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Leavins v. Nayan Corp.

Court of Appeals of Georgia, First Division

February 1, 2018

LEAVINS
v.
NAYAN CORPORATION et al.

          BARNES, P. J., MCMILLIAN and MERCIER, JJ.

          Barnes, Presiding Judge.

         While a guest at a hotel, Marjary Dianne Leavins was injured when she slipped and fell as she was showering in a bathtub. Complaining about the condition of the bathtub, Leavins sued the hotel's owner and operator, Nayan Corporation and MSR Fitzgerald, LLC (collectively, "Hotel Defendants"). The Hotel Defendants procured summary judgment, and Leavins appeals. Because Leavins has demonstrated no error in that ruling, we affirm.

         Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." OCGA § 9-11-56 (c). "In our de novo review of the grant of a motion for summary judgment, we must view the evidence, and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmovant." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Cowart v. Widener, 287 Ga. 622, 624 (1) (a) (697 S.E.2d 779) (2010).

         So viewed, the record shows the following. At about 6:00 p.m. on July 28, 2013, sixty-five year old Leavins and her adult daughter, both residents of Panama City, Florida, arrived at the Quality Inn hotel located in Fitzgerald, Georgia. The daughter had pre-booked that hotel for their overnight lodging; the next day, they were planning to visit a family member nearby. Leavins was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, so during check-in, they asked the desk clerk to place Leavins in either a handicap accessible room or a room located on the first floor. Neither such room was available, and Leavins and her daughter accepted and retired to the adjacent rooms offered by the desk clerk. As the daughter explained, the rooms were "only two flights up, . . . and it was late, and I couldn't even fathom trying to find a motel in Fitzgerald, Georgia, in the evening the night before I had somewhere to be with my mother."

         The underlying "slip and fall" occurred the next morning. Leavins described in her deposition that when she stepped into the bathtub, no water was in the bathtub, and the bathtub appeared clean. As Leavins recounted, "I got in there and turned on the water, and then I got the soap and started to lather myself. And then, all of a sudden, my feet just went out from under me and . . . I went all the way down." Leavins crawled out of the bathtub, walked to her cellphone, and summoned her daughter. Her daughter appeared from the adjacent room, and helped Leavins complete her dressing. The pair checked out of their rooms, left the hotel, and visited their family member later that day.

         During her deposition, Leavins answered questions about why she had fallen:

Q: Why do you think you fell?
A: The tub was slippery.
Q: Do you know the industry standards for bathtub's slipperiness?
A: No.
. . .
Q: Did you take a look at the condition of the bathtub after ...

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