Articles Posted in PREMISES LIABILITY

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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In Duff v. Bd. Of Regents of the Univ. Sys. Of Georgia, No. A17A0438 (May 24, 2017), Plaintiff, a student at Georgia Perimeter College (“GPC”), exited a classroom and slipped and fell on rainwater tracked in by hundreds of students entering the building.  It was undisputed that it had not been raining when Plaintiff first entered the building or that she had seen any rain on the floor on her way to class.

Plaintiff testified that she slipped on “standing water,” but could not describe the depth, width, or quantity of water.  Duff v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. Sys. of Georgia, Civ. Action File No. 14A52680-7 (June 28, 2016)(hereafter, the “Trial Court Order”). She also testified that her clothing was wet when she got up.  A professor who assisted her after the fall testified that Plaintiff fell on a very thin layer of water analogous to the amount of water left after you take “a wet paper towel and wiped it across a surface.” The professor also testified that at the time she fell, students were standing outside of the classroom waiting to get in wearing wet clothes and carrying dripping umbrellas.

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In Aldredge v. Byrd, No. A17A0281, 2017 WL 1180469 (Ga. Ct. App. Mar. 30, 2017) the Georgia Court of Appeals held that a landlord was not liable for the collapse of a deck on his rental property.  The renters hosted a barbeque in the house they were renting from the landlord, Aldredge.  The injured renters and guests sued Aldredge for money damages. Continue reading

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Posted by Layne Zhou

In 2007, Joshua Martin, then nineteen-years-old, was walking with his brother and a friend from Six Flags Over Georgia to a nearby bus stop, when they were brutally attacked, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Martin was severely injured by one man who allegedly beat him with brass knuckles and put him in a coma for over a week. Although the bus stop was not on Six Flags property, the four males eventually convicted of the attack on Martin were all seasonal Six Flags employees.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy and Linda Yu.

In a recent case, Jarvis v. Georgia World Congress Center Authority et al., No. 10EV010884, a Fulton County jury delivered an initial verdict of $400,000 against the Defendant security company for injuries sustained by the Plaintiff, Alicia Jarvis, outside the Georgia Dome. The verdict was subsequently reduced after the panel assigned 43% of the liability to Plaintiff on the grounds that she was intoxicated at the time of her fall.
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Posted by Linda Yu.

In the recent case Pirkle v. QuikTrip Corp., 2014 Ga. App. Lexis 34, the Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of the Defendant QuikTrip on the grounds that Plaintiff’s evidence of the Defendant’s actual or constructive knowledge of liquid on the floor was speculative at best.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in the 1970s. I remember the fear generated by the outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in July, 1976, almost as vividly as the joy unleashed by the Steelers’ Super Bowl victories. It was terrifying – hundreds of (mostly) men who attended an American Legion convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia were stricken with a mysterious pneumonia and many died quickly from the illness. Eventually named, “Legionnaires’ Disease,” the illness was linked to a bacterium, later called “Legionella,” which exists naturally in the environment but proliferates in warm stagnant water in poorly maintained ventilation and water systems, hotel shower heads, hot tubs, and decorative fountains. It is not contagious; rather, it is transmitted when humans inhale mist or other fine droplets of water from systems where the Legionella bacteria grow in concentrated numbers. In Philadelphia, the outbreak was traced to a cooling tower in the air conditioning system at the hotel.
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Posted by Christina Cribbs
It is common knowledge that when it is raining, people track water into a building as they enter. This natural process can result in water accumulation inside the building. Shouldn’t this common knowledge refute plaintiff’s allegation that defendant had superior knowledge of the water and, therefore, is liable for plaintiff’s slip and fall? As they say, it all depends on location, location, location.
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Posted by Christina Cribbs
Gwendolyn Williams, age 83, was killed when she was attacked by an 8-foot-long alligator in the planned, residential golf community owned by Landings Association, Inc. After her death in 2007, Williams’ estate brought a lawsuit against Landings for nuisance and premises liability.

The Landings premises was adjacent to wild marshland on Skidaway Island in Coastal Georgia. It was well-known that wild alligators were present in the lagoons in the community. In fact, there was testimony that Williams herself was aware of the alligators on the premises. Both Williams’ son and her son-in-law testified that they had stopped the car on separate occasions to show Williams an alligator while driving through the community. Landings used this testimony to argue that Williams assumed the risk of an alligator attack, and as a result, her estate was not entitled to recover from Landings. Landings’ assumption of the risk argument failed at the trial court level, and in the Court of Appeals.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In January, 2010, ice and snow blanketed metro Atlanta, rendering the Defendants, Mr. and Mrs. Farr, unable to get their cars out of their driveway. Kouche v. Farr et al., 2012 Ga. App. LEXIS 610 (July 2, 2012). Recognizing her friends’ plight, Plaintiff Kouche drove to their home in order to drive Mrs. Farr back to her house to join some friends in a retreat. Upon her arrival, Plaintiff parked at the top of the Farrs’ driveway, and traversed it cautiously four times as she ferried some of Mrs. Farr’s belongings back and forth to the car.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In Sipple v. Newman, 2012 Ga. App. LEXIS 12 (January 12, 2012), Plaintiff, employed as a roofer, was hired by a 93-year-old woman to clean thick wet layers of pine straw off of her roof. In order to remove the pine straw from the gutters and an awning, Plaintiff leaned a ladder beside the awning and then rested his foot on the awning for balance. Plaintiff was injured in a fall after the awning gave way.
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