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Florida Third DCA affirms dismissal of premises liability case involving slip and fall at Hialeah clothing store; finds no evidence that defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of alleged dangerous condition

On July 1, 2020, in Morales v. Ross Dress for Less. Inc., No. 3D19-0795, a premises liability case involving the plaintiff’s slip and fall at the defendant’s store in Hialeah, Florida, the Florida Third DCA affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment for the defendant.  The Third DCA concluded that the defendant lacked the requisite actual or constructive knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition, consisting of plastic pieces of a clothes hanger lying on the floor. The Court observed that by Florida statute, “[i]f a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.” § 768.0755(1), Fla. Stat. The Court additionally observed that “[c]onstructive notice 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,” quoting from Delgado v. Laundromax, Inc., 65 So. 3d 1087, 1090 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011) (citing Schaap v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 579 So. 2d 831, 834 (Fla. 1st DCA1991)); see also § 768.0755(1)(a)-(b), Fla. Stat.  The Third DCA noted that the record was devoid of any facts evidencing the length of time the pieces were on the floor or that the condition occurred with regularity and therefore was foreseeable.

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