2003 Update on Premises Liability
The following paper summarizes Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions addressing premises liability for the period July 1, 2002 through August 8, 2003. For ease of understanding and analysis, I've assigned each case to the discreet category upon which the Court's decision turns. That is, slip/trip and falls upon static defects from one line of cases and illustrate well appellate court's consistent holdings. Similarly, slip and falls on foreign substances carry a different analysis. Finally inadequate security cases enumerate a distinct line of reasoning. Yet all these cases - all these appellate court decisions (save two) - turn on this fundamental question: who has or should have higher knowledge of the hazard, defect or risk - the owner/occupier or the invitee /guest? Almost always the answer to that question foretells the court's ruling. If the guest or invitee has knowledge equal to or greater than the owner/occupier, summary judgment is appropriate. If the owner/occupier has or should have higher knowledge, summary judgment is inappropriate.