Tampa Team Wins Summary Judgment in High Value Complex Liability Case

Tampa, Florida, October 11, 2018— Lewis Brisbois’ Tampa office has obtained summary judgment for a property management client in a general liability case that had a potential value in excess of $30 million.

Our client was accused of negligence by the plaintiff, a teenager who suffered serious injuries, including catastrophic brain injuries, in a water tubing accident after their inner tube collided with a dock. The plaintiff alleged that our client and the Home Owners Association (HOA) that had hired the client were negligent in failing to create and enforce rules for usage of the lake, and for allowing an allegedly illegal dock to be built and continue to exist. The plaintiff relied on experts who asserted that the dock was illegal, violated permitting requirements and was a hazard to navigation.

Prior to and during litigation, numerous other parties involved in the accident, including a special district, and another property management company and HOA, settled for a combined amount in excess of $5.5 million.

Ultimately, we were successful in arguing that our client did not control the area, despite the access rights allegedly granted in the neighborhood covenants, and that the dock was open and obvious, which was admitted by witnesses. The court further agreed that any easement created by the covenants and restrictions or other documents of the HOA did not create access and control sufficient to impose liability.

The case was handled by Tampa Managing Partner John A. Rine, Partner Jason D. Hall and Associate Elizabeth Kirkhart.

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