Beard v. Audio Visual Services, Inc., 580 S.E.2d 272 (Ga. APP. 2003).
Beard = Plaintiff
Audio Visual Services, Inc. = Defendant
CAUSE OF ACTION:
Beard was a guest at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel in College Park.
Owsley is an employee of Audio Visual Services, Inc. whose offices are located in the hotel building.
Beard was on the elevator going from her hotel floor down to the hotel lobby.
Beard was talking to another hotel guest on the elevator.
The elevator door opened and Beard walked out of the elevator colliding with Owsley.
Beard stated she was looking straight ahead as she exited the elevator.
Beard did not see Owsley coming.
Beard testified she had not completely cleared the elevator doors when she collided with Owsley.
Due to the collision, Beard fell to the floor sustaining multiple injuries.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the employee and the employer.
Did Owsley have a duty to move and walk in a reasonably prudent manner to
avoid injuring other pedestrians in the hotel?
Yes. Whether Owsley breached that duty is a question for the jury.
RULE OF LAW:
This case is governed by basic negligence principles. Ordinary diligence, under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-2, states that ordinary diligence is that degree of care, which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances. The absence of such diligence is ordinary negligence. What constitutes ordinary diligence is a question for the jury. Whether Owsley breached the duty or ordinary diligence is a question for the jury.
The jury could infer from Beard’s testimony that she collided with Owsley while looking straight ahead as she was exiting the elevator that Owsley was walking unreasonably close to the elevator doors and unreasonably fast, meaning that Owsley caused the collision.
Alternatively, the jury could decide that Beard was responsible for the collision as she did not look to her right or left while exiting the elevator.
Since the evidence supports either conclusion, summary judgment was not appropriate.