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Florida Fifth DCA rules that assumption of risk doctrine applies only in cases involving contact sports or express contracts not to sue.

On May 19, 2017, in Petruzella v. Church of the Rock of Palm Coast, the Florida Fifth DCA reversed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a premises liability slip and fall case. The trial court had granted the summary judgment on the grounds of the assumption of risk doctrine, ruling that the plaintiff’s fall after tripping over an electrical cord was a risk assumed by the plaintiff, a musician who regularly performed at the church and was familiar with the array of electrical cords on the performance stage. The Florida Fifth DCA noted that the trial court’s decision was directly in conflict with prior decisions by the Florida Supreme Court in Blackburn v. Dorta, 348 So. 2d. 287 (Fla. 1977), and more recently, in Mazzeo v. City of Sebastian, 550 So. 2d 1113 (Fla. 1989), which established that since Florida’s adoption of the comparative negligence method for determining and apportioning liability, the assumption of risk doctrine only had continued applicability to express contracts not to sue and injuries relating to contact sports.

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