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Florida Partners Obtain Full Reversal on Appeal in Premises Liability Lawsuit

Fort Lauderdale Partners Andrew S. Connell, Jr. and Michael K. McCaffrey recently secured an appellate victory on behalf of a national fuel and convenience store chain in the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal.

In this matter, a customer of our client alleged that she slipped and fell on a spill of gasoline mixed with oil in front of a fuel dispenser on the property of our client’s Palm Beach County location, in October 2015. As a result of the fall, the Plaintiff obtained multiple fractures and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. Our client’s surveillance video revealed that the spill was left by another customer’s vehicle approximately 111 seconds prior to the Plaintiff’s slip and fall incident.

At trial, the Plaintiff argued that the surface was slippery due to a “build-up” caused by lack of maintenance, thereby creating a hazardous condition that our client knew or should have known about, and failed to remedy and warn customers. The Plaintiff was granted a favorable verdict following a jury trial in Palm Beach County in January 2020.  The case was then heard on appeal in the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal. Our attorneys, Andy Connell and Michael McCaffrey, contended that the Plaintiff failed to meet her burden and improperly relied upon speculation, as well as improperly stacked inferences to support the “build-up” theory. In December 2021, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the jury verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, securing victory on behalf of our client.

Andy represents self-insured businesses and insurance companies in all types of general liability matters including premises, products and trucking cases. He litigates complex matters in both state and federal courts. Andy is a current member of Litchfield Cavo’s Executive Committee, and is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps reserve and Florida Army National Guard.

Michael concentrates his practice primarily on premises liability and insurance coverage litigation. He has extensive experience in the areas of general liability, and first- and third-party insurance coverage. Michael is also experienced in the areas of commercial litigation, products liability, class actions and appellate practice.