Governor Crist signed HB 689 into law, creating a mini tort reform change in the ongoing battle as to how slip and fall cases are handled in Florida. A Google search reveals over 1,400 news stories on the issue but many get the story wrong and most fail to give the specifics. Almost all of the coverage agrees that this favors business owners. Let’s see if we can do better (and be concise):
* The current law, F.S. 768.0710, sets out the “reasonable care” standard and the claimant has the burden to show a duty and breach thereof. Proof of actual or constructive notice of a transitory object is not required.
* The new law, effective July 1, 2010, repeals section 768.0710 and creates a brand new Florida Statute 768.0755, which includes a pro-business addition to the statute requiring a plaintiff to prove actual or constructive notice of a transitory substance which would then establish a breach of duty.
* My read, and I stand to be corrected, is that the new law applies only to actions which accrue (occur) on or after July 1.
* For those interested in the history of the bill and its twin, CS / SB 1224, see here.
* The twists and turns of the slip-and-fall battle date back to the 2001 Florida Supreme Court case of Owens v. Publix, which lead to the Legislature turnaround in 2002. A solid recount of the flip-flopping is here.
I recall that there are alternate tort claims for slip and falls relating to warning and maintaining — any guesses as to whether this will apply to both methods of suing for a slip and fall?
We’re open for comments below.