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October 25, 2021 – Partner Joseph Kaiser won Summary Judgment on behalf of his client in Fulton County is a case arising out of a swimming pool incident.
In this case, the Plaintiff alleged she was a houseguest of the Defendant and while as a houseguest, she suffered a fall into a half empty swimming pool that Defendant failed to maintain and was in disrepair.
Deposition Testimony revealed that the Plaintiff and her boyfriend had moved into the Defendant’s home after they were evicted from their prior apartment. The Plaintiff and her boyfriend asked if Defendant would open her pool so they might use it while staying there. Defendant, who was in her 80’s declined, indicating she had little use for the pool and that it was too much work. Plaintiff and her boyfriend then offered to do all of the work related to opening and maintaining the pool and Defendant consented. After removing the cover, opening the pool and filling it, Plaintiff noticed that the shallow end was not holding water, but that the deep end would hold water. Plaintiff asked Defendant to have the pool repaired and she declined asking them to just cover it back up. Plaintiff’s boyfriend then offered to attempt to repair the pool himself. After attempts to patch the liner, he was unable to get the shallow end to hold water. Plaintiff and her boyfriend then began to use the deep end as a shallow or wading pool.
Plaintiff testified that on July 14,2018, she went out to the pool in her bathing suit with the intention of getting in the pool and with full knowledge the pool was not filled with water. She alleged, however, that as she approached the edge of the pool she tripped on a bucket or basket containing pool chemicals, causing her to fall into the pool, where she landed on the sloped surface between the shallow and deep end and suffered significant injuries including a fractured leg which required surgical repair. She testified that she had traversed the area before and was aware of the location of the pool edge. She also testified that she and her boyfriend performed most of the pool maintenance. She did not know who places the alleged basket on the edge of the pool, however, she admitted she never looked down as she walked toward the pool.
Defendant moved for Summary Judgment contending that Plaintiff as a licensee or social guest and thus Defendant could only be responsible for wanton or willful conduct (of which there was no evidence). While Defendant argued that Plaintiff was not an invitee, Defendant also argued that Plaintiff’s status was largely irrelevant because Plaintiff had equal or superior knowledge of the conditions of the swimming pool and its surroundings.
Judge John Mather of the State Court of Fulton County granted Summary Judgment to Mr. Kaiser’s client indicating that there may be a question of fact as to the Plaintiff’s status as a licensee or invitee, however, the Plaintiff produced no evidence that the Defendant had superior knowledge of the purported hazard and thus Summary Judgment was proper.
The case is Selina Royalty v. Janet Brunton
State Court of Fulton County, CAFN: 20-EV-002314