The Week In Torts – Cases from March 4, 2022
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FLORIDA LAW WEEKLY
VOLUME 47, NUMBER 9
CASES FROM THE WEEK MARCH 4, 2022
NO ERROR IN DISMISSING PREMISES LIABILITY CASE BASED ON DETERMINATION THAT PRIVATE BUILDING OWNERS OWE NO DUTY TO UNDISCOVERED TRESPASSERS ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE
Julian Iacono v. Kingsley Arms Apartments, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D482 (Fla. 3rd DCA Feb. 23, 2022):
A seventeen-year-old undiscovered trespasser gained access to the rooftop of an apartment complex, and intentionally jumped from the roof in an attempt to commit suicide. The young man survived, but suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of his leg.
The injured party sued defendant for premises liability and negligence per se, alleging that the complex owed a duty to him, relying on a “means restriction” theory of suicide prevention, because roof tops are where suicides take place. Plaintiff made clear in his complaint that he was not alleging or otherwise contending that the defendant owed, or breached a specific duty to prevent or guard against his attempt to commit suicide.
The court accepted all of the alleged facts as true as it must do in assessing a ruling on a motion to dismiss, and concluded that no iteration of the facts would support a cause of action for premises liability or negligence per se.
Generally, there is no liability for the suicide of another in the absence of a specific duty of care, which did not exist here. The only duty a property owner owes to an undiscovered trespasser is to refrain from causing intentional harm, and the only duty it owes to a discovered or known trespasser, is to refrain from gross negligence/intentional harm, and to warn of known conditions that are not readily observable by others.
The court affirmed the dismissal of this case.
COURT DISMISSES PETITION SEEKING REVIEW OF ORDER COMPELLING PRODUCTION OF EXPERT REPORT – NO IRREPARABLE HARM ESTABLISHED
Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Fraser, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D502 (Fla. 3rd DCA Feb. 23, 2022):
The insurer sought review of a trial court’s order to the extent that it compelled production of expert reports that were not produced in litigation. It asserted that such reports were privileged.
The court dismissed the petition, finding the insurer failed to demonstrate irreparable harm to warrant certiorari relief. It found that because the trial court did not foreclose the ability to assert work-product privilege prior to the disclosure of the documents, that certiorari review was not warranted.
TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE INSURED TO PAY PRE-JUDGMENT INTEREST PURSUANT TO § 627.7031(5)(a) WHERE THE VERDICT RETURNED BY THE JURY DID NOT AWARD THE INSURED A FIXED AMOUNT OF DAMAGES
Federated National Insurance Co. v. Bocinsky, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D518 (Fla. 5th DCA Feb. 25, 2022):
The jury’s verdict had not awarded the insured a fixed amount of damages. Therefore, the trial court erred in entering a final judgment awarding interest, necessitating reversal of award of such interest.