Westbrook v. M & M Supermarkets, Inc.

Decision Date12 March 1992
Docket NumberNo. A91A2005,A91A2005
Citation416 S.E.2d 857,203 Ga.App. 345
PartiesWESTBROOK, et al. v. M & M SUPERMARKETS, INC., et al.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Hallman & Associates, Ronald W. Hallman, D. Jay Stewart, Claxton, and Sutton

& Slocumb, Berrien L. Sutton, Homerville, for appellants.

Bouhan, Williams & Levy, Wilbur D. Owens III, Frank W. Seiler, Savannah, and Fendig, McLemore, Taylor & Whitworth, Charles G. Spalding, and Philip R. Taylor, Brunswick, for appellees.

COOPER, Judge.

Appellants brought this action for negligence and loss of consortium against appellees for injuries suffered by appellant Fred Westbrook ("Mr. Westbrook") when he slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk in front of a store operated by a supermarket. The supermarket leased the premises from the owner. The trial court granted summary judgment to appellees, the supermarket operator and the owner of the store and the appellants appeal, contending that appellees were not entitled to summary judgment because genuine issues of fact remain for trial.

Mr. Westbrook testified in his deposition that on the day of the accident he had been at home most of the day because of the snow and ice which had accumulated on the ground and roads due to an earlier snowfall. Later in the day Mr. Westbrook left his house with his wife and daughter to go shopping. Prior to arriving at appellees' store, Mr. Westbrook had visited two other stores, where he noticed ice and snow on the sidewalks. As Mr. Westbrook was approaching appellees' store to go inside, he noticed ice and snow in the parking lot and also on the sidewalk in front of the store. Mr. Westbrook testified that as he walked from his car to the entrance of the store, he was being careful so that he would not fall. He stated that he appreciated the danger of icy sidewalks as he had previously witnessed persons fall on ice. Mr. Westbrook was able to enter the store and do his shopping; however, when he was leaving the store with his groceries, he slipped and fell on the icy sidewalk.

1. Appellants first argue that a question of fact exists as to whether Mr. Westbrook had knowledge of the ice and snow which had accumulated on the sidewalk in front of appellees' store. " ' "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 in original.] [Cit.]' [Cit.]" Harris v. Star Svc., etc., Co., 170 Ga.App. 816, 817, 318 S.E.2d 239 (1984). It is apparent from the deposition testimony of Mr. Westbrook that there is no genuine issue of fact regarding his knowledge of the icy condition of the sidewalk. He saw the ice in the parking lot and on the sidewalk as he carefully maneuvered his way from his car, across the icy sidewalk and into the store. Thus, contrary to appellants' contentions, Mr. Westbrook's knowledge was comprised of more than just his general knowledge of the severe weather conditions. "[He] was [also] aware of the specific condition [of the sidewalk] and of its dangerousness." Favour v. Food Lion, 193 Ga.App. 750, 751, 389 S.E.2d 22 (1989). Appellants' reliance on Phelps v. Consolidated Equities Corp., 133 Ga.App. 189, 210 S.E.2d 337 (1974) and Telligman v. Monumental Properties, 161 Ga.App. 13, 288 S.E.2d 846 (1982)...

To continue reading

Request your trial
16 cases
  • Ballard v. Southern Regional Medical Center, Inc.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • January 19, 1995
    ...known to the person injured that a recovery is permitted.' (Emphasis in original.) (Cit.)" (Cit.)' [Cit.]" Westbrook v. M & M Supermarkets, 203 Ga.App. 345(1), 416 S.E.2d 857 (1992). See Alterman Foods v. Ligon, 246 Ga. 620, 622, 272 S.E.2d 327 (1980); Sarantis v. Kroger Co., 201 Ga.App. 55......
  • Wallace v. Nissan of Union City, Inc.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • November 3, 1999
    ...observed snow on defendant's pavement); Fisher v. HBS Mgmt., 220 Ga. App. 752-753, 469 S.E.2d 885 (1996); Westbrook v. M & M Supermarkets, 203 Ga.App. 345-346(1), 416 S.E.2d 857 (1992). 2. Wallace also contends that the trial court failed to consider and properly apply the distraction doctr......
  • Moore v. Kroger Co.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • May 23, 1996
    ...440 S.E.2d 545 (1994); Howell v. Three Rivers Security, Inc., 216 Ga.App. 890, 891, 456 S.E.2d 278 (1995); Westbrook v. M & M Supermarkets, 203 Ga.App. 345(1), 416 S.E.2d 857 (1992). Because "slip and fall" cases are frequently very fact-specific and fact-intensive, it sometimes has been di......
  • Davidson v. Meticulously Clean Sweepers, LLC.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • November 14, 2014
    ...in tort, “independent of” the contract between Rivergate and MCS, in order to avoid summary judgment. Westbrook v. M & M Supermarkets, 203 Ga.App. 345, 346(2), 416 S.E.2d 857 (1992). Specifically, the Davidsons must show that MCS owed them a duty of ordinary care as to responsibilities unde......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Torts - Cynthia Trimboli Adams and Charles R. Adams Iii
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 47-1, September 1995
    • Invalid date
    ...7. Cook v. Home Depot, Inc., 214 Ga. App. 133, 134, 447 S.E.2d 35, 36 (1994) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Westbrook v. M&M Supermarkets, 203 Ga. App. 345, 345,416 S.E.2d 857, 858 (1992)). 8. See infra notes 47-66 and accompanying text. 9. 246 Ga. 620, 272 S.E.2d 327 (1980). 10. See Nelson v.......

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