Articles Tagged with premises liability

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A bar injury involving a mechanical bull resulted in an $81,000 settlement prior to trial, after a customer was thrown violently from the ride, suffering a broken ankle, torn ligament and other injuries. The same bar has paid at least $200,000 in damages to at least six other patrons who suffered similar injuries over a ten-year time frame.injury lawyer

Mechanical bulls are a staple at some Western-themed bars across the U.S., including in Florida. This particular case occurred in New York, but the same basic legal theory of premises liability applies.

Property owners and property managers have a responsibility to make sure their site is reasonably safe for paying customers (also known as “business invitees”). That means addressing conditions that are unreasonably dangerous, and warning customers about them if there are no immediate fixes. It’s unclear in this case whether there were any warnings or liability waivers signed by those who rode the bull, but defendants in these cases have been known to assert the defense that claimants assumed the risk when they chose to ride. Continue reading →

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In the height of this holiday shopping season, patrons should feel safe when they get to the store. That means there should be adequate security and lighting. Boxes should be safely stacked. Spills should be promptly cleaned up. Employees should be regularly checking the site for possible hazards to minimize the risks. shopping cart

Property owners owe business invitees the highest duty of care to make sure the site is free of unreasonable hazards. However, if a patron does encounter a danger and is injured as a result, he or she will still face challenges in asserting liability and obtaining compensation. Specifically as it pertains to slip-and-fall hazards, F.S. 768.o755 spells out the stringent proof burden plaintiffs have to meet in order to prevail in an injury lawsuit against a business. In these cases, plaintiff has to show:

  • The business had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition.
  • The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, had the business been using due care, the business establishment should have known about it.
  • The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

Continue reading →

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The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled in the Orlando negligent security lawsuit of Anderson v. Hilton Hotel that plaintiff is entitled to have his attorney’s fees covered, per F.S. 768.79 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.442.parking lot

Plaintiff’s victory comes after he won $1.7 million in damages from four different defendants, though three of those were characterized as a single entity during trial. It was this issue that complicated the matter of whether plaintiff was entitled to attorney fees.

Normally, personal injury plaintiffs do not pay attorney fees upfront. Instead, lawyers offer services on a contingency fee basis, which means clients pay nothing upfront and agree to sign over a portion of their damage awards if they win (usually somewhere around 30 percent, though it varies depending on the facts/ complexity of the case). This type of agreement allows more meritorious civil actions to make their way into court, rather than creating an impossible bar for persons with limited means. However, there are situations in which the other side can be ordered to pay attorneys’ fees to the winner. For a plaintiff, this occurs when a reasonable settlement offer is made, not accepted within 30 days and then plaintiff wins the case, being awarded in excess of 25 percent of that original offer.  Continue reading →

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The family of a teen foreign exchange student who was fatally shot outside of a nightclub in Portland, Ore. will be allowed to continue pursuit of their premises liability lawsuit following a new ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court.nightclub1

Peruvian Martha Paz de Noboa Delgado was killed in 2009 as she waited outside of a teen nightclub with a group of other foreign exchange students. She had been dropped off at the location, reportedly in a rough part of town, by her host family. She was just 17-years-old. It was later revealed the 24-year-old gunman suffered from schizophrenia. He opened fire on the group of students, wounding seven and killing two before turning the gun on himself.

Delgado’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit, Piazza v. Kellim, against the nightclub and related companies, as well as against the foreign exchange organization. The $1.8 million claim argues that the owners of the club and related firms failed to take reasonable measures to protect customers. Namely, they forced young patrons to wait outside in what they knew was a high-crime area. The club and others nearby had a long history of problems with crime, and yet did not allow customers to wait inside for entry. The lawsuit further asserts the club did not have sufficient security. Against the student foreign exchange program, plaintiffs asserted a failure to provide adequate training to the host family.  Continue reading →

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Last month’s Orlando gay nightclub shooting proved the deadliest in national history, and prompted a flurry of fierce debate on what to do to address issues of terrorism, homophobia and access to firearms. Another less widely covered issue was that of security guard screening, and it’s relevant to injury lawyers who handle Florida premises liability lawsuits. securityguard

The 29-year-old gunman who killed 50 and injured 53 at Pulse was identified by officials as Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen whose father was native to Afghanistan. Mateen worked as a security guard for a company called G4S Plc. It’s a British company with clients in more than 100 countries, including the U.S. He had been employed by the company since 2007. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Jupiter, FL and it employs some 611,000 people globally in prisons, airports, ports, cash transport services and more.

