Florida Appeals Court Affirms Lower Court Ruling in Negligence Case, Siding with Plaintiffs

In a recent case, the Third District Court of Appeals in Florida issued an opinion in an appeal involving a negligence case between plaintiffs, Anny K. Berastain and her daughter, Natalie, and the defendant, Miami-Dade County (the County). The plaintiffs filed a negligence action following injuries suffered by Natalie while she was in the care of the County’s after-school program. The trial court denied the County’s motion for a directed verdict, new trial, and remittitur. The County then appealed following a final judgment after a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. The appellate court was unimpressed by the appeal and affirmed the final judgment as well as the trial court’s orders denying the County’s motion for directed verdict, a new trial, and remittitur.

Facts of the Case

According to the allegations at trial, on May 13, 2015, Natalie, who was seven years old at the time, was injured as a result of the County’s negligent supervision of the children in her after-school program. According to the operative complaint, the children were engaged in disorderly and dangerous practice, and the County failed to properly supervise them. At trial, the County denied that it breached any duty to Natalie or that any such breach caused her injuries. Multiple witnesses testified at the three-day trial, including Natalie, Ms. Berastain, and the County employee who was supervising Natalie on the day of the incident, Monique Perez. Ultimately, the jury determined that the County was 95% negligent and that Natalie was 5% negligent and subsequently awarded damages of $3,954.84 for past medical expenses, and $105,000 for Natalie’s past pain and suffering.

On appeal, the County argued that the plaintiffs failed to present any evidence of breach of duty or causation at trial and that the verdict was against the manifest weight of evidence because Natalie’s testimony was not credible. Additionally, the County argues that the jury’s verdict is excessive and against the manifest weight of evidence because the pain and suffering award is shocking to the conscience and unsupported by the evidence. The appellate court option answers each point made in the appeal in turn, employing a de novo standard of review and noting that importantly the court “must evaluate the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing every reasonable inference flowing from the evidence in the nonmoving party’s favor.“ As a result, upon review, the appellate court found that the trial transcript and available evidence were sufficient to provide competent substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict. The appeals court affirmed the jury’s verdict as well as the trial court’s orders denying the County’s motion for a directed verdict, a new trial, and remittitur.

Have You Suffered Injuries Due to Negligence in Florida?

If yout child has suffered a daycare injury in Florida, the lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada can help you understand your rights and the remedies available to you. Our team of attorneys has successfully advocated for injured individuals throughout Florida for 46 years. Expenses and injuries can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced roster of attorneys by your side can make a world of difference for your claim. Contact our team at 305-448-8585 to schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a lawyer at our office.

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