Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit discussing the duty that a hotel owes to its guests. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to survive the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The court ultimately concluded that the case should proceed to trial, in which a jury could resolve the material issues of fact raised by the plaintiff’s evidence.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff and a friend were in Atlanta for a sporting event and stayed at the defendant hotel. As the plaintiff was finishing up in the shower, he slipped and fell. The plaintiff briefly lost consciousness. Once the plaintiff got back home, he experienced blurred vision and nausea.

Two days after the fall, the plaintiff’s wife reported the incident to the hotel. The plaintiff’s wife testified that the general manager told her that the room where her husband stayed should not have been rented because there were no traction strips in the shower and it was under renovation. The manager did not recall telling the plaintiff’s wife that there were no anti-slip strips in the shower.

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia premises liability case discussing the duties a condominium complex owes its residents. Ultimately, the court concluded that the condo complex was not liable for injuries inflicted upon the plaintiff by a third party while the plaintiff was waiting outside the complex’s gates because his key fob had not yet been activated.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff moved into the defendant condo complex in February 2014. The complex had several controlled-access pedestrian and vehicle gates, which required residents to hold a key fob up to a panel to gain access. When the plaintiff purchased his unit, he initially was not provided a key fob. A few weeks after he moved in he was given a fob, but it did not work. The plaintiff contacted management several times without resolution.

During this period, the plaintiff would typically wait at the gate for another resident to enter, at which point he would follow behind them. On one night, about a month after the plaintiff moved in, he was returning home late one night and waited at the gate for 15 to 20 minutes without another resident entering the complex. The plaintiff, who was with his girlfriend, eventually parked on the street. As the plaintiff was walking toward the complex, a man robbed him at knifepoint. A struggle ensued, and the plaintiff was seriously injured as a result.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability case illustrating the limits of a landowner’s liability for injuries that occur on their property. The case required the court to determine under what circumstances a landowner may be liable for the criminal acts of a third party.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff entered a grocery store that was owned by the defendant. After leaving the grocery store, the plaintiff went back to her car, where she was approached by a man who shot and killed her. The plaintiff’s estate filed a premises liability lawsuit against both the defendant, who owned the store, and the operator of the store.

The defendant landowner filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he was not responsible for the death of the plaintiff. The lower court agreed, and granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff appealed.

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Georgia personal injury plaintiffs have to be very careful to name the correct defendants and file the claim within the applicable statute of limitations. In a recent case, a Georgia appeals court explained why the plaintiff could not refile a claim beyond the statute of limitations after having named the wrong defendant when she first filed case.

According to the court’s opinion, in 2015, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit for injuries she suffered at a water park on Jekyll Island, Georgia in 2013. She filed the lawsuit against the “Georgia Department of Natural Resources d/b/a Summer Waves Water Park.” The first complaint was filed with the two-year statute of limitations under OCGA § 50-21-27 (c). The case was later dismissed in 2015.

Evidently, in 2016, the woman filed a second lawsuit for the same injuries. This time, she filed the suit against “Jekyll Island State Park Authority, a/k/a Jekyll Island Authority, d/b/a/ Sumer Waves Water Park.” She claimed that her claim was a renewal claim and that it related back to the suit filed in 2015. The Jekyll Island State Park Authority argued that the lawsuit was filed too late under the applicable statute of limitations.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia slip-and-fall case dismissing a plaintiff’s case based on her knowledge of the ice that she slipped on. The court had to determine if the plaintiff’s decision to exit out of the same door she entered through was fatal to her claim, when she knew that there was ice on the ground. Ultimately, the court concluded that it was and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was picking up an order for her employer at the defendant’s millwork studio. At the time, it was below freezing, and when the plaintiff entered through the front door she noticed that a water spigot had been left open and water was dripping out onto the ground. The water was not quite frozen, but it had formed a mixture of water and ice.

