Worker’s Compensation- $782,000.00
Emma Johnson, Individually & as Administratrix of the Estate of George Gale Johnston
Trust Company Bank, Leggat McCall Properties Management, Inc.
Superior Court of North Fulton County
Civi Action file No. D-93594
Liability Facts: The Deceased, Mr. George Gale Johnson, Was working as an electrician at the Govern's Lake Office Park attempting to repair the malfunctioning parking lot lights. While attempting to repair the lighting problem, Mr Johnston traced the wiring from the parking lot into the building's elevator pit. Mr Johnston entered into the elevator and , although he thought he had disengaged the elevator, a tenant in the office building entered into the elevator, pushed the button causing the elevator to go up and counter weights to come down crushing and killing Mr. Johnston instantly upon impact.
A lawsuit was filed agiainst the owner of the building complex and the management company for the office complex under a premises liability throry. the owner and management company answered the lawsuit and filed a third party complaint for contribution against the tenant who pushed the elevator button, the tenant's employer whose office was located in the building, the construction company who built the building , the original electrical contraactor who located the wiring in the elevator pit, and the elevator company who installed and maintaned the elevator. The defendants moved for Summary Judgment on the independent contractor and exclusive remedy of worker's compensation defenses. Judge Isaac Jenrette of Fulton County Superior Court denied the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
Through extensive discovery depositions and from a review of both the electrical and elevator codes, the plaintiffs them filed a partial motion for the Summary Judgment on the issue of negligence per se regarding certain electrical and elevator code violations. Judge Jenrette granted the plaintiff's motion for partial Summary Judgment on the issue of negligence per se finding three (3) code violations as proven through the evidence by the plaintiffs. Georgia law states that the elevator permit holder is responsible for complianse with all applicable elevtrical and elevator code sections which make the management company and the building owners liable. The case settled shortly therafter prior to an Order on the plaintiff's Motion for Partia
Summary Judgment being entered by the court.
Special Comments: This was a worker's compensation case which at first glance appeared to preclude a personal injury claim under the exclusive remedy being worker's compensation defense.
Attorneys: Plaintiff: Robert A Falanga, lead counsel, and Jesse E. Barrow,III, co-counsel, Falanga & Chalker
Defendant: Wade K. Copeland and Brian Neary, counsel for Leggat McCall Properties Management, Inc. of Webb, Carlock, Copeland, Semler & Stir in Atlanta. Harold S. White, Jr., counsel for Trust Company Bank of Greene, Buckley, Jones and McQueen in Atlanta.