Issues of negligence are usually determined by the jury. However, in some cases where the plaintiff’s case is especially weak, a defendant may petition the court to dismiss the case against them. This is usually the case when the plaintiff does not submit enough evidence to prove that a legal cause of action exists, even if the court assumes all the plaintiff’s evidence is true. Procedurally, this process is called “summary judgment.”
In a recent case by a Florida court of appeals, Weider v. King Cole Condominium Association, Inc., the court reversed a summary judgment motion granted by the trial court. The facts of the case are as follows: Weider was a resident in a condominium owned and operated by King Cole. At some point during her residency, she tripped over a “buckling” in the carpet in one of the condominiums’ common areas. The carpet had recently been cleaned and was still wet at the time of Weider’s accident. Apparently, the wet condition of the carpet made the buckling more pronounced.
As a result, Weider injured her arm, hand, and neck in the fall. According to court documents, Weider, as well as other tenants, had notified King Cole of the potentially dangerous situation, but King Cole had not gotten around to repairing it yet. She sued King Cole under the legal theory of negligence.
The Trial Court’s Dismissal of Weider’s Case
King Cole argued that Weider was negligent because she knew that the condition existed, but still used the area. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, explaining that the dangerous condition was “open, obvious and known to her” at the time of the accident and she was, therefore, prevented from recovering from King Cole.
The Court of Appeals Reverses, Allowing Weider’s Suit to Go Forward
The court of appeals disagreed with the trial court and reversed its decision. The court explained that the issue of Weider’s own negligence is properly a jury issue and not one that should be resolved at the summary judgment stage. The court explained that, even if she was negligent, it was a determination that was not for the trial judge to make. Specifically, the court held that “there remains a factual issue in this case as to whether, notwithstanding the obvious nature of the buckling, the Association could anticipate the continued traversing of the hallway and buckled carpet by condominium residents and that they could be harmed by so doing.” Because there was a factual issue, summary judgment was not appropriate.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?
If you have recently been injured while on the property of another and you believe your injury was due in part to the negligence of the property owner, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Every Florida property owner has a duty to those who enter their land. This duty requires the property owner keep the area safe and free from dangerous conditions. Depending on the relationship between the parties, a heightened duty may even be in place. To find out more about the law of negligence in Florida, contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney today. Click here, or call 352-387-8700 to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Plaintiff Almost Loses Opportunity to Recover Based on Sloppy Filings, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 31, 2014.
Florida Court Corrects Arbitrator’s Error of Law in Recent Court of Appeals Case, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 31, 2014.