Gardei v. Conway, No. S21G0430 (Ga. 2022)
Nature of Case: Appellant filed suit against county sheriff and director of Georgia Bureau of Investigation, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against continued enforcement of lifetime sex offender registration requirements under Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry. The superior court of Dekalb County granted a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the grounds that Appellant’s action was untimely.
The Court of appeals affirmed holding that a two-year statute of limitations for injuries to a person applied to Appellant’s declaratory judgment action and that the requirement that Appellant renew his registration each year did not constitute a continuing violation.
Holding: The Supreme Court of Georgia reversed, holding that although Appellant’s action was governed by a two-year limitation period, his claim seeking prospective declaratory relief had not yet accrued, thus the two-year limitations period had not begun to run. In so holding, the Court noted that the correct inquiry as to when the cause of action accrues does not focus on when Appellant became aware of sufficient facts to pursue a constitutional claim, but rather when Appellant suffered the injury that completed the tort.