Another Big Win In Florida for the MSLZ&M Premises Liability Practice Group
Apr 22, 2021 - About the Firm by Steven J. Mitchel
Senior Associate Lianet Rodriguez, a member of the Premises Liability Practice Group of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, LLP, obtained summary judgment in favor of our residential apartment complex client and its on-site property management company. Plaintiff claimed that she sustained substantial injuries resulting in surgery when she fell on the common area staircase of her apartment building.
The suit arose from Plaintiff’s claim that she was holding the handrail as she walked up the stairs when a 2”-3” piece of metal protruding from the staircase caught her dress, causing her to fall backward down the steps. Plaintiff claimed that our client failed to properly maintain the staircase, failed to warn of a hazardous condition, and failed to establish sufficient policies and procedures for the inspection and maintenance of the premises. Her counsel argued that reasonable procedures would have led to the discovery of the piece of metal before Plaintiff’s fall. The Plaintiff alleged that she sustained serious permanent injuries that required surgical intervention and caused her to incur well over $100,000 in medical expenses.
Ms. Rodriguez argued to the Court that summary judgment was appropriate because our client regularly inspected the property and had neither actual or constructive notice of the protruding metal. She further argued that Plaintiff herself did not see the piece of metal until after her incident which further evidence the lack of notice to anyone on the property. Finally, she argued that Plaintiff’s arguments regarding the need for written policies and procedures was a “red herring” and did not create an issue of fact sufficient to deny our Motion.
Plaintiff vigorously opposed the Motion and argued that our client failed to use reasonable care in inspecting and maintaining the common areas as evidenced by the absence of formal written policies and procedures. Further, Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the property manager’s experience at other properties placed them on constructive notice of the potential issue at the subject building.
After hearing arguments, the Court agreed with Ms. Rodriguez’s argument on all points and held that no genuine issues of material fact existed issues and granted Final Summary Judgment from the bench.