Verdict - Summer 2017 - 25

60.200

speculation. Moreover, in numerous

Torts: Proximate Cause; Definition

cases, we have "reiterated the prin-

Proximate cause means that cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence,
produces an event, and without which cause such event would not have occurred. In
order to be a proximate cause, the act or omission complained of must be such that
a person using ordinary care would have foreseen that the event, or some similar
event, might reasonably result therefrom. There may be more than one proximate
cause of an event, but if an act or omission of any person not a party to the suit was
the sole proximate cause of an occurrence, then no act or omission of any party
could have been a proximate cause.
When I use the expression "proximate cause," I mean a cause that, in the natural
or ordinary course of events, produced the plaintiff's injury. [It need not be the only
cause, nor the last or nearest cause. It is sufficient if it combines with another cause
resulting in the injury.] (Use the bracketed part if there is evidence of a concurring
of contributing cause to the injury or death.) Illinois v. Wilson, 935 NE2d 587 (2010)
O.C.G.A. $$51-12-3, 51-12-8, 51-12-9
Torts

ciple that questions of negligence and
causation, except in plain, palpable, and
indisputable cases, are solely for jury
determination. And the foregoing evidence simply renders this case not within
the "indisputable" category. 5
The practical application of these principles again requires the trial attorney to
dauntlessly conduct discovery in a manner
that seeks every shred of evidence to support
every element of the claim.
COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE
The question of comparative negligence turns
on the concept of ordinary care, which the

Updated January 2017

5

Georgia Supreme Court addressed in the context of a criminal attack case in Lau's Corp.,
Inc. v. Haskins in 1991 and the Georgia Court

jury and the legal concerns of the courts most

is too "speculative" to prove causation,

of Appeals applied to a better set of facts in

often come to an unpredictable head on the

as Martin presented no expert testi-

Jackson v. Post Prop, Inc. in 1999:

related issues of foreseeability, comparative

mony on security-gang issues. But Six

"Exactly what constitutes 'ordinary

negligence, and apportionment.

Flags provides no legal authority even

care' varies with the circumstances

remotely suggesting that a plaintiff

and the magnitude of the danger to be

FORESEEABILITY

cannot show causation in a premises-

guarded against. Since it is impossible

"[T]he landowner's duty 'extends only to

liability case without expert testimony. 4

to prescribe definite rules in advance

foreseeable criminal attacks.'"3 Establishing

Rather, the causal link between the duty

for every combination of circumstances

foreseeability sufficient to convince the trial

arising from foreseeability in criminal attack

which may arise, the details of the stan-

judge, jury, and appellate courts will turn upon

premises liability cases begins and ends with

dard must be filled in each particular

the facts. The task before the trial lawyer is to

the facts, as the Court of Appeals concluded

case. But, to be negligent, the conduct

draw out all the facts pertinent to the case in

in Six Flags:

must be unreasonable in light of the rec-

discovery and then carefully point the courts

Here there was evidence that Six Flags

ognizable risk of harm." Whether a party

to the proper application of law to those facts.

ignored Officer Herman's advice to

has failed to exercise ordinary care may

Fundamentality, the issue of foreseeability

provide security near the CCT bus stop

be decided by the court only in cases in

is a question of duty, however, the age-old

during all operating hours. In addition,

which "undisputable, plain and palpable

cry of "too speculative!" is often raised in

the same gang members, including at

facts exist on which reasonable minds

the foreseeability context. Further, recent

least one Six Flags employee, threatened

could not differ as to the conclusion to

defense efforts have been focused on requir-

and terrorized two families earlier on the

be reached."6

ing that a security expert must establish the

same day when they violently attacked

In Jackson, the Court of Appeals found

causal link between the duty arising from the

Martin, and although Six Flags was

that the plaintiff and defendant were equally

foreseeable harm, and ultimately the causa-

aware of the incident, it refused to eject

aware of the risk of third-party criminal

tion of the plaintiff's injuries. Under Georgia

them from the park. And as discussed

attack. Specifically, the court noted the

law, the suggestion that a security expert is

supra, Six Flags was keenly aware of

plaintiff had previously been the victim of

required in premises liability cases is simply

the serious gang problem and criminal

an unsolved burglary and had knowledge

a red herring:

activity that occurred in and around its

of another tenant being raped in a ground

Six Flags also argues that Martin's

premises. Further, there appears to be

floor apartment.

"theory of causation" is too speculative.

no evidence of any efforts that Six Flags

Despite these facts, the Court of Appeals

Specifically, Six Flags contends that

made to address these pressing issues.

sorted carefully through the record to deter-

Martin's "laundry list" of the missed

The foregoing evidence of causation,

mine "whether the plaintiff could have taken

security measures resulting in his attack

then, is specific and does not require

any action in the exercise of ordinary care to
Summer 2017 25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2017

President’s Message
Don’t Stop Fighting: Overcoming Obstacles Leads to Record Verdict in Camden County
Amazing Things Happen When Women Get Involved!
AAJ Addresses Top Concerns with Congress
Pro Bono Representation: A Bond Forged between a Naval Officer and Trial Lawyer
3 Tips for Defeating Daubert Motions
Common Issues to Stay on Guard in Cases Involving Tortious Security Officers
The Confusing Question of Causation in Criminal Attack Premises Liability Cases
Technology: Notetaking for the Digital Lawyer
New Lawyers’ Corner: 6 Questions for Verdict
Pope Langdale: Community Investments for a Cause
Case Updates: Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959
Workers’ Comp: Standard of Review — “Any Evidence” Rule
Thank You, Civil Justice PAC Contributors!
GTLA Champion Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Intro
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover1
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover2
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 3
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 4
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 5
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 6
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 7
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 8
Verdict - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Don’t Stop Fighting: Overcoming Obstacles Leads to Record Verdict in Camden County
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 11
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Amazing Things Happen When Women Get Involved!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - AAJ Addresses Top Concerns with Congress
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Pro Bono Representation: A Bond Forged between a Naval Officer and Trial Lawyer
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 15
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 3 Tips for Defeating Daubert Motions
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 17
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Common Issues to Stay on Guard in Cases Involving Tortious Security Officers
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 19
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 20
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 21
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 22
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 23
Verdict - Summer 2017 - The Confusing Question of Causation in Criminal Attack Premises Liability Cases
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 25
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 26
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 27
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Technology: Notetaking for the Digital Lawyer
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 29
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 30
Verdict - Summer 2017 - New Lawyers’ Corner: 6 Questions for Verdict
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 32
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 33
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Pope Langdale: Community Investments for a Cause
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 35
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Case Updates: Federal Employees Health Benefits Act of 1959
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 37
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Workers’ Comp: Standard of Review — “Any Evidence” Rule
Verdict - Summer 2017 - 39
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Thank You, Civil Justice PAC Contributors!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Welcome New GTLA Members!
Verdict - Summer 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover3
Verdict - Summer 2017 - cover4
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