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Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 12:45pm

Alligator Case Headed To Supreme Court

The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case testing the extent to which property owners are responsible for animal attacks.

The justices will hear from lawyers representing the heirs of a woman eaten by alligator.

Eighty-three year-old Gwyneth Williams died in 2007 at The Landings, a large residential community surrounded by Savannah's marshes.

Georgia law generally protects property owners from lawsuits stemming from incidents caused by wild animals.

But Williams' heirs' attorney, Michael Connor, says, the Landings' owners are responsible for her death because there's nothing "wild" about the property.

"It is a very contrived environment," Connor says. "There are 160 lagoons on the development. And all of those lagoons are man made."

Connor says, The Landings stocked the lagoons with fish, which fed the alligators, and connected the waterways to create an "alligator superhighway."

"They actually created an environment to attract and harbor the alligators," Connor says. "They knew the alligators were dangerous. They had prior reports of problems."

The development's lawyers couldn't be reached.

But in their court filings, they argue that a ruling against them would place an undue burden on landowners.

They say, the plaintiffs are trying to overturn established law by putting them on the hook for acts beyond their control.

The Supreme Court hasn't set a date for a hearing.