(CN) - A security guard who shielded a shopper from bullets cannot prevail in his premises liability case against the mall where he worked, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled.
Michael Juniel was working as a public safety officer at Atlanta's Greenbrier Mall in March 2007 when masked gunmen robbed a jewelry store.
One of the robbers aimed his gun at a mall patron. Juniel stepped in front of the shopper, and the gunman shot Juniel and the shopper as well.
The men shot another security guard inside the store, smashed the counter, grabbed some jewelry and fled the mall.
Juniel sued the mall for premises liability, but the trial court dismissed the case, citing the hazards of Juniel's job.
"Recovery is precluded because the risk (Juniel) encountered is one inherent in his job as a uniformed public safety officer," the court ruled.
Juniel passed away in 2011, but his estate brought the case before the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Judge McFadden wrote on behalf of the court's three-judge panel that the lower court correctly dismissed Juniel's case.
"Juniel fully appreciated the danger involved, yet deliberately chose the obviously perilous course of conduct of putting himself in the armed robber's line of fire," McFadden wrote.
The judge noted that Juniel testified that one year before the shooting, a shoplifting suspect had sliced his hand with a pair of scissors.
"Thus, Juniel was fully aware of the dangers associated with his security work and assumed the risk of injury that he suffered," the judge wrote.
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