2001) (consolidating appeals of two “identical” actions brought by different plaintiffs against same defendant). The underlying facts need not be the identical transaction or occurrence for consolidation. See, e.g., Blackstock v. Fisher, 95 Ga. App. 117 (97 SE2d 322) (1957) (consolidating two cases brought by same plaintiff against same defendant alleging two distinct but similar instances of slander). More unusually, consolidated cases might involve different underlying facts but the same legal issues. See, e.g., Rowland v. State, 264 Ga. 872, 872 (452 SE2d 756) (1995) (consolidating factually unrelated appeals because both involved legal issue of untimely notice of appeal). The Georgia appeals courts have also used consolidation to address two appeals of the same order filed by the same appellant in both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. See Elrod v. State, 238 Ga. App. 80, 81 n.1 (517 SE2d 805) (1999).

Consolidation can serve multiple purposes. It may conserve resources of the courts and the parties. It also reduces the risk of inconsistent or “piecemeal” results. See Patterson v. Professional Resources, Inc., 140 Ga. App. 315, 317 (231 SE2d 88) (1976) (“We … expressly disapprove the practice utilized here of piecemeal and repetitious appeals from the same case which would have been better served by consolidation.”); see also Cochran v. Levitz Furniture Co., 249 Ga. 504, 505 (291 SE2d 535) (1982) (“The policy of the Appellate Practice Act is against multiple appeals and piecemeal litigation.”).

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