In Georgia, disputes involving open accounts are particularly well suited for adjudication by summary judgment because construction of contracts is ordinarily a matter of law for the court.
A suit on open account is a simplified pleading procedure where a party can recover what he was justly and equitably entitled to. The balance due on an account may be testified to by a witness without introducing the supporting documents as secondary evidence. Or, the last statement and demand for payment may be introduced into evidence as a business record. Such a business record exhibit establishes prima facie that the sum sued for is owing to the plaintiff. That shifts the burden to the opposite party to show an issue of fact remains. Then the defendant must offer admissible testimony to the contrary; a general denial of indebtedness will not suffice. Georgia courts have granted summary judgment to creditors under similar circumstances.
To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmovant must raise material issues of fact and not mere legal conclusions and allegations that present no fact issue. There must be more stated than mere conclusions. Hyman v. Horwitz, 148 Ga. App. 647 (1979). To defeat summary judgment, the nonmovant must show in the record the existence of a genuine issue of fact. Otherwise, the nonmovant must suffer summary judgment. Cooper v. Public Fin. Corp., 146 Ga. App. 250 (1978).
An itemized, verified complaint may sufficiently support the claim against a debtor. A claim against a defendant can further be established by an affidavit that explains the contract, the indebtedness outstanding on the defendant’s part, and the debtor’s failure to pay what is owed. An affidavit is generally sufficient alone to support summary judgment. SeeLawhorn v. Atl. Refining Co., Inc., 299 F.2d 353, 357–58 (5th Cir. 1962)
Obtaining a judgment against a commercial debtor is just the first step in recovering what you are owed, but completing the collection process is complicated and successful debt collection requires the assistance of an experienced debt collection attorney.
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