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Scully v. Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 8, 2015

SCULLY
v.
THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF GEORGIA et al

Cert. applied for.

Premises liability. Clarke State Court. Before Judge Simpson.

Steven K. Leibel, Paul D. Menair, for appellant.

Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Robert L. Bunner, Senior Assistant Attorney General, for appellees.

MILLER, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Branch, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 231

Miller, Judge.

Following a night of drinking, David Clark Scully suffered serious injuries on the University of Georgia campus after he tripped on an irrigation pipe set in a landscaped area and fell into a window well. Scully sued the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (" the Board" ) for premises liability and negligent maintenance.[1] The trial court granted summary judgment to the Board, and Scully appeals. Scully contends,

Page 232

inter alia, that the trial court erred [332 Ga.App. 874] in finding that (1) he was a licensee and not an invitee, and (2) the Board met the standard of care due to licensees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

To prevail at summary judgment under OCGA § 9-11-56, 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.

(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Home Builders Assn. of Savannah, Inc. v. Chatham County, 276 Ga. 243, 245 (1) (577 S.E.2d 564) (2003). On appeal from a grant of a motion for summary judgment, we conduct a de novo review of the evidence. See id. While issues of negligence are not generally susceptible to summary adjudication, " [t]he trial court can conclude as a matter of law that the facts ... do not show negligence on the part of the defendant ... where the evidence is plain, palpable and undisputable." (Citation omitted.) Robinson v. Kroger Co., 268 Ga. 735, 739 (1) (493 S.E.2d 403) (1997).

Viewed in the light most favorable to Scully, the evidence shows that on Friday, October 2, 2009, Scully and five friends drove to Athens to visit Matthew Christopher. Christopher was a freshman attending the University of Georgia and living in Creswell Hall, a university dormitory.[2] Scully was an 18-year-old freshman at the Georgia Institute of Technology and this was his first visit to the University of Georgia campus.

Around 10:30 p.m., Scully and his friends arrived in Athens and went to Creswell Hall to drop off their things. There, Scully consumed rum shots. Scully then went to several fraternity parties before taking a taxi to downtown Athens and going to a few bars. Scully drank a couple of beers at the ...


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