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UPDATE: Appeals court again affirms original decision in nudist resort’s lawsuit against Dawson County

Georgia’s Court of Appeals has now decided for a second time to uphold a judge’s prior ruling in favor of Dawson County fire officials sued by a local nudist resort. 

This story continues below.

Paradise Valley Resort Club’s appeal of the appellate court’s Feb. 13 decision has been denied, according to a Feb. 28 order. 

The resort's civil case initially went to a two-day bench trial at the Dawson County Courthouse last January. 

In the lawsuit, Paradise Valley sued defendants Fire Marshal Jeff Bailey, then-Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson and Fire Prevention Lt. Chris Archer in Dawson County Superior Court. The resort asked for a writ of mandamus to lift stop work orders on projects for Paradise Valley Club’s greeting room, welcome center, wine bar, cabanas and indoor pool.

During the trial, Paradise Valley’s lawyer, Joey Homans, pointed to the resort’s vested rights, while the defense argued that stop work orders were in place for the five structures because of lacking life-safety plans.

Last February, Senior Judge Richard Winegarden ruled in favor of the county officials. In that ruling, the senior judge ruled that the stop work orders were valid and that the structures’ building permits had expired. Homans later filed an appeal in June 2022. 

Presiding judge Sara Doyle affirmed the lower court’s decision. Judge Todd Markle and Senior Appellate Judge Herbert E. Phipps concurred, according to the appellate’s court Feb. 13 ruling. 

The appellate court’s Feb. 13 document stated “the evidence supports” their judgment and listed that the legal issues involved were essentially not in the resort’s favor. 

The judgment also stated a court opinion “would have no precedential value,” meaning a decision on the appeal should not be considered legal guidance in future cases.