KIDS R KIDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
COPE et al
Negligence. Gwinnett State Court. Before Judge Doran.
Freeman Mathis & Gary, Theodore Freeman, D. Jeffrey Grate, Michael J. Eshman, for appellant.
Cope Law Firm, Veronica H. Cope, pro se.
DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller and Dillard, JJ., concur.
Doyle, Presiding Judge.
This interlocutory appeal arises from a personal injury claim filed by Veronica Higgs Cope, as guardian and next friend of her minor child, after he sustained injuries to his face at a daycare center owned by Gonzales Foods, Inc., and franchised by Kids R Kids International, Inc. (" KRK" ). The trial court denied summary judgment to KRK, and this appeal followed. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.
We review de novo a summary judgment ruling.
To prevail at summary judgment, the moving party must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the undisputed facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, warrant judgment as a matter of law. A defendant may do this by showing the court that the documents, 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. If there is no evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue as to any essential element of plaintiff's claim, that claim tumbles like a house of cards. All of the other disputes of fact are rendered immaterial. If the moving party [330 Ga.App. 892] discharges this burden, the nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but rather must point to specific evidence giving rise to a triable issue.
Construed in favor of Cope, the material facts relevant to this appeal show that her three-year-old son sustained injuries to his face when he collided with a metal gate in the play area at school. Cope filed a negligence action against Gonzales and KRK, alleging that the defendants failed to: (1) properly monitor and observe her son; (2) exercise reasonable care in providing services to her son; (3) properly secure the classroom; (4) properly inspect its facility; (5) keep the premises safe; and (6) protect her son from an unreasonable risk of harm of which they knew or should have known.
KRK moved for summary judgment on Cope's negligence claims, arguing that as a franchisor, it did not own, operate, have any involvement in the day-to-day operations of the daycare center, nor have any financial interest in the facility. The trial court denied the motion, summarily concluding that " there are genuine issues of fact," and certified its order for immediate review. KRK appeals, following our grant of its interlocutory application.
KRK argues that the trial court erred by denying its motion for summary judgment because KRK was not vicariously liable for its franchisee's alleged negligence. We agree.
In order to impose liability on the franchisor for the obligations of the franchisee, it must be shown that: (a) the franchisor has by some act or conduct obligated itself to pay the debts of the franchisee; or ...