Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability case involving the tragic drowning death of a young child at a condominium swimming pool. The case required the court to determine the condo association was liable for the child’s death. Finding that the association was not negligent in any way, the court dismissed the case against the association.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff in this case was the father of a young boy who drowned in a swimming pool that was located at the condominium complex where his aunt lived. At the time of the accident, the aunt was not present, but the boy was with several other family members. According to the evidence presented at trial, the pool was very crowded on the day of the accident, and the young boy was under water for approximately five minutes before he was discovered. There was also some evidence suggesting that the person who called 911 was unable to promptly give the address of the condo complex, potentially delaying the arrival of emergency responders.
After his son’s death, the boy’s father filed a personal injury lawsuit against the condo association, claiming that the association was negligent for failing to have a lifeguard present, failing to have a safety rope distinguishing the shallow part of the pool from the deep part of the pool, and failing to post a sign with the pool’s address.
Before the case reached trial, the condo association filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it did not have a duty to protect the young boy because he was a trespasser. In the alternative, the association argued that even if the court considered the boy an invitee, the association was not negligent in the construction, maintenance, or operation of the pool.
The trial court determined that the boy was a trespasser and dismissed the case. The court also determined that, even if the boy was not determined to be a trespasser, the condo association could still not be held liable because it was not negligent in any way. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court determined that the lower court was wrong to find that the boy was a trespasser as a matter of law. Instead, the court explained that there was enough evidence present to submit that question to a jury for resolution. However, the appellate court agreed with the lower court’s analysis that the condo association did not have a duty to protect the boy.
The court explained that the condo association satisfied any duty it owed to the plaintiff. First, the association posted a sign warning swimmers that no life guard was present. Second, the pool was a zero-depth pool that started at one inch of depth and gradually got deeper at a consistent slope. Since the slope of the pool was consistent from shallow end to deep end, the county pool inspector determined that a rope line was not required. Finally, the court held that the condo complex posted its address at the front of the building, viewable from the street, and this was sufficient. Also, the court explained that there was no allegation that the boy’s life could have been saved if the emergency responders got there a few minutes earlier.
Have You Been Hurt While on Another Party’s Property?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. The dedicated Georgia premises liability attorneys at McAleer Law have the experience and dedication you need to feel comfortable entrusting them with your case. We have handled many Georgia personal injury cases, and we look forward to speaking with you about how we can help you. Call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
See More Posts:
Georgia Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant in Recent Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, July 5, 2017.
Georgia Appellate Court Clarifies When Accumulated Rainfall Constitutes a Hazard, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, June 27, 2017.