Appellate Court Refuses To Consider Evidence Presented for the First Time on Appeal

Earlier this month, a Rhode Island appellate court issued a written opinion discussing principles that are important to understand for anyone considering filing a personal injury case in South Florida. The case arose out of a slip-and-fall accident that occurred in a public park. The issue for the court to decide was whether evidence of the city’s knowledge of the dangerous condition was admissible when it was presented to the court for the first time on appeal. The court held that the evidence, as well as any argument stemming from the evidence, was not admissible because it was not presented to the trial court.

Baseball DiamondA Boy Breaks His Leg While Playing Baseball

The plaintiffs’ son was playing baseball in a public park that was owned and operated by the defendant city. During the game, the plaintiffs’ son slid into home plate and got his lower leg stuck under the base. As he stood up, he broke his leg in two places. The plaintiffs filed a premises liability lawsuit, claiming that the city was negligent in failing to safely maintain the park, including the home plate where their son was injured.

The defendant city claimed that it was immune from liability under the recreational use statute, which protects landowners that allow others to use their land for recreational purposes and do not charge a fee for doing so. The plaintiffs made only a broad objection to the applicability of the recreational use statute, without explaining the basis for the objection. The court ultimately granted the city’s motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiffs appealed.

On Appeal, the Plaintiffs Present New Evidence

On appeal, the plaintiffs presented the court with a letter from another park-goer, explaining that she had visited the park in the weeks prior to the incident involving the plaintiffs’ son and had noticed the poor condition of the baseball diamond, specifically the condition of the bases. Not only that, but the woman had actually written a letter to the city, complaining of the conditions in the park. The plaintiffs argued that the city willfully or maliciously failed to warn park-goers, despite its knowledge of the dangers.

The court, however, would not consider the letter, nor would it consider the plaintiffs’ arguments that the city was on notice about the dangerous condition of the baseball diamond. The court explained that the proper time to make this argument was during the trial, and the plaintiffs’ failure to raise the argument at the appropriate time prevented them from raising it on appeal. In so holding, the court rejected the argument that the plaintiffs’ general objection to the application of the recreational use statute preserved the issue for appeal. Generally speaking, in order to preserve an appellate issue, there must be a specific objection at the time of the trial judge’s ruling.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing injured clients and their families in a broad range of personal injury matters, including slip-and-fall cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury advocate to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Employer’s Failure to Conduct Thorough Background Investigation May Be Basis for Liability in Employee’s DUI Accident, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 22, 2017.

Court Characterizes Doctor’s Office Slip-and-Fall Accident as a Medical Malpractice Incident, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 9, 2017.

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