$1.48M Verdict Against Dollar General in Slip and Fall in Port Orange, FL Is Affirmed

$1.48M Verdict Against Dollar General in Slip and Fall in Port Orange, FL Is AffirmedFlorida’s 5th District Court of Appeal affirms a verdict for the Plaintiff in a slip and fall inside a Dollar General Store in Port Orange, Florida.  The Court held that there certainly was sufficient evidence of notice to the store of the dangerous condition, the heavy rain which had caused the store to put up caution signs and to bring inside the store some displays. The Court also confirmed that the standard for denying summary judgment in Florida is similar to the standard for denying directed verdict:

* Although summary judgment and directed verdict motions arise at different points in litigation, both challenge the legal sufficiency of the opposing party’s evidence and claim the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Olsen v. First Team Ford, LTD, 359 So. 3d 873, 877 (Fla. 5th DCA 2023) (quoting In re Amends. to Fla. Rule of Civ. Proc. 1.510, 317 So. 3d 72, 75 (Fla. 2021)). 6

The Plaintiff’s burden is to put on some evidence from which the jury can conclude that the Defendant had notice of the condition.  The Plaintiff’s burden is not to put on a perfect case and conflicts in the evidence do not mean that the Plaintiff should prevail.  The Court said:

Therefore, a directed verdict is proper “only when the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, shows that a jury could not reasonably differ about the existence of a material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Vitro Am., Inc. v. Ngo, 304 So. 3d 379, 383 (Fla. 1st DCA 2020) (quoting Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Allen, 116 So. 3d 467, 469 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013)). “If there are conflicts in the evidence or if different reasonable inferences could be drawn from the evidence, then the issue is a factual one that should be submitted to the jury and not be decided by the trial court as a matter of law.” Etheredge v. Walt Disney World Co., 999 So. 2d 669, 671 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008). In a slip and fall case involving a transitory substance in a business, the breach element of the plaintiff’s claim “is ‘statutorily constrained’ by section 768.0755, Florida Statutes.” Welch v. CHLN, Inc., 357 So. 3d 1277, 1278 (Fla. 5th DCA 2023) (quoting Encarnacion v. Lifemark Hosps. of Fla., 211 So. 3d 275, 278 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017)).

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