Before most Florida personal injury cases reach trial, the court hears a motion for summary judgment from at least one of the parties. A motion for summary judgment asks the court to consider all of the uncontested evidence presented by both sides and make a legal ruling in favor of the moving party. Importantly, summary judgment motions can save an immense amount of time if properly filed and litigated. However, it is important to keep in mind that when there is a material issue of contested fact involved in a case, a motion for summary judgment is not appropriate.
A recent case illustrated a court’s unwillingness to grant summary judgment to the defendant in a premises liability case when there was a question whether the defendant had knowledge of the dangerous condition causing the plaintiff’s injury.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was visiting the defendant fast-food restaurant with some family members. After placing his order, the defendant began to walk back to the area of the restaurant where the tables were. As he was walking, he thought he heard a restaurant employee call his name. The plaintiff turned around and tripped on the leg of a high chair that was protruding out into the walkway. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant, arguing that the restaurant’s negligent placement of the high chair resulted in him tripping, falling, and sustaining serious bodily injuries.
In support of his claim, the plaintiff presented the testimony of an impartial witness to the fall. The witness testified that, at the time of the plaintiff’s fall, the high chairs were stored behind a “half wall” that obscured the top portion of the high chairs but allowed the legs of the high chairs to protrude out into the walkway. The witness characterized this as a “big hazard.”
The plaintiff also tried to present video evidence of his fall, but the security company responsible for maintaining the video did not have a copy. The plaintiff argued that this should be construed as evidence against the restaurant.
The restaurant argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because there was no evidence that any employee knew about the dangerous condition posed by the high chairs. However, the court disagreed. The court held that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of his claim, and the question of whether the defendant had knowledge of the hazard was one for the jury. Thus, the court rejected the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and allowed the plaintiff’s case to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Restaurant?
If you or a loved one has recently slipped and fallen while at a South Florida restaurant, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Florida premises liability lawsuit. Restaurants are responsible to maintain a safe area for their customers, which includes a duty to persistently patrol open areas for dangerous hazards. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling all types of South Florida injury claims, including premises liability claims, and know what it takes to be successful on behalf of their clients. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Case Against Pharmacy Following Medication Error, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 26, 2017.
Student’s Premises Liability Case Against School Dismissed Based on Lack of Causation, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 5, 2017.