Premises Liability Depends on Control Over Property Not Property Ownership

Ethel Metsker v. Carefree of Colorado-Second District Court of Appeals

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Ethel Metsker suffered injuries when part of a vendor display collapsed on her during the 2008 Florida RV SuperShow, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Ms. Metsker subsequently filed an action against Carefree of Colorado, the vendor whose booth collapsed, and the Florida RV Trade Association, which sponsors, organizes, and manages the entire event.

However, a circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of Carefree on the grounds that Carefree did not own the land nor manage the event, and was therefore exempt from premises liability. This effectively released Carefree from liability in this case.

Metsker appealed the summary judgment entered in favor of Carefree, and the appellate court carefully reviewed Florida case law regarding premises liability.

The First District Court of Appeals summarizes liability law as depending upon control over a property. In other words, the lessee of a property who is given permission to carry out his business on premises owned by another entity is subject to premises liability if injury results from the actions or negligence of the lessee.

The Second District Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court’s summary judgment and remanded further proceedings.

Determining an at-fault party in a premises liability case can often be complicated because business owners or operators often do not own the premises on which an accident takes place. An experienced attorney from the team at Canan Law will work with you and research Florida’s legal precedents to determine who is at fault in your case. You’ll have St. Augustine’s most trusted team of attorneys by your side throughout your case to ensure that you achieve the result you seek.

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