Georgia law defines “nuisance” as “anything that causes hurt, inconvenience, or damage to another and the fact that the act done may otherwise be lawful shall not keep it from being a nuisance. The inconvenience complained of shall not be fanciful, or such as would affect only one of fastidious taste, but it shall be such as would affect an ordinary, reasonable man.” O.C.G.A. § 41-1-1.
Under the leadership of Sherry Boston, and as a component of her community outreach prosecution program, the Office of the DeKalb County Solicitor-General operates a civil division that is primarily focused on addressing nuisance abatement. These are matters involving quality of life and life safety issues that impact the entire community. Where criminal justice cannot completely address community concerns, the civil division utilizes the vast civil procedure and regulations to bring offending “nuisance” properties into compliance. This community outreach enforcement goal is achieved by targeting specific properties that have been identified by the community at-large. Once the target property has been identified, a thorough legal, factual and strategic review is conducted to determine the appropriateness of utilizing civil law remedies against the property, its owners / occupants and other relevant parties. If appropriate, injunctive and other applicable civil remedies are sought by filing an actual civil suit against the property itself and its associated parties. As with any other civil suit, named defendants are compelled to address the complaint and the communities’ concern.
Under this program, several targets have been currently identified and are being reviewed. Once the review is complete, if appropriate, a civil complaint will be filed in the Superior Court of DeKalb County. Through the civil litigation process, consent, or default judgments are sought. If the offending party is not willing to enter into a consent judgment, damages are sought against the property and other named defendants for maintaining a “nuisance.”