The plaintiff navigated the entrance to the studio without a problem, and when she got inside she told an employee about the hazard. The employee told her to leave out of another rolling door so as to not risk slipping on the ice. The employee explained not to tell anyone that he told her to use that door, because he could get fired for permitting her to use the rolling door.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit brought by an office manager who slipped and fell after stepping in a puddle of water. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case against the owner of the building was legally sufficient despite the plaintiff’s own conflicting testimony as to whether it was raining on the day of the accident.Ultimately, the court resolved the conflict in the plaintiff’s testimony against her, and it found that there was no issue of fact that needed to be resolved by a jury. Thus, the court entered judgment in the defendant’s favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was an office manager at a tax preparation company that was located in a building owned by the defendant. One day, the plaintiff was the first to enter the office, and as she did so, she slipped on a puddle of water that had gathered near the back office.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a workplace injury lawsuit brought by a man who was working as an independent contractor when he stepped into a puddle of hazardous chemicals. The case required the court to determine if the defendant company violated any duty that it owed to the plaintiff. Finding that the company fulfilled any duty it had to the plaintiff, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

Workplace Injury Cases Generally

There are two types of Georgia workplace injury cases. The first is a Georgia workers’ compensation claim. These claims are appropriate when the worker’s injury is caused while on the job, and the party responsible for the worker’s injury is either the worker himself or his employer.

If, however, the worker was injured due to the negligence of a third party, a Georgia personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. Georgia personal injury cases are often preferred to workers’ compensation cases because the compensation amount in personal injury cases tends to be more significant.

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Whenever a plaintiff files a Georgia premises liability lawsuit against a government entity, they must file an ante-litem notice to the government entity named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The ante-litem requirement is designed to provide notice to the government entity about the nature of the lawsuit so that the entity can conduct a pre-trial investigation.The requirements of an ante-litem notice are set forth in O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5. Specifically, the plaintiff must submit the ante-litem notice no more than six months after their injury, and they must detail “the time, place, and extent of the injury, as nearly as practicable, and the negligence which caused the injury.” If a plaintiff fails to file an ante-litem notice or files a notice that does not substantially comply with the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5, the court hearing the case may dismiss the plaintiff’s case. A recent case illustrates how a Georgia premises liability plaintiff’s case was dismissed for failing to comply with the ante-litem notice requirement.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff inadvertently stepped in a manhole that was left uncovered. The next day, the plaintiff called the police department to inform them that he had stepped in an uncovered manhole, and he provided the address of 425 Chappell Road in Atlanta. The plaintiff also indicated this was near the intersection of Chappell Road and Mayson Turner Road.

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In a recent Georgia personal injury case, the Georgia Court of Appeals found that a woman’s claim could continue against a store after she allegedly stepped on an anti-theft pin in the store.

The Facts of the Case

The woman was shopping with her daughter at a clothing store and stepped on the anti-theft sensor pin on the floor. The pin was about the size of a thumb tack and went through the woman’s sandal, puncturing her foot. She alleged that the pin caused her permanent nerve and tissue damage. The woman claimed that at the time, she was shopping with her daughter and held up a piece of clothing to her daughter, while an employee was unloading new clothing nearby. She explained that three other employees were standing behind the cash registers about four or five feet away. None of the employees or the woman saw the pin before the woman stepped on it, and it was not clear how long the pin had been on the floor.

The woman filed a premises liability claim against the store, alleging that the store breached its duty of care by failing to keep the premises free from hazardous conditions that were present or that the store should have known were present.

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Earlier this month, the state’s court of appeals issued a written opinion in a Georgia personal injury case that required the court to consider whether a tenant’s slip-and-fall accident could properly be brought against the condo association and property management firm responsible for the complex’s maintenance. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff could not establish that a landlord-tenant relationship existed between herself and the defendants.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff rented a condo from the condo’s owner; however, the two never executed a formal written lease, relying only on an oral agreement. During her stay at the condo complex, the plaintiff complained to the condo association on several occasions that the stairwell leading to her condo was dark and without a handrail. The association took no action.

One day, the plaintiff slipped and fell when she was walking down the stairs. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the condominium association as well as the property management firm responsible for maintaining the complex.

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