ATLANTA, Ga. – May 27, 2020 – Lloyd Bell of Bell Law Firm today confirms the entry of a default judgment for roughly $1.2M in premises liability case against the downtown Atlanta based ACP Peachtree Center and Metro Café Diner. The judgment arises from a lawsuit brought by Lisa Ruede after she incurred injuries when she slipped and fell on wet stairs at the diner in August of 2017. The fall resulted in injuries to her head, shoulder and elbow, that led to reconstructive surgery. The cause of the slippery stairs was determined to be a leaky pipe in the ceiling of the diner.  

Both defendants failed to answer the complaint. The trial court held them both in default and entered judgment. The defendants moved to vacate the judgment and the default. The trial court held that the defendants remained in default on the question of liability, but the court allowed a trial on damages. Following the trial on damages, the court entered judgment for approximately $1.2M. 

Evidence produced at the trial on damages indicated that the owner of the property was aware of pipe leaks but failed to repair the issue in a timely manner. The negligence was five-fold: active negligence by creating a slip hazard, allowing the hazard to remain, failing to inspect for a slip hazard, as well as failing to detect and correct a slip hazard.  

“This case was a clear example of negligence,” says Lloyd Bell, lead attorney for Ruede, who tried the case with co-counsel Bruce Berger of The Berger Law Firm. “Both the landlord and the restaurant/tenant had the information they needed to create a safe environment, but instead carelessly failed to keep the property safe for members of the public coming into the restaurant. It’s completely unacceptable that it takes an innocent person getting badly injured for the diner to adopt appropriate safety measures.” 

Gwinnett County Judge Ronda Colvin Leary reached the final judgement, considering the evidence of Ruede’s past medical expenses and extensive pain and suffering. “This verdict was well deserved and will provide Mrs. Ruede with the resources to maintain a sense of normalcy in her life. We hope other restaurant owners and managers will learn about this verdict and be mindful of the need to prioritize customer safety. The bottom line is customer safety is good for business,” notes Bell. 

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