Our Miami personal injury law firm is proudly representing a couple who are suing Shuckers Bar and Grill for injuries they have sustained after the restaurant’s deck suddenly collapsed last week, flinging our clients Flavia Ellemberger and her husband Reynaldo Reyes and twenty others into the dark waters of the intracoastal waterway. Read the complaint against Shucker.pdf
Shuckers is a landmark sports bar and restaurant that is located on the property of a Best Western Hotel in North Bay Village, a tiny town that lies between Miami Beach and the City of Miami, connected by the 79th Street causeway, also known as the John F. Kennedy Causeway.
WHAT WAS INSPECTED BY WHOM AND WHEN?
Just by looking at the wreckage, one can see exposed, corroded, and rusted steel and concrete support pillars. However, there is certainly much debate questioning if Shuckers’ owners and the Village had complied with the administrative regulations requiring appropriate inspections of the facility.
Our initial investigation reveals that an inspection was performed, albeit after it was due, but before the tragedy. However, what is uncertain is whether or not the inspection included the Shucker’s deck. If the deck was not inspected, we intend to find out why the building was approved for use by the Village’s building department. This is certainly one of the very first questions we are investigating.
Regardless of whether or not the building’s deck was inspected by the city or state, the owners and operators of Shuckers have a legal duty, responsibility, and obligation under Florida law to inspect and maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. It does not matter if the business is a restaurant, hotel, shopping mall, or lemonade stand; business owners in Florida either must know (actual knowledge) or should know (constructive knowledge) the condition of their premises.
Accordingly, we will want to discover when and how the owners last inspected the deck. We have already found that the building’s owners applied for a permit to remodel the deck in 2010 but failed to actually do any of the planned work; in fact, the permit expired. We intend to find out why.
If in fact the owners knew that the deck was in shambles and failed to warn their customers of a known danger, they may be guilty of gross negligence or even be subjected to punitive damages. The definition of gross negligence in Florida can be found in Florida Statute Section 768.72, and it means that the defendant’s conduct was so “reckless or wanting in care” that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.
Our clients, who are a hard-working couple, said that Shuckers was one of the family’s favorite places to eat at. Since the accident, neither of them has been able to work; instead, they have spent much of their time in an out of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Ms. Ellemberger is currently in a neck brace, and she received a serious wound to her dominant hand. Mr. Reyes sustained an injury to his eye. Both are understandably traumatized by the event.
If in fact the deck was not inspected, we hope to make sure this never happens again by creating a clear definition in the law as to what must be inspected for a restaurant or any other business to be cleared for use. We hope this never happens to any other family. If you were injured in this event and would like to discuss your potential claim, please contact me, Spencer Aronfeld, or our South Florida personal injury law firm for a free initial legal consultation to protect your legal rights.