Court Grants Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, Relying in Part on Plaintiff’s Conflicting Testimony

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.

The plaintiff testified that there had been other times when water had leaked into the building, usually due to a gutter overflow during heavy rainstorms. In a pre-trial interrogatory, the plaintiff indicated that it was raining on the day of her accident, and it had rained the day before the accident as well. However, at a later date, the plaintiff testified that it was not raining on the day of her accident, but it looked like it could rain.

The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff had greater knowledge of the hazard than the defendant, and thus she was in a better place to guard against it. In support of his claim, the defendant pointed to the plaintiff’s own testimony indicating that she knew a puddle occasionally formed during rainstorms and that it had rained on the day of the accident.

The court agreed with the defendant, finding that the plaintiff’s testimony did indicate that she should have known that a puddle may be present on the day of her injury. The court explained that when it came to reconciling the plaintiff’s conflicting testimony, a court should resolve all conflicts against the person making the statements unless that party is able to give a good explanation as to why the contradiction occurred. Here, the court explained that there was no reason cited by the plaintiff for her conflicting testimony, so the lower court was acting within its discretion when it resolved the plaintiff’s conflicting testimony against her interests.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Georgia injury attorneys at McAleer Law have extensive experience helping victims and their families pursue the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties. To learn more, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation today.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Determines Steep Stairway Without Handrail May Constitute Hazard in Recent Premises Liability Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, December 4, 2017.

Georgia Appellate Court Clarifies When Accumulated Rainfall Constitutes a Hazard, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, June 27, 2017.