Walter Champion Co. v. Dodson, 555 S.E.2d 519, 252 Ga. App. 62 (Ga. App., 2001)

Andrew Charles Matteson

Case Conclusion Date:October 17, 2001

Practice Area:Insurance

Outcome:Successful Appeal

Description:After an intentionally set fire destroyed the inventory and office furnishings of her business, Donna Dodson filed this action against several defendants, including Walter Champion, Jr., who was the owner of the warehouse in which she leased space, and one of the other two tenants of the building, Walter Champion Company (WCC). The case was tried to a jury, and the trial court granted a directed verdict to Champion on all claims and to WCC on all claims except Dodson's claim for negligent retention of an employee. The jury reached a verdict in Dodson's favor, awarding her damages of 60,000. Following the denial of WCC's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and Dodson's motion for new trial, WCC and Dodson appeal. WCC contends that the trial court erred in denying its motion for directed verdict on the negligent retention claim and that the trial court's charge on negligent retention was erroneous. Dodson cross-appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in granting a directed verdict to Champion on all claims and that sufficient evidence was presented to permit the jury to consider all of her allegations against WCC.