Articles Posted in SUMMARY JUDGMENT

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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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Posted by Layne Zhao
The Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court’s ruling granting summary judgment on the grounds that a question of material fact existed where defendant-church may have “set the stage” for the accident. In Henderson v. St. Paul Baptist Church, 328 Ga. App 123 (2014), Plaintiff, a visitor of St. Paul Baptist Church fell into a hole while walking from her car to the Church and suffered a fractured leg. Despite Plaintiff’s knowledge that cars were typically parked across the street (though there was no designated parking lot), she and her husband parked beside the Church property: The Church’s pastor motioned for them to park there, behind his own vehicle. In walking towards the church building, Plaintiff chose to take a shortcut and enter through the side entrance. The ground between her car and the entrance was completely covered with pine straw, covering the hole in which she fell.
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Posted by Christina Cribbs
In Taylor v. Thunderbird Lanes, LLC, plaintiff, an experienced league bowler, slipped and fell while bowling at defendant’s bowling alley. 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 774 (Ga. Ct. App. Sept. 24, 2013). Plaintiff alleged that as she approached the lane to bowl, her feet slipped out from under her, causing her to fall on her back and fracture her ankle. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. On September 24, 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to defendant, the owner of the bowling alley.
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Posted by Christina Cribbs
In the world of retail and hospitality, most responsible property owners and operators have established inspection, maintenance and repair procedures designed to prevent injuries to patrons on the premises. These policies are intended to protect customers. However, if not followed, the policies may actually be used against the owner-operator in the event of an accident and subsequent claim.
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