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Florida Second DCA reverses summary judgment for defendant restaurant proprietor in slip and fall premises liability case, finding that defendant could have had a duty to manage and control sidewalk outside of its restaurant even if the sidewalk was owned by the City of Naples

On December 29, 2021, in City of Naples, Florida, et al. v. Chops City Grill, Inc., No. 2D19-2836, the Florida Second DCA reversed a summary judgment entered by the trial court in favor of the defendant restaurant proprietor in a premises liability case. The trial court had ruled in the defendant’s favor after concluding that the restaurant was not responsible for the condition of the pavers that allegedly caused the plaintiff’s fall, which were situated on a sidewalk outside the restaurant. The Second DCA noted that even if this area of the sidewalk was in fact owned by the codefendant City of Naples, and even if the defendant’s lease did not expressly require it to maintain the pavers, a party who exercises control over property may have a duty to maintain a premises in a reasonably safe condition. The Fourth DCA further noted that"[a] tenant's ability to manage and control an area is a question of fact for a jury to decide," quoting Burton v. MDC PGA Plaza Corp., 78 So. 3d 732, 736 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012), and observed that the Naples Municipal Code allows a restaurant operator to use sidewalks for outdoor dining.