Warner Fox and Shane Keith Win Directed Verdict in Premises Liability Case

September 21, 2011
Gwinnett County, Georgia

Warner Fox and Shane Keith obtained a directed verdict on behalf of HPTY's client, Marriott International, in a hotly-contested negligent hiring and premises liability claim.  The premises liability claim was based on the assertion that Marriott did not keep its premises safe for its customers.

This case was tried for almost two weeks in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  After six days of trial and two days of jury selection, Judge Michael Clark of the Gwinnett Superior Court granted Marriott’s motions for directed verdict and dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims against Marriott. The case involved an alleged battery and sexual assault of a massage patron by a massage therapist, who was an employee of Marriott. Plaintiff alleged that Marriott was negligent in its hiring of the massage therapist and that Marriott’s hiring practices were incomplete. Ultimately, Judge Clark agreed that there was nothing in the background of the massage therapist which would have or should have alerted Marriott that he had a propensity to commit a sexual assault or a battery on massage patrons. In fact, the only thing in the massage therapist’s past was a plea to a drunk-in-public charge a few months before he was hired. Judge Clark held that there is nothing about a drunk-in-public plea that would or should have alerted Marriott that the massage therapist was likely to sexually assault her.  

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