Premises Liability Issues Case Example: Gwinnett Hotel Crime Victim

Analysis of Potential Premises Liability under Georgia Law

Crime victim abducted at Gwinnett hotel

This blog post by Georgia personal injury and wrongful death trial lawyer Richard Armond of the The Armond Firm, LLC, focuses on premises liability lawsuits by crime victims against hotels. Today in Gwinnett County an apparent crime victim was allegedly kidnapped at a hotel. Richard Armond has a unique skill set at handling these types of cases based on his many years of experience as a senior assistant district attorney for Gwinnett County. While this post discusses premises liability and negligent security issues, please keep in mind that the news story linked in this story is being used merely as an example for some of the issues involved in these cases. Nothing in this blog post is intended to represent in any way that the hotel in this case was negligent or liable in any way. Cases such as these require a full investigation before a lawsuit can be brought.

According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, a woman was abducted at gunpoint from a Gwinnett County hotel today in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. According to the report the Gwinnett County Police Department believes this case is a legitimate kidnapping case. Two victims, a man and a woman, were in a room at the hotel when a gunman came to the door, robbed the man, abducted the woman, and fled in the male victim's car.

Georgia's Premises Liability Statute for Hotel Customers

The applicable Georgia statute for hotel and motel customers, tenants, and guests is O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 which states:

Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.

At issue in any Georgia premises liability case where the victim of a sexual assault, physical assault, battery, or other forcible crime involving physical or emotional injuries will be the hotel's level of care in keeping the hotel grounds safe.

What factors affect whether ordinary care has been met?

A Georgia personal injury attorney will be particularly interested in whether a hotel has a history of similar incidents on its property when a crime like this Gwinnett County hotel abduction occurs. To investigate an attorney will likely need to to file an open records act request with the local police jurisdiction to see what crimes have occurred at the hotel in recent years. Later, in the discovery process, the attorney will demand all incident reports maintained by the hotel, as well as serve interrogatories and/or depose hotel employees about crime on the property. Further, a private investigator may be utilized to interview persons who may have information about the property. Additionally, an expert witness in the hotel industry may be needed to demonstrate ordinary care.

Won't the defense just argue that the crime perpetrator is responsible?

Yes, that is part of the job of a civil defense attorney. However, Georgia law has protections for hotel guests through premises liability laws. Many crimes are completely preventable, so long as hotel operators do not turn a blind eye towards crime problems on their premises. Ordinary care is owed to hotel guests and if ordinary care in a particular area involves things like an on-duty security guard, adequate lighting of parking lots, breezeways, and halls, security cameras, parking passes for guests' vehicles, restricted access at certain hours, and other ordinary precautions used by hotels, then the law puts responsibility also on the hotel owner and/or operator. 

O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 is also another tool of civil defense attorneys. This Georgia statute provides for damages to be apportioned in accordance with the fault of parties and non-parties. So, for example, if a jury finds a hotel 20% at fault and the crime perpetrator 80% at fault, a $100,000 jury verdict would mean the hotel would only be responsible for 20% or $20,000. Often the crime perpetrators do not have assets from which to collect a judgment.

Crime Victims Have Rights

Crime victims in Georgia have rights, both as victims in the criminal justice system, as well as civilly. If you or a loved one have been injured in a crime that occurred on the premises of a hotel or any other business, please contact personal injury attorney Richard Armond. He has the unique skill set of years of experience prosecuting these cases. Based in Gwinnett County, he takes cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or loss in on the premises of a hotel or any other business contact Gwinnett County based injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Alleged Hotel Assault in Atlanta a Potential Premises Liability Case

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

According to a report today by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a major downtown Atlanta hotel known for business convention lodging was the scene of an alleged Robbery and Assault of a businessman from Houston, Texas. The man had a necklace and watch taken during the attack which was perpetrated by two attackers working together. According to the hotel, security is on scene 24 hours a day, but they were nowhere to be found during this attack. The attack occurred in front of the hotel and spilled into the lobby and was caught on video.

Georgia law allows for holding hotel operators liable for damages suffered by victims on their premises. O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 provides “where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” The attack described above is a potential premises liability case for the victim. Allegedly, the hotel admitted having 24-hour security, but they were nowhere to be found during the attack even though it appears to have occurred at the main entrance. Any prior instances of events such as this will be a factor in the exercise of ordinary care, as well as what other similar hotels in the area do to keep guests safe.

Please be aware that when traveling for business or pleasure, while we expect hotels to be safe places to stay they are many times targeted by criminals. Hotels have a duty under O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1  to keep their premises safe for guests. Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings when entering and exiting hotels and when going to your room. If there is any suspicious activity report it to the police and hotel security. 

Click here for a link to the AJC story that is active as of 10/26/2017.              

If you or a loved one have been assaulted on the premises of a hotel in Georgia, contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

 

Premises liability actions against hotel operators by crime victims.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. Based in Gwinnett County, he handles serious injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Call him for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

In and around Atlanta, Georgia, we hear all too often of guests at hotels and motels who are injured as victims of violent crimes that occur on the premises of the hotel. Georgia law allows for holding hotel operators liable for damages suffered by victims on their premises. O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1 provides “where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Hotel owners and operators are either owners or occupiers of the land they operate their businesses on and owe their guests ordinary care in keeping the hotels safe.

Many hotels have a history of guests being the victims of violent physical and sexual assaults and do not take measures that amount to ordinary care in keeping their guests safe. Victims of these crimes deserve justice not only through the criminal justice system, but civilly as well. There is good reason why the laws of Georgia protect them in both the criminal and civil sides of the law. Physical and emotional injuries can have a great impact on crime victims and can be costly as medical and counseling bills add up. People are usually on business or vacation when using a hotel and simply expect it to be a clean, safe place to rest their heads at night. Hotel operators who turn a blind eye to safety issues can and should be held responsible to their guests.

No one should be a victim of a shooting, physical assault, sexual assault, or any other type of criminal injury at a hotel that has ignored these issues in the past. Attorney Richard Armond, as a Managing Assistant District Attorney in the Gwinnett District Attorney’s Office, prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of these types of crimes on behalf of victims for years. In his own firm, he now provides that experience to victims of these crimes to recover just compensation in premises liability actions.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as a result of a crime or other incident at a hotel or motel in Georgia and you would like to speak with an attorney contact Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.

The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.