A commercial landowner can be liable for negligence only if it owes a legal duty of care to the plaintiff. The existence of a legal duty is a question of law for the trial court.
In the recent case of Luckman v. Wills, 2020 WL 4341883 (Fla. 3d DCA July 29, 2020), the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a summary judgment in favor of a commercial landowner in a negligence/wrongful death lawsuit finding that, as a matter of law, the commercial landowner owed no duty of care to the decedent when the accident occurred outside the limits of the landowner’s premises.
In Luckman, the defendant owned a resort. The decedent was a guest at the defendant’s resort. The resort offered complimentary golf cart services to take guests around its property. The defendant prohibited the golf cart service to travel on public roads beyond the resort property. On the night of the accident, the decedent requested that the golf cart services take them to a grocery store located beyond the resort property.
Consistent with the defendant’s policy, the golf cart driver stopped at the resort gate and did not leave the resort. The decedent exited the golf cart, and while waiting to travel to the grocery store on foot, was struck by a vehicle. The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that, as a matter of law, once the decedent voluntarily disembarked the golf cart and was beyond the defendant’s premises' limits, the defendant owed no further duty of care to him.
Summary judgments in negligence lawsuits are uncommon. Rosenthal Law Group has successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of commercial landowners in negligence lawsuits. Rosenthal Law Group is here to assist commercial landowners in determining the scope of the duty owed to invitees, implementing policies and procedures to protect your business from exposure to lawsuits, and defending negligence claims.