FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Paul L. Huey,
A. Burns of Burns, P.A., for Appellant.
C. Mandell, City Attorney, and Kristin Serafin Ottinger,
Assistant City Attorney, City of Tampa, for Appellee.
Wilson challenges the trial court's order dismissing with
prejudice her complaint against the City of Tampa
(hereinafter "the City"). The trial court
determined that prior to the commencement of her civil
action, Ms. Wilson failed to comply with the statutory
requirement of presuit notice demanded by section 768.28(6),
Florida Statutes (2011). Ms. Wilson advances two contentions
of trial court error: first, the trial court erred as a
matter of law by determining that her presuit notice did not
comport with the requirements of section 768.28(6) and, next,
should this court conclude that the trial court did not err,
its subsequent dismissal of her action with prejudice was an
abuse of discretion and therefore error.
conclude that Ms. Wilson's first contention is
meritorious and hold that the trial court erred in its
conclusion of noncompliance. Accordingly, it is unnecessary
to reach the second contention's merits.
Wilson filed suit against the City on March 12, 2015,
alleging that on April 7, 2011, she was picking up trash in
her yard at 1420 Jean Street in Tampa when a storm drain in
the custody and control of the City suddenly and unexpectedly
broke, causing her to fall into the sewer and become
Ms. Wilson's complaint asserted that she properly filed
the notice of claim as required by section 768.28. Through a
motion to dismiss, the City challenged this assertion,
contending the statutory notice requirement had not been met.
The City claimed the notice was deficient in three respects:
first, it did not provide a specific address for the storm
drain's location; second, it did not state the time the
incident occurred; and, finally, the notice failed to
properly address the sex of Ms. Wilson. At the hearing on the
motion to dismiss, the City abandoned the latter two bases of
the motion. Therefore, the issue in this appeal is whether
the notice was insufficient due to its failure to specify an
exact street address.
NOTICE OF CLAIM
instituting her action, on March 30, 2012, Ms. Wilson
provided a written notice of claim by certified mail to the
City's Risk Management Department. The notice provides
her name, date of birth, and other identifying information.
It also states that Ms. Wilson was injured when she was
"clearing grass out of the yard, " she stepped on a
storm drain grate, and the grate broke. Regarding the
location of the accident, the notice states:
"Place of Accident: Jean St., Tampa, Hillsborough
County, FL on ...