Under the "open and obvious rule," a plaintiff is barred from recovery on theories of negligence or strict liability for injuries resulting from such obvious or patent perils.
Plaintiff, a minor child, burned herself while playing with one of defendant's lighters. Plaintiff, through her parents, sued defendant under the theory that defendant had a duty to manufacture a childproof lighter. Defendant moved for summary judgment on this issue, claiming that under Georgia tort law, it should not be held liable to the plaintiff for harm stemming from an "open and obvious" danger.
Whether the defendant owed plaintiff a duty to manufacture a childproof lighter?
No, defendant did not owe plaintiff a duty to manufacture a childproof lighter.
In granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment, the Court found that if the lighter itself was not otherwise "defective," the plaintiff could not recover for injuries merely because the lighter worked the way it was supposed to. The Court further determined that Georgia adhered to the open and obvious rule, which barred a plaintiff's recovery for injuries resulting from such obvious or patent perils. The Court held that the fact that the lighter would create a flame was open and obvious. Further, that such a lighter, even when free of any other alleged defects, could be dangerous when used by children was also open and obvious.