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Florida Court Rules that Products Liability Case is Barred Due to Statute of Repose

swimming pooolIf you have been injured by a faulty product, it is important to consult a qualified Miami injury lawyer as soon as possible. Personal injury claims are governed by strict time limits, and acting fast can make all the difference in your case.

In Dominguez v. Hayward Industries, Inc., the plaintiff suffered a serious head injury when the filter of his swimming pool exploded in November 2012. The plaintiff later filed a lawsuit against the filter manufacturer, the distributor, and the installer of the filter to the swimming pool. The lawsuit was based on the legal theories of products liability and negligence.

The defendants responded by filing a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the 12-year statute of repose barred the lawsuit under Section 95.031 of the Florida Statutes. The statute of repose is essentially the same as the statute of limitations because it bars claims after a certain time period has passed. Put another way, if a plaintiff does not file within the statute of repose, he or she will be permanently barred from bringing the claim.

The trial court sided with the defendants’ reasoning that the plaintiffs were barred by the statute of repose because the pool and filter were delivered and installed in 1999, which is 13 years prior to when the accident took place.

On appeal, the plaintiffs claimed that the statute of repose was inapplicable, since the pool filter installation represented an improvement to their real property. It is important to note that products liability cases in Florida are subject to a four-year statute of limitations and a 12-year statute of repose. The statute of repose begins to run when a defective product is delivered or purchased. Under Florida law, improvements to real property fall within an exception to the 12-year time frame in products liability cases.

After reviewing the concept of “improvements to real property,” the Third District Court of Appeals found that the components of a system, such as a pool filter, do not constitute improvements to real property under the relevant Florida law.

The Florida Supreme Court stated that an “improvement” is a valuable addition made to the property, as opposed to mere reparations or replacements. The court further explained that component parts are not considered improvements. The Third District ruled that a pool filter is a component part, not an improvement. Thus, the statute of repose barred the plaintiff’s claim.

If you are have been hurt by a flawed product, it is important to seek the help of a qualified attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our knowledgeable Miami premises liability attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and determination to handle virtually all types of personal injury claims. No matter what legal issues you face, we can help. Our experienced and diligent team will guide you through each step of the process. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. To learn more, feel free to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

Fatal Car Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, September 25, 2015

Falling Merchandise Injuries in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, August 31, 2015

Eleventh Circuit Makes Evidentiary Ruling in Florida Slip-and-Fall Case Involving Expert Testimony, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, August 31, 2015