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Florida Third DCA rules that security company had no duty to protect hospital visitors because its contractual obligation was limited to the protection of hospital employees

On January 6, 2021, in Glickman v. Kindred Hospitals East, LLC, et al., No. 3D19-1597, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a summary judgment entered by the trial court for the defendant security company in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that she had been shot because of negligent security at Kindred Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida.  The plaintiff was shot by another visitor who subsequently shot and killed himself.  The plaintiff sued the hospital and its affiliated entities as well as the company that provided security services at the hospital. The trial court granted the security company’s motion for summary judgment on two separate grounds: (1) its contract with the hospital limited the company to protecting the hospital and its employees and expressly disavowed a duty to protect others, and (2) nothing in its conduct foreseeably created a broader “zone of risk” encompassing such a crime on the premises. The Third DCA rejected the plaintiff’s argument on appeal that the security company’s actions in providing security reflected a general undertaking to protect visitors like the plaintiff even though the contract limits its duty to hospital employees.  The Third DCA cited two cases in support of its decision, Cascante v. 50 State Sec. Serv., Inc., 300 So. 3d 283, 287–88 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019) (upholding summary judgment for security company on basis it had no duty to provide security during hours other than those set forth in its contract because the extent of its contractual undertaking defines the scope of its duty), and Robert-Blier v. Statewide Enters., Inc., 890 So. 2d 522, 523–24 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005) (holding “an independent contractor hired by the owner of premises to provide some—but not full—security services can[not] be liable for failing to do more than it contracted to do”).

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