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Florida Fifth DCA rules that trial court erred in granting summary judgment for defendant in premises liability case involving cheerleading accident, concludes that video evidence of accident did not foreclose defense liability

On May 15, 2020, in Carlson v. Volusia County Schools, et al., No. 5D19-91, the Florida Fifth DCA reversed a summary judgment entered by the trial court for the defendant City of DeLand in a premises liability case brought by the family of a student who suffered injuries while cheerleading at a sporting event held on City property. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently left a material on the playing field which created a tripping hazard, thereby causing the accident. The defendant submitted a video as part of its summary judgment motion which purportedly showed that the cheerleaders who were holding the plaintiff immediately before the fall did not trip or otherwise lose their balance and were not restricted by field conditions from moving about freely. After reviewing the video and interrogatory answers, the Fifth DCA concluded that genuine issues of material fact remained. The Fifth DCA cited Skelton v. Real Estate Sols. Home Sellers, LLC, 202 So. 3d 960, 961 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016) ("If the 'slightest doubt' exists, then summary judgment must be reversed" (quoting Sierra v. Shevin, 767 So. 2d 524, 525 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000)), and Lopez v. Wilsonart, LLC, 275 So. 3d 831, 834 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019) (holding summary judgment improper even though video evidence strongly refuted other evidence), review granted, SC19-1336, 2019 WL 5188546 (Fla. Oct. 15, 2019).

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