Harris v. Star Service & Petroleum Co., 68161

Decision Date04 May 1984
Docket NumberNo. 68161,68161
Citation318 S.E.2d 239,170 Ga.App. 816
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

James A. Eichelberger, Gwendolyn R. Tyre, Atlanta, for appellants.

Wilbur C. Brooks, Stanley T. Snelling, for appellees.


This appeal arises from the trial court's grant of appellee/defendant's motion for summary judgment in this slip and fall case. Appellant Harris contends on appeal that the evidence created genuine issues of material fact concerning appellee's alleged liability for Harris' injuries.

The facts essential to this appeal are basically undisputed. The slip and fall under consideration occurred on January 14, 1982. At the time of the accident, the Atlanta area was in its third day of snowy and icy conditions created by the paralyzing snowfall that began on January 12, 1982. Appellee owned and operated a gasoline service station in southwest Atlanta. Appellant Harris, a cab driver who frequently purchased gasoline at appellee's service station, entered the service station lot and parked beside the full service pumps. According to Harris' testimony, the service station attendants were busy and he was told to pump his own gas. His deposition testimony of the occurrence reads in part as follows: "So I got out of the car. There was ice on the ground. Of course, I used caution getting out and pumping my own gas. After I had pumped the gas and made, I guess, two or three steps toward the office I was met by one of the attendants to collect for the gas. I paid him for the gas and turned around to go back to my automobile and slipped and fell. Q ... Was [there] ice generally all over or just in spots? A. All over the station.... It wasn't dark on that day.... So far as I can remember it [the service station] was all covered.... Q. When you got out of the car on the left side on the driver's side and walked back to the back to fill your pump (sic), was there ice under your feet then? A. Yeah.... Q. Do you recall ... having any problems as you were walking to meet [the attendant]? A. No sir. Q. Were you [walking] on ice during that time or snow? A. Snow--ice." Held:

" 'The mere ownership of land or buildings does not render one liable for injuries sustained by persons who have entered thereon or therein; the owner is not an insurer of such persons, even when he has invited them to enter. Nor is there any presumption of negligence on the part of an owner or occupier merely upon a showing that an injury has been sustained by one while rightfully on the premises. The true ground of liability is the proprietor's superior knowledge of the perilous instrumentality and the danger therefrom to persons going upon the property. It is when the perilous instrumentality is known to the owner or occupant and not known to the person injured that a recovery is permitted.' (Emphasis supplied).... 'An invitee who is as fully aware of the dangers and defects of the premises of the proprietor as is the proprietor himself, in coming on such premises assumes the risks thereon, and cannot recover from the defendant for injuries resulting by reason of such dangers and defects. [Emphasis supplied.] [Where] the evidence ... demands this finding, the trial court [does] not err in directing verdicts in favor of the defendant.' [Cit.]" Auerbach v. Padgett, 122 Ga.App. 79, 81, 176 S.E.2d 193. This general statement of law has been reaffirmed on numerous occasions by this court. See, e.g., Purvis v. Holiday Hills Property Owners Assn., 163 Ga.App. 387, 389, 294 S.E.2d 592; Telligman v. Monumental Properties, 161 Ga.App. 13, 14, 288 S.E.2d 846; McIntyre v. Corporate Property Investors, 160 Ga.App. 868, 869, 288 S.E.2d 584; Ramsey v. Mercer, 142 Ga.App. 827, 829, 237 S.E.2d 450; Hancock v. Abbitt Realty Co., 142 Ga.App. 739 (1), 236 S.E.2d 860; Jeffords v. Atlanta Presbytery, 140 Ga.App. 456, 457, 231 S.E.2d 355; Shuman v. Mashburn, 137 Ga.App. 231, 233, 223 S.E.2d 268. See also Gibson v. Consolidated Credit Corp., 110 Ga.App. 170, 173 (2), 138 S.E.2d 77.

As can be seen from the above quoted deposition testimony of appellant, there is no genuine issue concerning appellant's knowledge of the icy conditions giving rise to his fall. He not only knew that the station lot was covered with ice, he had pumped gasoline and walked some distance over the same terrain before he slipped. It is difficult to conceive of any case in which the plaintiff's knowledge of the alleged hazard is more clear and palpable.

Appellant contends that our holdings in Telligman, supra, and Phelps v. Consolidated Equities Corp., 133 Ga.App. 189, 210 S.E.2d 337, compel denial of appellee's motion for summary judgment. See also Hull v. Mass. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 142 Ga.App. 269, 270, 235 S.E.2d 601. To the...

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  • Davenport v. Cotton Hope Plantation
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
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    ...the risk of injury, the plaintiff's action is reasonable. See Jean W. Sexton, 67 Temp.L.Rev. 903. 5. Harris v. Star Service & Petroleum Co., 170 Ga.App. 816, 318 S.E.2d 239 (1984). 6. Singleton v. Wiley, 372 So.2d 272 7. Fritchley v. Love-Courson Drilling Co., 177 Neb. 455, 129 N.W.2d 515 (......
  • Piggly Wiggly Southern, Inc. v. Brown
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    ...376, 361 S.E.2d 538 (1987) (in which plaintiff was aware of the discernible object which caused the hazard); Harris v. Star Svc., etc., Co., 170 Ga.App. 816, 318 S.E.2d 239 (1984) (in which plaintiff knew he was traversing ice and snow accumulated on the premises of defendant gas station)."......
  • Oliver v. Complements, Ltd.
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    ...knowledge of the risk is clear and palpable." Soucy v. Alexander, 172 Ga.App. 501, 502, 323 S.E.2d 662; accord Harris v. Star Svc. etc. Co., 170 Ga.App. 816, 318 S.E.2d 239; Whirlpool Corp. v. Hurlbut, 166 Ga.App. 95(6), 303 S.E.2d 284; Georgia Power Co. v. Purser, 152 Ga.App. 181, 182, 262......
  • Jackson v. Camilla Trading Post, Inc.
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    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • July 14, 1995
    ...376 (361 SE2d 538) (1987) (in which plaintiff was aware of the discernible object which caused the hazard); Harris v. Star Svc., etc., Co., 170 Ga.App. 816 (318 SE2d 239) (1984) (in which plaintiff knew he was traversing ice and snow accumulated on the premises of defendant gas station). [A......
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  • Timber - Falling Tree Liability in Georgia
    • United States
    • State Bar of Georgia Georgia Bar Journal No. 10-2, October 2004
    • Invalid date
    ...517 S.E.2d at 816. 56. Id. at 94, 517 S.E.2d at 817-818. 57. Id. at 95, 517 S.E.2d at 818. 58. See, e.g., Harris v. Star Servs., Co., 170 Ga. App. 816, 318 S.E.2d 239 (1984); Amear v. Hall, 164 Ga. App. 163(2), 296 S.E.2d 611 (1982). 59. Id. 60. Id. 61. Harris, 170 Ga. App. at 817, 318 S.E.......

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