The Week In Torts – Cases from April 21, 2023
High speed liability
FLORIDA LAW WEEKLY
VOLUME 48, NUMBER 16
CASES FROM THE WEEK OF APRIL 21, 2023
TRIAL COURT PROPERLY DENIED CITY’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AFTER VICTIM WAS INJURED AS A RESULT OF A HIGH-SPEED CHASE.
City of New Port Richey v. Lamko, 48 FLW DS21 (Fla. Apr. 21, 2023):
A police officer spotted a Range Rover that he suspected of a window tint violation. The officer was also aware of a report that a vehicle with a similar description had previously been involved in narcotic sales in the area. The officer testified that he did not know whether the two vehicles were the same.
The officer executed a U-turn to initiate a traffic stop. Before he could complete the turn, the Range Rover accelerated and left the area at a high rate of speed. The officer decided to activate his lights and pursue the vehicle. Two other officers joined him, and they chased the vehicle at speeds in excess of 100 mph. One of the officers struck one of the plaintiffs, pushing her through a closed garage door and pinning her between the door and the vehicle.
The City moved for summary judgment in the case arguing that the decision to initiate the pursuit was a policy making decision. The trial court disagreed.
The appellate court affirmed the denial, finding that the City owed the plaintiffs a duty of care because its officer’s actions created a foreseeable zone of risk. The initial officer engaged in a high-speed pursuit that involved speeds in excess of 90 mph.
While the governmental action was discretionary to the extent the City had a policy for creating high-speed pursuits, the officer’s decision in a case to drive 93 mph down a street that he knew would dead end into a residential neighborhood to pursue an offender over a window tint violation was an operational activity that subjected the City to liability pursuant to §768.28(9)(d) on high-speed chases.
SUCCESSIVE MOTIONS FOR REHEARING ARE NOT AUTHORIZED AND DO NOT TOLL RENDITION OF A FINAL ORDER.
Colvin v. Longoria, 48 FLA D723 (Fla. 2nd DCA Apr. 12, 2023):
Orders on rehearing are not separately reviewable, nor do they toll the time for the rendition of a final order. Because the plaintiff did not file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the rendition of the order she was appealing, the court dismissed her appeal as untimely.