Court Dismisses Premises Liability Claim, Finding Plaintiff Was an Uninvited Guest

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that was brought by a woman who slipped and fell while crossing the defendant’s property to get back to her home after returning from a dinner cruise. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff was an “uninvited licensee,” and the defendant landowner did not breach any duty it owed her.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and a friend planned on taking a dinner cruise. The cruise embarked not far from where the plaintiff lived. On the way to the cruise, the plaintiff and her friend walked on public roads to get to the dock. However, on the way back, the two decided to take a shortcut through a shopping complex parking lot, across a grassy area, and then down a stone-paved path.

As the plaintiff was walking across the stone-paved path near some storm pumps, she stepped on a cracked paving stone and rolled her ankle. She then fell to the ground, resulting in further injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owners of the shopping complex.

The plaintiff admitted that she was not on the property to shop, and she was only cutting through. In response, the defendants sought the dismissal of the case, based on the fact that they did not violate a duty owed to the plaintiff. Specifically, the defendants claimed that the plaintiff was either a trespasser or an uninvited licensee, and under the law, the duty the defendants only “had a duty to avoid willful or wanton harm” and “to warn [her] of any known dangers which would not be open to [her] ordinary observation.”

The court agreed with the defendant, finding that the plaintiff was an uninvited licensee. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that she was an invitee by virtue of the creation of the path and the absence of a “No Trespassing” sign. The court explained that no reasonable jury could find that the footpath was designed as a convenient shortcut for people looking to get from one end of the complex to the other. The court noted that the storm pumps were not near the shops, and the path to the storm pumps was only designed to access the pumps. Thus, the court held that the defendants did not violate a duty of care owed to the plaintiff.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled injury attorneys at the Maryland and Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of accident cases, including slip-and-fall accidents. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation to you or your family unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case Against Fast Food Restaurant Allowed to Proceed, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2017

Track-and-Field Spectator Awarded $350K after Being Struck By Discus, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, April 28, 2017

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