Defense Verdict in Premises Liability Case

Posted in Newsletters - 2019, Verdicts and Settlements on December 19, 2019

Jeff Carter and Rod Lundy, partners in the firm’s Orlando office, obtained a defense verdict in a premises case in Alachua County, Florida.  The case was tried on liability only as the defense previously convinced the court to bifurcate the case.  

Plaintiff claimed Defendant and his company negligently placed cable wiring along a door threshold in plaintiff’s home while installing cable in multiple rooms.  Plaintiff claims he put a throw rug over the wiring and called the cable company multiple times to remedy the situation but it was never fixed before he tripped over the wiring a month later.  However, other witnesses testified the cable company’s call logs showed Plaintiff called only on performance issues, not wiring issues, before his fall.  

In court plaintiff identified Defendant as the cable installer who performed the wiring, and his former girlfriend, appearing via video deposition, gave a description of the installer matching Defendant.  Though Defendant was unsure if he’d performed cable work in Plaintiff’s home, he testified he did not perform the wiring at issue because he would have been fired plus a part shown in the photographs was not the type he used in his work.  The defense also argued plaintiff was aware of the wire, recognized it as a trip hazard, and could have easily corrected it by unscrewing the cable wire from the bedroom wall.  The defense also argued the Slavin doctrine. 

The jury found there was no negligence on Defendants’ part that was the legal cause of Plaintiff’s fall.