OCGA 51-3-1 Interpretation
In Robinson v. Kroger Co., 268 Ga. 735, 736-738 (493 SE2d 403) (1997), the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the fundamental basis for imposing liability for breach of the duty set forth in OCGA 51-3-1 is proof that the premises owner had superior knowledge of the hazard or defect on the premises which caused harm to the invitee.
Robinson also confirmed that, where the record shows that the premises owner had no actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard or defect which harmed the invitee, the premises owner is entitled to summary judgment because the invitee cannot establish that the premises owner had knowledge of the hazard or defect superior to that of the invitee. Id. at 737, 748-749.
The duty imposed under OCGA 51-3-1 does not make a premises owner an insurer of an invitee's safety, but requires the exercise of ordinary care to protect the invitee from unreasonable risks of harm of which the premises owner has superior knowledge. Id. at 740.
The premises owner is not required under OCGA 51-3-1 to warrant the safety of all persons from all things, but to exercise the diligence toward making the premises safe that a good business person is accustomed to use in such matters.
This includes inspecting the premises to discover possible dangerous conditions of which the premises owner does not have actual knowledge, and taking reasonable precautions to protect invitees from dangers foreseeable from the arrangement or use of the premises. Id. at 740.