After the shooting, questions arose regarding to what extent Mateen was screened. We know that he, along with every other armed guard in Florida, has to be certified officially as mentally and emotionally stable. But how exactly is that done? According to Security Info Watch, an industry publication, there was no point at which a psychologist ever sat down and reviewed his records or talked to those who knew him or even interviewed him face-to-face. The determination for who is “mentally and emotionally stable” is done with a written personality test that is standard for all guards. These tests offer a host of true-false questions that are then assessed by a contracted psychologist.  Continue reading →

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Disney World is facing a serious liability after a fatal alligator attack at one of its resorts that claimed the life of a 2-year-old boy. The toddler had been splashing in 6 inches of water along the shore of a man-made lagoon, where the resort invited guests to gather that evening to watch an outdoor movie.alligator5

Posted alongside of the shore were a number of “No Swimming” signs, but nowhere did it mention the threat of alligators – despite the fact that alligators were known to live in the water and further, staffers had complained to management that guests had been feeding the gators and they feared there would be an incident.

Legal analysts and personal injury attorneys reviewing the known facts of the case have largely concluded that those “No Swimming” signs probably weren’t enough to issue an adequate warning for a serious risk that was foreseeable. The park, which attracts 55 million visitors annually, cooperated with wildlife officials and law enforcement in terminating six alligators on the premises and have also created additional barriers to the site. However, these actions will not be enough to shield the company from liability. Continue reading →

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Property owners have a legal duty to make sure their property is reasonably safe for those who lawfully enter. Those with the highest duty of care – which includes the responsibility to routinely inspect the property for possible hazards – are those owners whose properties are open to the public for the financial benefit of the owner. Those would include:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Shopping Centers
  • Night clubs
  • Amusement parkscurb

This duty can be breached when a property owner fails to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition, fails to correct a dangerous condition about which they knew or should have known and/ or failed to warn of that dangerous condition – and the result is an invitee is injured.

In the recent case of Grimes v. Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc., et al., plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a commercial tenant, a landowner and a hired landscaper after suffering a fall outside the store.  Continue reading →

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Property owners and property managers have a responsibility to make sure their site is safe for lawful guests. This duty includes residential landlords, who have many responsibilities to their tenants and tenant guests, including ensuring they are safe from an unreasonable risk of harm. apartmentrental

This could include things like:

  • Broken stairways
  • Unlit parking lots
  • Lack of security/ locks on the doors
  • Not having working smoke detectors

A recent case of Lompe v. Sunridge Partners before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit shows how landlords and property management companies can be liable for failing to make sure their properties are in safe condition. In this situation, it was a broken HVAC system that was the source of serious injury for a young college student. Continue reading →

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It’s true that property owners in Florida owe a duty to ensure their grounds are safe for lawful guests.

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However, those who are injured on property that is open to the public for free recreational purposes may have a tough time collecting. That’s because Florida’s Recreational Use Statute limits the liability of land owners who allow the public free use of land for recreation. The idea is to encourage those who own property to open it up for public access.

These protections also extend to government entities, like cities and counties, that parks and preserves for use by the public. There may be some situations in which the owner or third-parties may be liable, but it will depend on the circumstances.

Recently, in the case of Carlson v. Town of South Kingstown, a Rhode Island woman was denied compensation after review by the state supreme court. Continue reading →

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A cruise ship injury resulted in a$21.5 million verdict in favor of plaintiff after jurors in the federal lawsuit determined the cruise line was grossly negligent for failing to fix a faulty door, which was a known problem. cruiseship1

In Hausman v. Holland America Line-USA et al., tried in the Washington Western District Court in Seattle, plaintiff not only produced evidence of his own injury, but of similar injuries suffered by dozens of other passengers before him involving the same type of sliding glass doors that struck him. These other cases occurred across the company’s fleet, with the issue being faulty sensor settings.

Plaintiff alleged he suffered a minor brain injury when he was struck by the door as he exited behind several cruise members. Surveillance video of the incident, which occurred in open water, shows plaintiff approaching the doors and then being struck in the face and side of the head when the doors shut unexpectedly. Defense argued in trial plaintiff walked into the closing doors. Continue reading →

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