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Southwest Georgia judge to serve on state Supreme Court to hear appeals case

Pataula Circuit Judge Ronnie Joe Lane has been appointed to serve in an appeal of a case involving two hospitals

ATLANTA — Pataula Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Ronnie Joe Lane will serve in place of Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell on Monday in the appeal of a case involving two north Georgia hospitals and the Georgia Department of Community Health.

The appeal of the Georgia Department of Community Health et al. v. Northside Hospital Inc. and Kennestone Hospital Inc. v. Northside Hospital Inc. will be argued at 10 a.m. Monday before the state high court. Blackwell has recused himself from hearing the appeal.

According to a summary from the Supreme Court, Kennestone Hospital and the state DCH are appealing a Georgia Court of Appeals decision that would deny Kennestone the Certificate of Need it must have to build an outpatient surgical center.

In addition to hearing arguments, Lane will participate in the court’s decision.

Lane, 67, has served as superior court judge in the Pataula Circuit since 2000 and was last re-elected in 2012. The Pataula Circuit comprises Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole and Terrell counties. He also served for six years on the Judicial Council and as administrative judge of the 2nd Judicial Administrative District.

The Supreme Court of Georgia maintains a list of judges from around the state. If a justice must recuse himself or herself from a particular case, the high court appoints the next judge on the list to replace the justice for that case.