Law School Case Brief
Crankshaw v. Piedmont Driving Club, Inc - 115 Ga. App. 820, 156 S.E.2d 208 (1967)
If the damages are only the imaginary or possible result of the tortious act, or other and contingent circumstances preponderate largely in causing the injurious effect, such damages are too remote to be the basis of recovery against the wrongdoer. Ga. Code Ann. § 105-2008. Damages must flow from the legal and natural result of the act done. Ga. Code Ann. § 105-2009.
Plaintiff Elizabeth Crankshaw was injured in a slip-and-fall accident while on the premises where defendant Piedmont Driving Club, Inc. ("Piedmont") operated a restaurant. Crankshaw claimed that while she and two companions were eating at the restaurant, one companion became nauseated while eating shrimp served by Piedmont. Her companion went to the rest room, and Crankshaw followed her shortly thereafter to render aid and comfort. As Crankshaw entered the rest room, she slipped and fell on vomit on the floor that she did not see. Crankshaw broke her hip in the fall. Crankshaw filed a lawsuit against Piedmont in Georgia state court alleging that Piedmont was negligent in selling unwholesome, deleterious food and in failing to clean up the floor of the rest room or to warn Crankshaw of the condition of the floor. Piedmont filed general demurrer, which the trial court sustained. Crankshaw appealed.
Could Crankshaw recover damages based on the allegations that she broke her hip because Piedmont was negligent in selling deleterious food?
The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the action. The court observed that Crankshaw, in her appellate brief, properly abandoned the allegation of negligence due to Piedmont's failure to clean the floor because, under the facts alleged, it had no notice, actual or constructive, of the vomit's presence on the floor prior to the fall. The court also noted that damages resulting from a tort must flow from the legal and natural result of the act done. The court then held that the serving of unwholesome food, whether or not negligent, was too remote to be the proximate cause of Crankshaw's injury.
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