A lawsuit filed by College Park against Clayton County involving airport alcohol sales tax revenue can proceed toward trial, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The case now returns to the trial court in Fulton County. In its lawsuit, filed in 2015, College Park has contended it was not receiving as much tax revenue from alcohol sales at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as a 1983 law entitled it to collect.
The airport is owned by the city of Atlanta but some of its concessions sit in both College Park and unincorporated Clayton County. College Park has claimed the county owes it about $2.5 million from alcohol taxes collected over the past 35 years.
In Monday’s unanimous ruling, the state high court said the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity does not bar the city’s claims against the county, as Clayton County lawyers had contended. Under Georgia law, sovereign immunity prohibits lawsuits against the state without the state’s consent.
This case involves a dispute between two political subdivisions of equal standing, Chief Justice Harold Melton wrote for the court. “Neither entity retains a superior authority over the other that would prevent it from being (haled) into a court of law by the other.”