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Florida Third DCA rules that plaintiff in premises liability case failed to introduce sufficient evidence that defendant had notice of dangerous condition

On November 8, 2017, in Miami-Dade County v. Jones, No. 3D16-2266, the Florida Third DCA reversed the trial court’s ruling denying the defendant County’s post-trial motion for a JNOV. The defendant alleged that that the plaintiff had failed to introduce sufficient evidence from which the jury could infer that the defendant had notice of the dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff’s slip and fall. The plaintiff slipped and fell on a greasy sidewalk owned by the County while visiting a barbecue stand located on private property adjacent to the sidewalk. The plaintiff alleged that a faulty grease disposal system allowed the grease to leak out onto the sidewalk and that the County negligently maintained the sidewalk by allowing the dangerous condition to remain on the sidewalk.

The Third DCA quoted from Delgado v. Laundromax, Inc., 65 So. 3d 1087, 1090 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011) for the rule that constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition “may be inferred from either: (1) the amount of time a substance has been on the floor; or (2) the fact that the condition occurred with such frequency that the owner should have known of its existence.” In this case, the Court concluded that neither condition had been satisfied because the only evidence introduced bearing on the age of the grease was the plaintiff’s observation that it appeared “fresh” and there was no evidence about any previous observations of the condition of the sidewalk.