Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Free Consultations 386.258.1622

Florida Fourth DCA reverses summary judgment by trial court for defendant gym owner in premises liability action, finds issue of material fact regarding applicability of contractual waiver of liability

On December 18, 2019, in Savoia v. Fitness International, No. 4D19-368, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a summary judgment by the trial court for the defendant gym owner in a premises liability action after concluding that an issue of material fact regarding the applicability of a contractual waiver of liability precluded summary judgment. The plaintiff signed the three-page contract on a computer tablet provided by the defendant. The plaintiff’s signature was on the bottom of the first page of the contract and the exculpatory clause was in a box on the second page. According to the Fourth DCA, it was unclear if a scroll bar or arrows on the screen indicated that there was more text below the place where the plaintiff signed, or if the plaintiff was able to see the indication that he was viewing “Page 1 of 3.” The Fourth DCA concluded that the undeveloped record did not reveal whether the electronic presentation of the contract prevented the plaintiff from reading the contract. The Fourth DCA cited Allied Van Lines, Inc. v. Bratton, 351 So. 2d 344, 347-48 (Fla. 1977) (explaining that a contract is binding “[u]nless one can show facts and circumstances to demonstrate that he was prevented from reading the contract, or that he was induced by statements of the other party to refrain from reading the contract”); and Parham v. East Bay Raceway, 442 So. 2d 399 (Fla. 2d DCA 1983) (“a genuine issue of material fact exists for the jury as to whether the Raceway employee at the ticket shack leading to the restricted areas misrepresented to Parham that the contents of the release agreement concerned the matter of ‘insurance’ and/or concealed the contents of the agreement from him”).