In a recent appellate opinion, a court determined that a restaurant may have a duty to take some kind of action to control the population of venomous spiders on the premises. The case presents an interesting issue for potential Florida premises liability plaintiffs because it illustrates the extent of the duty that a business owes its customers.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff and a friend decided to have lunch on the patio of the defendant restaurant. Prior to eating, the plaintiff removed her over shirt and set it down beside her. After the two had finished lunch, the plaintiff put the shirt back on. As soon as the plaintiff’s shirt was back on, she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. She told her friend that she thought something had bitten her.
Not thinking that anything was seriously wrong, the plaintiff went home. However, the next day, she woke up completely numb and unable to move her arms or legs. She managed to call for help using her nose, and she was ultimately admitted to the hospital, where she stayed for six days.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with paralysis and related spinal injuries caused by a venomous spider bite. She suffered irreversible damage as a result and filed a personal injury case against the restaurant, seeking compensation for her injuries.
The restaurant filed a motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the restaurant argued that it did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care to protect her from black widow spiders, and even if it did owe her some limited duty, it fulfilled that duty by having a general pest inspection and reporting procedure.
The Court’s Analysis
The court concluded that the defendant failed to prove that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Specifically, the court held that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to give rise to a duty. The court noted that the presence of venomous spiders is common knowledge, and restaurant owners should be on notice that they may need to take remedial action to control the spider population.
The court also held that the plaintiff’s evidence that the restaurant failed to fulfill the duty was sufficient to proceed to trial. The court noted that the restaurant failed to present any evidence that it had ever conducted an inspection for venomous spiders, or that the restaurant had taken any preventative action to treat the patio area.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Restaurant?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while dining at a Florida restaurant, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Whether it be a spider bite, dog attack, or slip-and-fall accident, restaurants have a duty to warn and protect customers from potential hazards. At the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we have decades of experience handling all types of Florida premises liability lawsuits, and we know what it takes to succeed on behalf of our clients. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Discusses “Coming-and-Going” Rule as It Pertains to Employer Liability, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 19, 2018.
Court Limits Employer’s Duty in Recent Case Stemming from Pedestrian-Railroad Fatality, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 5, 2018.