Appeals court ruling sets up first civil sex trafficking case in Georgia’s state courts

The Georgia Court of Appeals in downtown Atlanta recelty ruled on a sex trafficking case. (Supreme Court of Georgia)

Suresh & Durga, Inc. is the proprietor of America’s Best Inn & Suites motel in Decatur. They have recently faced a setback as their request for a summary judgment in a negligence case, arising from crimes against a minor who was sexually trafficked on the motel’s premises, was denied.

The law has long been that a business may be liable for foreseeable crime on its property. Still, defendants in this and other cases have argued that because there has never been a case holding a property owner liable for foreseeable sex trafficking on its property, Georgia’s negligence laws do not apply to such a claim.

The Georgia Court of Appeals disagreed and found that Jane Doe’s minor sex trafficking was a crime the hotel could be held liable for.

Patrick McDonough is a partner at Andersen, Tate and Carr, who leads the sex trafficking division for the firm. He’s representing the plaintiff, Jane Doe, in her lawsuit against the motel.

McDonough said this is the first civil sex trafficking case in Georgia state courts and the first Georgia Court of Appeals opinion on how existing Georgia law applies to claims of minor sex trafficking.