If you have been the victim of an Atlanta parking lot not providing security,
you will be interested to read about several important Georgia rulings
about companies that are not providing security. I am a Georgia lawyer
who deals with Georgia premises liability issues, and I have been compiling
some of the key points in the law, and publishing them on my Georgia law
blog. Here are some additional points:
1. Employees should be trained to report inappropriate behavior by guests
on the property.
Millan v. Residence Inn by Marriott, 226 Ga. App. 826, 827 (Ga. Ct. App. 1997), the Millan family was staying
at the Residence Inn, and they sued owned by Marriott, Inc., and Marriott
Internatioal, Inc. The Millans alleged that their daughter Ashley was
a mentally disabled, and although she was 14 years old, had the mental
capacity of a first grader. The Millans alleged that another Mariott guest,
Roy Dowty, had attacked Ashley in the hotel pool, where he allegedly “rubbed
his hands over her breasts, buttocks, and between her legs.” Dowty
apparently had been staying at the hotel for several months, and the Millans
alleged that the hotel employees had had been notified earlier that Dowty
was engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviors with children and with
a middle-aged hotel employee.
In the Millan’s case against the Residence Inn by Marriott, a general
manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott had testified that when a Marriott
hotel employee was warned that the guest was touching children in appropriately,
she should have informed management of inappropriate behavior by hotel
guests. Additionally, a security consultant had testified that the employees
were “not adequately trained to report such behavior.” The
Georgia Court of Appeals concluded that the case should go to a jury,
who would decide whether the attack on the mentally disabled child was
foreseeable, and whether employees had been trained properly and had properly
responded to inappropriate behavior by Dowty, the hotel guest. The court
cited the general principle that: “Notice to the agent of any matter
connected with his agency shall be notice to the principal.” O.C.G.A.
2. A property owner should not allow a dangerous situation to fester on
In Georgia, a property owner has a duty to notice a dangerous situation,
and to take action to halt it. In
Atl. C. L. R. Co. v. Godard, 93 Ga. App. 671, 680-681 (Ga. Ct. App. 1956), the plaintiff was savagely
beaten in a railroad house in Madison, Georgia, in Morgan County, Georgia.
attacked on property owned by a railroad. The plaintiff alleged that the
railroad should be liable for the attack, because for quite some time,
the railroad had tolerated a dangerous environment on the property. A
jury agreed, and returned a verdict for the plaintiff who had been attacked.
The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s verdict, saying:
“The record is replete with evidence that hoboes frequented the
premises of the defendant railroad over a period of years, both day and
night. Hoboes as such are law violators (Code § 18-9912). This evidence,
coupled with other evidence in the record, is sufficient to support the
A Morgan County, Georgia lawyer handling lack of security cases in Madison,
Georgia, would understand the importance of this second decision, but
it applies to lawyers handling cases around Georgia, regardless of where
the attacks occur.