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Florida Third DCA rejects argument that apartment building owner had duty under “means restriction” theory to protect plaintiff trespasser from using roof to attempt suicide

On February 23, 2022, in Iacono v. Kingsley Arms Apartments, Inc., No. 3D20-1830, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a trial court’s dismissal in favor of the defendant apartment building owner in a premises liability case. The plaintiff was seriously injured when, as an undiscovered trespasser, he attempted suicide by jumping from the defendant’s rooftop. He sued the defendant for premises liability and negligence per se alleging that the defendant owed a duty to him on a “means restriction” theory of suicide prevention because rooftops are where suicides take place. The Third DCA cited several cases for the proposition that there is no liability for the suicide attempt of another in the absence of a specific duty of care, such as when a patient is under a hospital’s care, and more generally quoted from Nicholson v. Stonybrook Apartments, LLC, 154 So. 3d 490, 492 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (“the only duty a property owner owes to an undiscovered trespasser is to refrain from causing intentional harm, and the only duty it owes to a discovered or ‘known’ trespasser is to refrain from gross negligence/intentional harm and to warn of known conditions that are not readily observable by others”).

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