• Defense Verdict Obtained in Premises Liability Case
  • September 25, 2017 | Authors: Joseph M. Sette; Andrew S. Bruce
  • Law Firms: Conroy Simberg - Fort Myers Office; Conroy Simberg - Naples Office
  • The Plaintiff rode his bicycle through a construction site and into an open construction trench where Greentech was in the process of connecting a commercial building to the central sewer system in Marathon, Florida. The Plaintiff was found in the trench and was transported to the Fisherman’s Community Hospital. Later, family members discovered him lying on the sidewalk in front of the Emergency Department. Given the Plaintiff’s uncooperative and combative nature, a medical blood draw was ordered with the results indicating that the Plaintiff had a blood serum concentration of 374.

    The Plaintiff alleged that Greentech was negligent by failing to maintain the construction site in a reasonably safe condition, failing to adequately warn the general public of the dangerous condition at the construction site, and failing to have a proper maintenance/safety plan in place to protect the general public. Additionally, the Plaintiff alleged violation of §768.10 Florida Statute “Pits and holes left open” claiming that Greentech left open an unguarded fence that was at a greater depth and breadth two feet. Pursuant to §768.11 Florida Statutes, the Plaintiff was seeking double the actual damages incurred.

    The defense claimed that the Plaintiff was a trespasser on private property, that the construction site and construction trench were maintained in a reasonably safe condition, and that adequate warnings were employed by way of construction fencing and caution tape. Additionally, the defense claimed that the Plaintiff was precluded from recovery based on the fact that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher at the time of the subject incident, and that the Plaintiff was more than 50% liable for his injuries in accordance with Florida Statute §768.36 “Alcohol or Drug Defense.”

    The Plaintiff claimed $105,000 in past medical bills and $150,000 in future medical bills.

    The jury deliberated for over two hours before returning a defense verdict finding that the Plaintiff had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, and that the Plaintiff was more than 50% liable for his injuries. Therefore, the Plaintiff was barred from recovery in accordance with Florida Statute §768.36 “Alcohol or Drug Defense.”