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Swope v. Greenbriar Mall L.P.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

November 3, 2014

SWOPE
v.
GREENBRIAR MALL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP et al

Premises liability. Fulton State Court. Before Judge Eady.

Judgment affirmed.

Betts & Associates, David E. Betts, for appellant.

Cruser & Mitchell, William T. Mitchell, Sean Keenan, for appellees.

McFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 397

McFadden, Judge.

Michael Juniel filed a premises liability action for injuries sustained when he was shot during an armed robbery while working as a security guard at a mall. The trial court granted summary judgment to the mall ownership and management defendants on the ground of assumption of the risk. Matthew Swope, the administrator of Juniel's estate, appeals.[1] Because there exist no genuine issues of material fact, we affirm.

Page 398

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. OCGA § 9-11-56 (c). On appeal from the grant of a motion for summary judgment, we review the evidence de novo, and construe all reasonable conclusions and inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Jones v. Barrow, 304 Ga.App. 337 (696 S.E.2d 363) (2010).

So construed, the evidence shows that IPC International Corporation, an independent security contractor, hired Juniel to work as a " public safety officer" at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta. Juniel was responsible for providing public safety services at the mall, patrolling the property and deterring criminal activity. On March 31, 2007, Juniel arrived for work at 5:00 p.m., and was assigned by his supervisor to patrol a parking lot area of the mall. As Juniel walked [329 Ga.App. 461] through the mall to his assigned post, he saw several masked men near a jewelry store and approached them. One of them had a gun and aimed it toward a mall patron. Juniel intervened in the confrontation, covering the patron's body with his own in an attempt to shield him from the gunshots. Both Juniel and the patron suffered bullet wounds in the shooting. The masked men then entered the jewelry store, shot a security guard in the store, smashed the counter, stole jewelry, and fled from the mall.

Juniel filed a premises liability action against Greenbriar Mall (2006) Limited Partnership, Hendon Properties, LLC, Hendon Property Management, LLC and O'Leary Partners, Inc. (collectively the " Greenbriar Mall defendants" ), claiming that negligent management and patrol of the mall had proximately caused his injuries. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Greenbriar Mall defendants on the basis of assumption of the risk, concluding that " recovery is precluded because the risk [Juniel] encountered was one inherent in his job as a uniformed public safety officer." This appeal followed.

1. Assumption of the risk.

The Greenbriar Mall defendants assert that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment based on the doctrine of ...


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