When Dorothy Fitzherbert, was injured after she slipped and fell on the side of a parking lot ramp in front of a Marshalls she hired a Florida parking lot slip and fall lawyer to sue the property management company, Inland US Management. Her complaint alleged that the management company failed to use reasonable care in the maintenance, inspection and repair of the parking lot. Specifically, she alleged that the parking ramp and the road surface were improperly painted creating a “dangerous condition”. She also argued that the “dangerous condition” required the management company to warn her to avoid the poorly maintained ramp. The management company defended by stating that they had no duty to warn since the condition was not dangerous as it was “open and obvious”.
The trial court conducted a hearing called a Summary Judgment to decide if there was sufficient facts to even allow the case to go to before a jury. Based upon the evidence presented by the management company, the trial judge dismissed the entire case concluding that there in fact was no “dangerous condition” or duty to warn the Fitzherbert’s. The case was then dismissed with prejudice as a matter of law.
The Fitzherherbert’s appealed to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. The Appellate Court reversed the trial judge by ruling that property owners and managers have not one but two responsibilities. First, they must warn of a dangerous condition and second they have the obligation to keep and maintain their premises in a “reasonably safe condition.”
This is a significant victory for anyone injured as a result of slipping or falling in a hotel, shopping mall or grocery store in Florida. This ruling clearly places a legal burden and responsibility on business owners and property managers to maintain and inspect their premises; as well as warn patrons of dangerous conditions.
Our Miami slip and fall injury law firm applauds the Second District Court of Appeal for not denying the Fitzrherbert’s of their opportunity for justice. Click here to read the Court’s opinion in Fitzherbert v. Inland US Management.