A business owner has a duty under Georgia law to exercise “ordinary care” in maintaining a safe premises for customers. This does not mean a business owner is liable for any and all safety hazards on the premises. Rather, it means an owner who has “superior knowledge” of a hazard and fails to act may be held responsible if that hazard injures a customer.
In cases where the owner and customer have equal knowledge of a hazard—or are presumed by law to have equal knowledge—the owner is not liable. This question often comes up in “slip-and-fall” cases when owners and customers disagree as to whether the owner had superior or equal knowledge. A recent decision by a federal appeals court illustrates how judges deal with these questions.