A Successful Outcome of a Slip-and-Fall Appeal
Katherine A. Gannon
In a world where legal battles can be as unpredictable as a sudden rain shower, Rissman’s skilled appellate group is ready to weather the storm.
In a recent case that unfolded in the Alachua County Circuit Court, an unassailable defense for a car dealership against a slip-and-fall claim was presented. And the defense emerged victorious, with the final summary judgment firmly in its favor.
A customer, who claimed to have slipped and fallen in the dealership’s covered service area during a rainstorm, appealed against the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the dealership. The trial court had initially denied summary judgment, not because the dealership was at fault, but because the plaintiff hadn’t deposed the corporate representative. The plaintiff’s counsel withdrew from the case, and the defendant seized the moment to file a renewed motion for summary judgment.
The hearing was scheduled 21 days later where only the plaintiff himself appeared, now representing his case pro se. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the dealership, citing the “open and obvious” doctrine because it was evident that the plaintiff knew the service area was wet due to the rain and that the dealership had no duty to warn about a condition that was not inherently dangerous.
The customer raised three issues on appeal. He claimed that the hearing was held prematurely, less than 40 days from filing the renewed motion for summary judgment. He also argued a disputed issue of fact about the open and obvious condition and took exception to the Final Order of Dismissal with Prejudice, which the dealership hadn’t requested.
Attorney Katherine Gannon argued in the answer brief that the renewed motion did not raise any new grounds and that the summary judgment was justified as the evidence indicated that the floor had been painted with non-skid paint and the dealership had no superior knowledge about the water where there were no prior falls. Moreover, it was also argued that the surface was not defective and that the trial court’s relief was proper.
The First District Court of Appeal per curiam affirmed the trial court’s decision. This case stands as a testament to Katherine A. Gannon’s legal expertise and unyielding dedication to her client.