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Florida Fourth DCA rules that original property developer was not a proper Fabre defendant in premises liability case because purchaser had a reasonable opportunity to discover latent defect and take precautions in the 24 years since transfer of the property

On January 5, 2022, in J.L. Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Schnurr, No. 4D19-3474, the Florida Fourth DCA the affirmed a trial court ruling that denied the motion of a premises liability defendant, the property owner’s association controlling the area in which the accident occurred, to include the original developer of the community as a Fabre defendant on the jury verdict form. The Fourth DCA concluded that the trial court appropriately omitted the developer as a Fabre defendant because the property owner’s association had ample time to discover any latent defects in the property, which had been turned over by the developer 24 years earlier. In support of its conclusion, the Fourth DCA cited Restatement (Second) of Torts § 353 (1965) for the proposition that that liability for undisclosed latent defects remains with the seller until such time as the buyer has had a reasonable opportunity to discover a latent defect and take precautions.