Where a defense verdict in a GTLA bench trial was based largely on credibility, the verdict was affirmed on appeal.
In Ware v. Metro Water Services, a Division/Agency of Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, No. M2022-01114-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 30, 2023), plaintiff filed a GTLA case after she fell “due to an unsecure water meter valve cover” in her sister’s yard. During a bench trial, the evidence focused largely on the practice and habit of Metro employees in closing a water meter valve cover when they finished working on it. The evidence showed that the water meter plaintiff fell into had been serviced in July before plaintiff’s fall in September, and plaintiff asserted that said employee had been negligent by not properly recovering the meter.
The employee who performed that work in July testified that he had worked for Metro for over 19 years and typically worked on about 4,000 work orders per year. He testified that he always secured the cover before leaving a job, and that he always put his foot on the lid, stomped on it, and walked away by stepping on it. He testified that there was no doubt in his mind that he had secured the cover in question.