On June 5th, Georgia’s Supreme Court reinstated a $35 million verdict in a case involving a man who was beaten outside of a Six Flags amusement park and suffered permanent brain damage as a result 10 years ago. Ultimately, the Court found Six Flags liable for his injuries under the theory of premises liability because the park breached its duty to exercise ordinary care in keeping its premises safe for visitors.
The victim, Joshua Martin, was attacked in 2007 while waiting for a bus outside the park. Reportedly, Martin was followed by a gang which included off-duty Six Flags employees. Earlier that day, the same gang had threatened two families in the park, but were released back into the park after being reprimanded by Security. Later that night, as Martin was waiting for the bus and without provocation, they beat Martin severely, sending him into a coma for seven days. As a result, he suffered permanent and severe brain damage.
Original Trial and Appeal
In reinstating the verdict, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s decision to throw out the jury’s award and order a retrial reportedly due to an alleged error in the apportionment of damages. In 2013 during the trial, the jury awarded Martin #35 million, apportioning 92% of fault to Six Flags and 8% to the men convicted in the assault. When Six Flags appealed the decision, the Court of Appeals, although agreeing that Six Flags was at fault, ordered a new trial because the verdict form did not include two individuals that were allegedly also involved in the attack.
Supreme Court Decision
While the Supreme Court agreed that the jury was authorized to find Six Flags liable for breaching its duty to exercise ordinary care in keeping its premises safe for invitees, it relied on different reasoning than that of the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court dictated that because the attack that caused Martin’s injuries began while he and the assailants were on Six Flags’ property, the park’s liability could not be extinguished simply because Martin, in an attempt to distance himself from his attackers, technically stepped outside the park’s property boundaries.
Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys
Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe for guests, customers, clients, employees, and other visitors. If you are injured while on property that belongs to someone else, the property owner can be held responsible if the accident was caused by his or her own negligence.
If you or a loved one has been injured, you can seek compensation for hospital bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation to find out how we can help; we serve New Orleans and surrounding areas in Louisiana.