Florida Record

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Judge notes absence of wet floor sign in denying motion for summary judgment in slip, fall at Fort Myers resort

Lawsuits

By Marian Johns | Jun 13, 2019


FORT MYERS – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently denied a motion for summary judgment requested by the owners of Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in a lawsuit filed by a woman alleging negligence after she slipped and fell on a wet tile floor in the resort's open air lounge.

In the May 30 filing, U.S. District Judge John Steele noted the absence of a wet floor sign in denying CP Sanibel's motion for summary judgment in the suit filed by Rachel Shipman. 

Shipman filed suit against CP Sanibel in March 2018 after she slipped and fell on water that had accumulated on the tile floor of the outside lounge area. In the lawsuit, she claimed there was no rain and that the water had not been on the floor prior to her accident. 

The resort owner argued that a permanent sign is in place at the entrance of the outside lounge that reads "please towel off before walking on the tile," court filings said. The resort also argued they "had no knowledge" of the dangerous condition and that it kept its property "in reasonably safe condition." The resort also claimed the alleged dangerous condition was obvious and that a "civil/structural engineer" concluded that although the tile in the lounge area is not "non-slip" it does not appear to "be inherently dangerous" if wet. 

Steele disagreed and concluded that " a jury could reasonably conclude that defendant (CP Sanibel) breached its duty to maintain its premises in reasonably safe condition by placing such tile in the lounge area." He also noted that on the day of Shipman's fall, the resort's wet floor sign that was usually on display was not present.

The court ruled that Shipman had "genuine issues of material fact" that "preclude the entry of summary judgment" and therefore denied the resort owner's motion for summary judgment. 

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