Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Accident in Doctor’s Examination Room Deemed Not To Be “Medical Malpractice” Lawsuit

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit that arose after the plaintiff fell off an examination table in the defendant doctor’s office. The court was tasked with determining if the plaintiff’s lawsuit should be dismissed because she failed to comply with the applicable statute of limitations. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was not a “medical malpractice” lawsuit as defined by the statute and that her claim need not comply with the stricter statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff was seeing the defendant doctor so that he could remove a catheter. When the doctor came into the examination ro...

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Florida Residents Who Engage in Recreational Activities on Another Party’s Land May Do So at Their Own Risk (With a Few Notable Exceptions)

The Florida state government wants to encourage people to be active and to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather by rollerblading, skateboarding, mountain biking, or engaging in other recreational activities. However, the government seemed to notice that there were becoming fewer and fewer places to partake in these activities because landowners were prohibiting people from engaging in these recreational activities on their land, due to the liability they may face if someone is injured. The Florida Legislature’s solution was to pass Florida Statute 316.0085, which provides immunity to certain landowners who open up their property for the public’s use. While there are other recreational use statutes in Florida, th...

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Florida Children Exposed to Toxic Gas at Indoor Pool

Premises liability claims are lawsuits brought against a property owner who negligently fails to keep their property in a safe condition, violating a duty of care owed to the plaintiff. Premises liability describes a broad range of cases, extending from slip-and-fall accidents to chemical exposure cases. Chlorine Gas Exposure According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chlorine is an element used in industrial settings, as well as household products such as bleach. It is often used in swimming pools to kill bacteria. Chlorine is sometimes in the form of a poisonous gas, which can be recognized by its pungent, irritating odor, similar to bleach. It is yellow-green in color. When chlorine gas is released into the air, a person can be exposed through skin contract or eye contact, or through breathing air that contains chlorine. People who ...

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Florida Court Discusses and Limits “Assumption of the Risk” Doctrine

Last month, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a man who tripped and fell on an unsecured cord while rehearsing with a church band. The court had to determine if the plaintiff’s potential knowledge of the hazard – having been playing with the band for several years – resulted in his expressly assuming any risk of injury. Ultimately, the court concluded that under Florida law, the doctrine of express assumption of the risk applies only in certain limited situations, one of which was not present in the plaintiff's case. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff joined the defendant church in 2008. In the next year, he started playing in the church band. For the next two years, there ...

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Florida Appellate Court Determines Water Company May Be Liable for Condition of Pavement Surrounding In-Ground Valve

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who tripped on a water valve while walking on a public road. The appeal resulted from a lower court decision finding that the water company did not have a duty to maintain the asphalt area around the valve, which had become separated from the valve, resulting in the valve sticking up above ground level. However, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision, holding that the water company may still have a duty to maintain the valve, even if the accident was caused in part by the surrounding asphalt becoming separated from the valve. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff was walking on...

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Florida Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Decision, Allowing Premises Liability Case To Proceed to Trial

The Second District Court of Appeals recently issued a written opinion in a premises liability case, reversing a lower court’s ruling that had dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit based on a lack of evidence that the defendant knew or should have known about the hazard that allegedly caused the plaintiff’s fall. Specifically, the appellate court held that the lower court was improper to base its decision on the credibility of the plaintiff’s expert witness. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff slipped and fell after he stepped in a puddle of oil that had formed near an elevator on the defendant’s property. The plaintiff explained that he did not see the puddle before he stepped in it, but after he got up, he not...

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Florida Appellate Court Permits Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit to Proceed Despite Obviousness of the Hazard that Caused Plaintiff’s Fall

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a slip-and-fall case, reversing the lower court’s decision to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The case required the court determine if a plaintiff can still recover for injuries under a premises liability theory where the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall was “obvious.” The court determined that in such cases, summary judgment in favor of the defense is not appropriate. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff was a customer of the defendant bank who visited the bank to make a deposit through the drive-thru window. When she arrived, the bank was closed, so she decided to make the deposit at the bank’s outdoor ATM. However, the area around the ATM was und...

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Court Broadly Defines “Health Care Provider,” Subjecting Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case to Heightened Medical Malpractice Requirements

Earlier this month, a West Virginia appellate court issued a written opinion in a slip-and-fall case that occurred at a hospital. The issue the court had to decide was whether the plaintiff’s case was properly considered a medical malpractice case under state law, or whether it was a premises liability case. The significance of the distinction between the two types of cases is that medical malpractice cases are subject to additional procedural requirements. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff accompanied her husband to the defendant hospital for a medical check-up. The plaintiff’s husband checked in and was escorted to an examination room by a medical assistant. The medical assistant instructed the plaintiff’s husband to have a seat o...

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Plaintiff’s Own Actions Deemed an “Intervening Cause” of His Injuries, Resulting in Summary Judgment for Defendant

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a negligence case brought by a man who was seriously injured when his apartment caught fire after a gas explosion. In the man’s case against the gas company, the court determined that while the gas company may have been negligent in failing to lock the meter after it detected a leak, the plaintiff’s own actions were deemed an intervening cause that severed the initial chain of causation. Thus, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to grant the summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff was moving into a new apartment. Before he moved in, the owner of the apartment arranged for the gas to be turned on...

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Appellate Court Explains a Landowner’s Duty to Prevent Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Kentucky issued a written opinion outlining how lower courts should analyze premises liability claims. In the case, Goodwin v. Al J. Schneider Company, the highest court in the state held that the lower courts misapplied the relevant analysis in dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The Facts of the Case Goodwin and his wife were attending a convention in the defendant’s hotel. On his second day at the hotel, Goodwin slipped and fell as he attempted to enter the shower, injuring his knee. The shower had a grab bar to assist guests in entering the shower, but there was no shower mat. Other rooms in the hotel did have both a grab bar and a shower mat, and after Goodwin’s fall, the ho...

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