Injury Law Update:

Week of July 22

First DCA

None Discussed this Week.

Second DCA 

None Discussed This Week.

Third DCA

None Discussed This Week. 

Fourth DCA

City of Fort Lauderdale v. Hinton, et. al. (No. 4D18-2089) – Premises Liability, Wrongful Death  

This action arose out of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s 1997 decision not to remediate an area of land with high levels of harmful byproducts.  The failure to remediate the area, as alleged by the plaintiffs, caused various injuries and led to the death of one of the family members.  The family filed its complaint against the city alleging multiple causes of actions, including strict liability, failure to warn, and injunction requiring the city to fund a permanent, medical monitoring of the affected areas.  

The city moved for summary judgement claiming that there could be no action for mandating medical monitoring and that the actions for damages were barred by sovereign immunity.  At the heart of the city’s sovereign immunity claim was the theory that the actions and/or inactions complained of were “planning level” decisions for which the city was completely immune from liability.  The trial court denied the city’s motion and the city appealed.

The district court affirmed the decision of the trial court.  As it related to the medical monitoring claim, the district court found that the claim was grounded in the negligence of the city.  As the claim was one in negligence, complete sovereign immunity did not apply and the plaintiffs could proceed.  

As it related to the premises/failure to warn claim, the court rejected the city’s argument that the original testing – which was conducted while the city determined whether to develop the property or not – was a planning level function which would provide complete immunity.  The district court repeated the long-standing principal that the owner of property has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. In this instance, the city was aware of harmful agents in the soil which could pose health risks to a segment of the surrounding population.  As such, the city would have to make the area reasonably safe. Whether the city had taken appropriate steps to protect the public from exposure of the known harmful agents in the soil and/or warn of the dangers were issues for a jury to decide.

Fifth DCA

None Discussed This Week. 

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About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser

Justin H. Presser is an award-winning attorney and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more.  With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas:  Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park;  Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota;  Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.

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