Stewart v. Brown, A17A1142

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtMcFadden, Presiding Judge.
Citation343 Ga.App. 190,806 S.E.2d 640
Parties STEWART v. BROWN.
Docket NumberA17A1142
Decision Date17 October 2017

343 Ga.App. 190
806 S.E.2d 640

STEWART
v.
BROWN.

A17A1142

Court of Appeals of Georgia.

October 17, 2017


806 S.E.2d 641

Robert M. Beauchamp, for appellant. Young, Thagard, Hoffman, Smith, Lawrence & Shenton, J. Holder Smith, Jr., Leslie M. Kennerly, for appellee.

McFadden, Presiding Judge.

343 Ga.App. 190

This appeal challenges the grant of summary judgment to the defendant in a slip-and-fall case. Because there exist genuine issues of material fact about the defendant's knowledge of the hazard and the plaintiff's lack of such knowledge, we reverse the grant of summary judgment.

1. Facts and procedural posture.

"Summary judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Duff v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. System of Ga., 341 Ga.App. 458–459, 800 S.E.2d 640 (2017) (citation and punctuation omitted). A defendant moving for summary judgment may prevail "by showing

343 Ga.App. 191

the court that the documents,

806 S.E.2d 642

affidavits, depositions and other evidence in the record reveal that there is no evidence sufficient to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff's case." Season All Flower Shop v. Rorie, 323 Ga.App. 529–530, 746 S.E.2d 634 (2013) (citation and punctuation omitted). "A de novo standard of review applies to an appeal from a grant of summary judgment, and we view the evidence, and all reasonable conclusions and inferences drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the nonmovant." Smith v. Tenet HealthSystem Spalding, 327 Ga.App. 878, 761 S.E.2d 409 (2014) (citation omitted).

So viewed, the evidence shows that on July 11, 2015, Emma Stewart attended her mother's funeral at the Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Adel, Georgia. After the service, Stewart began to leave through the front door of the fellowship hall where she had previously entered. But church deacon Alvin Martin told Stewart not to use that door and instead directed her to go out a back door that exited through the church. Stewart followed Martin's directions and went through the back door, where she encountered two stairs leading down to a concrete floor. Stewart had never used the stairs before and as she stepped down she lost her balance, missed the second stair, and fell to the floor. Stewart suffered injuries in the fall, including a broken leg. At her deposition, Stewart testified that when she stepped on the first stair she noticed that the stairs were "so steep" and "so narrow" that she could not see the second stair. She also deposed that the stairs were uneven and that as she began to fall she looked for a handrail to steady herself, but there was nothing to hold onto beside the stairs.

Martin acknowledged at his deposition that prior to Stewart's fall he was aware that there was an area of the stairs that was uneven, which had caused him concern that someone might fall on the stairs. He testified that the lack of handrails, however, had not given him any concern. Martin further deposed that a few minutes before Stewart's fall, he learned that another woman had also fallen earlier that day.

Emanuel Brown is the pastor of, and does business as, Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church. At his deposition, Brown testified that before Stewart's fall there had been discussions in the church about installing a handrail to improve the safety of the stairs. Brown also deposed that he and Martin had discussed the possibility that the narrowness of the steps could have caused Stewart's fall because they were not wide enough for a foot to step on them. Brown conceded that the way in which the church maintained the steps could have been better.

343 Ga.App. 192

Stewart filed a complaint against Brown, doing business as the church, seeking damages...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 practice notes
  • Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Holder Constr. Grp., LLC, A21A1558
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • January 26, 2022
    ...to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff's case." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Stewart v. Brown , 343 Ga. App. 190, 190-191 (1), 806 S.E.2d 640 (2017). "We review a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence, and all reasonab......
  • Sanchez v. Carter, A17A1135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • October 17, 2017
    ...one cannot recover dependency benefits arising from a living arrangement that includes neither ceremonial nor common-law marriage." Id.806 S.E.2d 640Our Supreme Court's holding applies here, as Sanchez was living with the employee at the time of his death but was not married to him, either ......
  • Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Holder Constr. Grp., A21A1558
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • January 26, 2022
    ...to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff's case." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Stewart v. Brown, 343 Ga.App. 190, 190-191 (1) (806 S.E.2d 640) (2017). "We review a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence, and all reasonabl......
3 cases
  • Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Holder Constr. Grp., LLC, A21A1558
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • January 26, 2022
    ...to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff's case." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Stewart v. Brown , 343 Ga. App. 190, 190-191 (1), 806 S.E.2d 640 (2017). "We review a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence, and all reasonab......
  • Sanchez v. Carter, A17A1135
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • October 17, 2017
    ...one cannot recover dependency benefits arising from a living arrangement that includes neither ceremonial nor common-law marriage." Id.806 S.E.2d 640Our Supreme Court's holding applies here, as Sanchez was living with the employee at the time of his death but was not married to him, either ......
  • Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Holder Constr. Grp., A21A1558
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • January 26, 2022
    ...to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff's case." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Stewart v. Brown, 343 Ga.App. 190, 190-191 (1) (806 S.E.2d 640) (2017). "We review a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence, and all reasonabl......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT