Aponte v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Ltd., 739 Fed. Appx 531 (S.D. Fla. June 22, 2018): RCCL allowed a puddle of soap to remain on the floor of a common passenger restroom. RCCL’s puddle caused the Plaintiff to slip and fall and sustain severe and permanent injuries. Motion for Summary Judgment reversed by the 11th Circuit finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether RCCL had notice of the puddle of soap.
OPEN AND OBVIOUS: “Regardless of notice, there is no duty to warn of dangers that are open and obvious” (emphasis added)
OPEN AND OBVIOUS: “A reasonable factfinder could conclude that the puddle of soap was not open and obvious to a reasonable person. Aponte described a ‘clearish’ puddle of soap on the tile of the restroom floor in the area immediately in front of the sinks. Aponte did not see anything on the floor when he walked past the area to the urinals and he was not looking at the floor when he slipped because he was looking and reaching for the paper towel dispenser.”
OPEN AND OBVIOUS: “Although Aponte testified that he ‘obviously’ would have seen the puddle of soap if he had looked directly at it, the fact that the puddle of soap was capable of being observed does not necessarily make it open and obvious to a reasonable person.”
CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE: The Court held that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that the puddle of soap was on the floor before Aponte entered the restroom and while the crewmember was at the sink
CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE: A reasonable factfinder could conclude that the crew member knew or should have known about the puddle of soap. – “[The] facts place the crewmember in the immediate vicinity of a puddle of soap that was one-and-a-half feet in diameter. Drawing all reasonable inferences in [plaintiff’s] favor, a factfinder could conclude that the crewmember knew or should have known about the puddle of soap at his feet and either removed the hazard or warned [plaintiff] of it.”