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Florida Second DCA rules that trial court erred in granting summary judgment to defendant in slip and fall premises liability case

On April 29, 2020, in Norman v. DCI Biologicals Dunedin, LLC, No. 2D183065, the Florida Second DCA reversed a summary judgment entered by a trial court in favor of the defendant in a premises liability slip and fall case. The defendant operates a plasma donation center. The plaintiff alleged that he fell and injured himself in the male donor bathroom of the facility. He claimed that while he lay on the floor he noticed “like a cup of water” on the floor and saw “a couple of footprints, like dirty footprints.” None of the Plasma Center employees recalled inspecting the men's donor bathroom on the day of the incident prior to the plaintiff’s fall. The Second DCA concluded that the fact that the liquid, described as a cup's worth of soiled water, was located near a bathroom sink was sufficient to infer that the liquid was not dirty when originally deposited on the floor. The Court additionally concluded that the two footprints around which the liquid was thicker than other areas could suggest that the shoes that created those footprints might well have deposited soil sufficiently earlier to allow it to be absorbed by the surrounding water by the time the defendant entered the restroom. This, combined with the fact that there were "other areas" where "someone slid their foot," allowed the inference that the liquid was on the floor long enough for someone other than the defendant, perhaps multiple individuals, to have stepped in it.

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