Earlier this month, an appellate court in Kentucky issued a written opinion outlining how lower courts should analyze premises liability claims. In the case, Goodwin v. Al J. Schneider Company, the highest court in the state held that the lower courts misapplied the relevant analysis in dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
Goodwin and his wife were attending a convention in the defendant’s hotel. On his second day at the hotel, Goodwin slipped and fell as he attempted to enter the shower, injuring his knee. The shower had a grab bar to assist guests in entering the shower, but there was no shower mat. Other rooms in the hotel did have both a grab bar and a shower mat, and after Goodwin’s fall, the hotel provided him and his wife with a shower mat for the remainder of their stay.
Goodwin filed a premises liability lawsuit against the hotel, claiming that the hotel was negligent in failing to provide a shower mat. The hotel responded to the claim by asserting that it did not have a duty to provide both a shower mat and a grab bar, and that by providing a grab bar, the hotel’s duty was met. Furthermore, the hotel claimed that Goodwin’s fall was due to his own carelessness.
The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that a wet bathtub is an “open and obvious” danger, and there was nothing especially dangerous about this specific tub. The court explained that the hotel did not have a duty to protect guests from this type of open and obvious hazard. Goodwin appealed to a higher court.
The state’s highest court reversed the lower court’s decision. The court explained that the lower court conflated a landowner’s duty and the question of whether that duty was breached. Here, the court noted, there is no question that the hotel had a duty to protect guests from any hazard – obvious or hidden. The question the lower court should have answered was whether the steps taken by the hotel to remedy the hazard were sufficient. This is an analysis of the “breach” element of a premises liability claim.
As a result of the court’s holding, the case will be sent back down to the lower court to conduct the proper analysis.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As you can see from the above discussion, premises liability cases can be complex and require precise analysis. A skilled attorney from the Florida personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana Castrillon can help you navigate the complex questions that may arise throughout the course of your case. Call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation today.
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Attorney Carlos E. Sandoval Informs Immigrants About Eligibility for Provisional Waivers, Cecere Santana Castrillon Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 19, 2016.
Attorneys at Cecere Santana Castrillon Share Driving Tips for Teens to Prevent Fatal Accidents, Cecere Santana Castrillon Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 19, 2016.