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.
The plaintiff took pictures of the tub after his fall, which showed that the tub had several dark streaks running length-wise. The hotel presented several witnesses that testified the dark streaks were anti-slip strips, and that the strips do not wear out. The hotel acknowledged that the rooms were under renovation, but explained that the renovations were cosmetic, and had nothing to do with safety.
The plaintiff argued that the hotel’s failure to ensure that the tub had adequate anti-slip protection was a violation of industry standards. The hotel filed a motion for summary judgment, which the lower court granted on the basis that the tub was not a hazard that presented an unreasonable risk of harm. In granting the motion, the court relied on the fact that the hotel established that tub had originally been equipped with anti-slip strips, and that the strips did not wear out over time. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision. The court explained that the lower court’s decision was improperly focused on whether the anti-slip strips wore out over time — an issue on which the plaintiff presented no evidence. However, the court explained that the evidence presented disputed whether there were any anti-slip strips in the first place. On this issue, the court explained, the plaintiff presented evidence calling into question the hotel’s evidence. Specifically, the court pointed to the plaintiff’s testimony that the tub did not have anti-slip strips as well as his wife’s testimony regarding her conversation with the hotel manager. Thus, the court explained that the plaintiff raised a material issue of fact which must be resolved by a jury.
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. At the Georgia personal injury law firm of McAleer Law, we represent injury victims in premises liability cases across Georgia. We also handle other Georgia personal injury cases, including car accident cases, medical malpractice claims, and wrongful death lawsuits. To schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Georgia injury lawyers, call 404-622-5337 today.