William H. Ison, a retired Clayton County Superior Court judge appointed to the case because it required a non-Fulton judge because it would be a conflict of interest for a Fulton judge, dismissed the lawsuit Thursday.
Pitts, the current District 2 at-large board member, decided to run against Eaves, the current District 1 at-large member and chairman, when Republican state lawmakers redrew the district maps in 2013 with a law taking effect in January, following this year’s elections. Eaves edged Pitts in the primary with 50.4 percent of the vote. Days after the election, Pitts asked for a recount, which was granted but confirmed Eaves as the winner.
June 9, Pitts filed the lawsuit, claiming voters did not realize the District 7 election was also for the chairman’s seat and that the ambiguity put the election’s result in doubt. But Ison dismissed it, writing in part in his ruling, “The court finds that both grounds are without merit.”
In a statement, Eaves said Pitts’ lawsuit wasted taxpayer dollars and Eaves is happy it was thrown out.
“The result is certified and now validated by our courts,” he said. “Hopefully, for the voters of Fulton County, this puts the entire matter to rest.”
Pitts said he was disappointed with the judge’s decision but will not file an appeal.
“He ruled very quickly,” he said. “I was surprised he did not take the time to read the excellent case that my attorneys put forward. I thought they were right on point that the law was on our side and the facts were on our side. But when you go to court, that’s our system.
“The intent of the Georgia Legislature was clear that they meant for the position to be labeled as chairman or chairperson.”
Despite the loss, Pitts said he will remain active in politics, “Fulton County politics in particular because I am very concerned about the direction the county is headed.”