Case No. A91A2125
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Varsha Mandiga on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BUSA 2106 at Georgia State University taught by Grelecki in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views.
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Date Created: 03/10/16
Varsha Mandiga HARPE v. SHONEY'S, INC. FACTS Case No. A91A2125. When: Decided March 5, 1992. Reconsideration Denied March 30, 1992. Where: Court of Appeals of Georgia. Who: Appellant – John G. Hunter. Appellees – Adams, Gardner & Ellis, George L. Lewis. SOGNIER, Judge. What: Evelyn H. Harpe brought suit against Shoney's Inc. d/b/a Captain D's Fish & Chips, to recover damages for injuries incurred when she slipped and fell on a ramp at a Captain D's restaurant. The trial court granted Shoney's motion for summary judgment and Harpe appeals. ISSUE(S) The record contains excerpts from the deposition of appellant's expert, Ben Ritzert, an architect, in which he stated his opinion that the ramp in issue did not meet the applicable Savannah building code in several respects, particularly in that it lacked handrails. Haroon Nasrullah, an employee of the Savannah Building Inspection Department, are also in the record. Nasrullah testified at deposition that this particular ramp is classified as a curb ramp, which does not require handrails. Appellant's husband testified that he did not even see whether she actually slipped on the ramp since "it happened so fast." Accordingly, because in response to appellee's motion appellant failed to show a causal relation between appellee's alleged negligence per se and her injury but instead admitted she did not *594 know what caused the fall, even assuming appellee was negligent per se in maintaining the ramp, the trial court did not err by granting summary judgment to appellee. RULE(S) To establish a claim based on negligence, four elements must be shown: o (1) a legal duty; o (2) a breach thereof; o (3) a legally attributable causal connection between the breach of duty and the resulting injury; and o (4) damage to the injured party's legally protected interest. ANAYLSIS The court need not address appellee's concerns in regard to the Ritzert deposition because even assuming the record establishes that appellee was negligent per se in maintaining a ramp which did not meet building code *593 specifications, or that a genuine issue of fact exists whether appellee was negligent in maintaining a defective and unsafe ramp, summary judgment was properly granted to appellee. Viewing the evidence in terms of a recovery under common law negligence, we find that summary judgment was properly granted to appellee. "Proof of a fall, without more, does not give rise to liability on the part of a proprietor. There must be proof of fault on the part of the owner and ignorance of the danger on the part of the invitee. Assuming the ramp was defective, it was a "static condition." Id. at 501. It is uncontroverted that upon entering the restaurant appellant had crossed the same area in which she fell while leaving. Thus, appellant cannot show appellee's superior knowledge, which is necessary in order for her to recover. See id. at 500501. "When a person has successfully negotiated an alleged dangerous condition on a previous occasion, that person is presumed to have knowledge of it and cannot recover for a subsequent injury resulting therefrom. In the case sub judice, appellant has failed to demonstrate such a causal relationship. The record shows that neither appellant nor her husband had any idea what caused appellant to fall. CONCLUSION The reason plaintiff's feet slipped is not material to her claim. The causation question which remains is, given that plaintiff's feet slipped due to some unknown reason, would plaintiff have fallen and sustained her injuries if the required handrail had been present. Defendant has presented no evidence on this issue and even if it had such would be controverted by plaintiff's opinion testimony that she would not have fallen if there had been a handrail. It follows that since neither the causation element nor any element of plaintiff's claim has been negated by uncontroverted evidence, summary judgment should not have been granted in favor of defendant. Judgment affirmed. 2
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