Berishvili v. Rustavi City Hall, et al.

Case no. bs-205-172-k-04
Download Judgment: English Georgian

Petitioner Berishvili requested reimbursement from defendants Rustavi City Hall and LLC “Cultural and Recreational Park” for medical expenses incurred by her son after he was injured in a city park.

Petitioner and her son went to the Cultural Recreation Park in Rustavi City. While at the park, a poisonous snake bit her son who required immediate medical attention. The defendants had been aware of the dangers posed by snakes in the park. Rustavi City Hall paid for the child’s operation and hospital stay, but the son did not fully recover. He continued to experience psychological trauma, and his family incurred heavy costs attempting to treat him. Petitioner believed her son needed treatment abroad to fully recover, which she was unable to afford.

Petitioner requested reimbursement from the Rustavi City Hall for these additional medical costs, but her application was refused by the Rustavi City Court. Petitioner appealed this refusal to the Appellate Chamber of the Circuit Court, who awarded her 3000 GEL.

The defendants appealed this judgment, arguing that as LLC “Cultural and Recreation Park” was a private entity it was inappropriate to hold the government responsible for public official’s negligence.

The Court held that Rustavi City Hall must pay 1200 GEL to the Petitioner, but that no other additional costs need be paid.

The Court first noted that the city did have an obligation to safeguard the environment, however it determined that the city had taken appropriate prophylactic measures to protect that public from snakes and therefore satisfied its constitutional duty to create healthy environment. The Court also found that, despite being fully owned by the local government,  LLC “Cultural and Recreational Parks” was a private entity and therefore any negligence in its failure to safeguard a safe environment could not be attributed to the city.

Finally, the Court held that the city was not responsible for the costs associated with the psychological harm because the relevant regulation did not demand strict liability. The city was also not responsible for injury caused by a wild animal.

“As envisioned by Article 37 of Constitution of Georgia a duty to care to create a healthy environment is confirmed by the report of the herpetologists, the affidavit given by V. Pickhelauri confirmed that appropriate prophylactic measures were conducted in the city; at the park area there is no Gyurza settlement, the snake, which poisoned the child, accidently appeared in the park area, neither the City Hall nor the Park Administration is guilty in the accident happened. ” Page 3.

“Coming from the aforementioned the Appellate Chamber’s opinion that the respondent’s, state institutions officials’, gross negligence conditioned the given result is unfounded, besides the Cultural and Recreational Park is not a state institution but a private structure – LLC, with 100% share owned by the Rustavi Local Government. So the opinion of the Appellate Chamber that the given result caused by the City Halls predominated or gross negligence act as envisioned by article 1005 of Civil Code is unfounded.” Page 3-4

“According to Article 6 of the Statute on Animals’ World the state, which in this case is the owner of wild animals, cannot be liable for a damage caused by an animal act in a free natural stance.” Page 4.

Petitioner Berishvili requested reimbursement from defendants Rustavi City Hall and LLC “Cultural and Recreational Park” for medical expenses incurred by her son after he was injured in a city park. The Petitioner and her son went to the Cultural Recreation Park in Rustavi City. While at the park, a poisonous snake bit her son who required immediate medical attention. The defendants had been aware of the dangers posed by snakes in the park. Rustavi City Hall paid for the child’s operation and hospital stay, but the son did not fully recover. He continued to experience psychological trauma, and his family incurred heavy costs attempting to treat him. The Petitioner believed her son needed treatment abroad to fully recover, which she was unable to afford. The Petitioner requested reimbursement from the Rustavi City Hall for these additional medical costs, but her application was refused by the Rustavi City Court. The Petitioner appealed this refusal to the Appellate Chamber of the Circuit Court, who awarded her 3000 GEL. The defendants appealed this judgment.
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