Many people have been involved in barroom brawls that cause serious injury. The party suffering injury often does not cause the physical altercation or might even be an innocent bystander. The owner of the bar and the property can be liable to a person injured because of unsafe conditions on the premises. Owners of a bar or the commercial property where a bar is located have a legal duty to take reasonable care to prevent patrons from being hurt in a fight or to warn of the potential for brawl-related injuries. In this blog, our Miami personal injury attorneys discuss negligent security claims in the context of a court decision involving a woman injured in a fall during a bar fight.
In the Florida appellate case of Faber v. Pasco, the plaintiff sued Joseph Karl, the bar owner, and Karl of Pasco, the owner of the commercial property. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit alleging that the negligence of the defendants caused her injury when she was at The Karl Reef. The complaint alleged that the manager of the bar and the plaintiff were standing near each other when a fight erupted. The complaint also indicated that the plaintiff was the victim of an intentional attack that caused her to fall after another customer hit her.
However, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that the plaintiff’s testimony during her deposition conflicted with her complaint. The defendants contended that during her deposition the plaintiff indicated she was accidentally shoved during a fight between other patrons that caused her to fall. Based on the supposed contradiction between the allegations in the complaint and the plaintiff’s testimony during the deposition, the defendants contended the plaintiff could not establish the defendants had constructive notice of the danger to the fall victim.
Under the premises liability theory pursued by the plaintiff, the defendants could be liable for injuries to customers on the premises of a bar if the defendant knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on the premises. If the defendants know or should know of such a potential risk, they have a duty to provide an adequate warning or eradicate the dangerous condition. The defendants can have constructive knowledge if the condition is present long enough that the defendants should have discovered it with reasonable care in maintaining the premises. The plaintiff also must establish that the condition occurs with sufficient regularity that it was foreseeable.
After the defendants had filed their motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff filed an opposition in the form of an affidavit that indicated she incorrectly assumed the sequence of events. The trial judge granted summary judgment to the defendants and denied the request of the plaintiff for leave to amend the complaint. The 2nd DCA found the trial judge committed reversible error in denying the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. The appellate court found there was sufficient testimony in the defendants’ depositions for the plaintiff to have falsely perceived the sequence of events during the incident in the bar. The court on appeal also indicated that leave to amend was denied by the appellate court solely because the trial judge incorrectly assumed the plaintiff could not state sufficient facts to withstand summary judgment.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Victims and Families
Whether you are injured in a fall in a bar or a violent attack while visiting a local pub, the task of proving liability in a premises liability case can be complicated. Our experienced personal injury attorneys investigate diligently to uncover critical evidence, and we understand the complex legal requirements necessary to prevail against property owners and their insurance carriers.
The Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to pursue the results you desire. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.