Court Finds Plaintiff’s “Mere Speculation” in Premises Liability Case Insufficient to Survive Summary Judgment Challenge

Last month, a Georgia appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s allegations of what caused her fall were sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defense. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff’s version of how her injuries were caused was “mere speculation” and did not create a triable issue of fact for the jury. Thus, the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case was affirmed.

Wet FloorThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured as she was entering a fast-food restaurant. According to the court’s opinion, the restaurant’s entrance had two sets of doors. Evidently, the plaintiff entered through the first set of doors without a problem, but then she was unable to open the second set of doors. The plaintiff shook the door, trying to open it, and then fell to the ground. The plaintiff was seriously injured as a result of the fall.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant’s manager, claiming that the manager’s negligent maintenance of the premises resulted in her fall. During her deposition, the plaintiff explained that after she fell, she noticed that the floor was damp. When asked if she remembered what caused her fall, she explained that “it happened so fast. . . I just remember pushing on the door, and the next thing I remember is just sitting there.”

The restaurant manager moved for dismissal on the basis that the plaintiff failed to point to any evidence that the manager’s negligence caused her fall. The trial court agreed and granted the manager’s motion for summary judgment.

On Appeal, the Lower Court’s Decision Is Affirmed

The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the restaurant manager. The court explained that, in order to survive a summary judgment challenge in a premises liability case, a plaintiff must be able to point to some evidence that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Here, the court noted, the plaintiff answered that she did not remember what caused her fall. Thus, any assertion that her fall was caused by the defendant’s negligence was “mere speculation,” which is an insufficient basis for liability. As a result, the court determined that the restaurant manager was entitled to summary judgment.

Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Slip-and-Fall?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Indiana slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Landowners and business owners in Georgia have a duty to maintain safe premises for their visitors, and a failure to do so may be the basis of a premises liability lawsuit. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have decades of collective experience helping injured clients seek the compensation they deserve. Call 888-765-7411 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.

Related Posts:

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Permits Premises Liability Plaintiff’s Claim for Punitive Damages, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, February 1, 2017

Court Determines that City May Be Liable for Accident Caused by Overgrown Stop Sign, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, January 24, 2017