Florida Appellate Court Rules that Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Complaint Must be Reconsidered

Property owners in the state of Florida have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition so as not to cause harm to those who enter the land. If you or someone close to you has been injured on somebody else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. Ascertaining liability in premises liability cases can be complicated, which is why it is important to seek the help and guidance of an experienced Miami injury attorney who can determine the viability of your case.

In Grover v. Karl, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a bar and its owner after she slipped and fell at the bar when other patrons got into a fight. After sustaining the injury, the woman sued the property owner for negligence. In her original complaint, the woman claimed that another patron had intentionally attacked her. At deposition, however, she alleged that the fall took place when the bar manager shoved into her during the fight that took place between the other two patrons.

The bar owner responded to the woman’s lawsuit by filing a motion for summary judgment. According to the bar owner, he had no notice of the hazardous condition that caused the woman’s injuries. The plaintiff  filed a motion to amend her complaint and filed an affidavit explaining her contradictory testimony. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied the woman’s motion for leave to amend her complaint.

The Second District agreed with the lower court regarding the entry of the defendant’s summary judgment, but it disagreed with the denial of the plaintiff’s motion to amend. The appellate court explained that, as a general rule, denying a motion to amend is an abuse of discretion unless “it clearly appears that allowing the amendment would prejudice the opposing party, the privilege to amend has been abused, or amendment would be futile.” The appellate court noted that before a trial court can deny leave to amend, one of these three  factors must exist.

The Second District found that the record did not reflect that the lower court had considered whether the plaintiff’s proposed amendment was prejudicial, an abuse of the privilege, or futile. The trial court was required to find one of these factors existed before denying the woman’s motion to amend her complaint. Therefore, the Second District reversed and remanded for the trial court to reconsider the woman’s motion for leave to amend the complaint under the proper standard.

If you have been injured on another person’s property, you may be able to hold the property owner accountable for your harm. We are committed to getting you the justice and compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami premises liability attorneys are skilled advocates who are well-versed in this area of law. We represent clients across South Florida. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. To learn more, feel free to contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).

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Understanding Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 29, 2015

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