final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 12-4944, Jacqueline Hogan Scola and Bronwyn C.
Abigail Price-Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney, and
Altanese Phenelus, Assistant County Attorney, for appellant.
Lawrence J. Bohannon, P.A., and Keith E. Hope (Fort
Lauderdale), for appellee.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SUAREZ and SALTER, JJ.
County ("the County") appeals an adverse final
judgment and an order denying the County's motion for a
directed verdict, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and
a new trial ("post-trial motion") entered after a
jury verdict finding the County negligent for allowing a
grease spill to remain on a County-owned sidewalk, which
Wanda Jones ("Jones") alleged caused her to slip
and fall. For the following reasons, we find that the trial
court erred by denying the County's post-trial motion
because Jones failed to introduce evidence from which the
jury could infer that the County had notice of the dangerous
condition that caused Jones to slip and fall. We also find
that the trial court erred by permitting Jones to introduce
irrelevant and prejudicial County ordinances.
slipped and fell on a greasy sidewalk owned by the County
while visiting a barbeque stand located on private property
that was operated by V-II Sports Club, Inc. ("the Sports
Club"). Jones contended that a faulty grease disposal
system underneath the barbeque stand caused grease to spill
out onto the sidewalk. Jones suffered injuries from her fall
and sued the County and the Sports Club. In her operative
complaint, Jones alleged that the Sports Club was responsible
for creating the dangerous condition on the sidewalk, and she
alleged that the County negligently maintained the sidewalk
by allowing the dangerous condition to remain on the
trial, the jury found the Sports Club 50% liable, the County
50% liable, and Jones 0% liable. Thereafter, the County filed
its motion for a directed verdict, judgment notwithstanding
the verdict, and a new trial. The County argued, in relevant
part, that there was no evidence that the County had notice
of the dangerous condition on the sidewalk and that the trial
court erred by permitting Jones to introduce County
ordinances and other irrelevant and prejudicial evidence in
an attempt to prove that the County had notice. After the
trial court denied the County's post-trial motions, the
review the trial court's denial of a motion for a
directed verdict and a motion for judgment notwithstanding
the verdict de novo. Marriott Int'l, Inc. v. Am.
Bridge Bahamas, Ltd., 193 So.3d 902, 905 (Fla. 3d DCA
2015). The trial court's evidentiary rulings and denial
of a motion for a new trial are reviewed for an abuse of
discretion. Weatherly v. Louis, 31 So.3d 803, 805
(Fla. 3d DCA 2009); Padilla v. Buell, 797 So.2d 609
(Fla. 3d DCA 2001).
begin with the general principle in premises liability cases
that "[a]ll premises owners owe a duty to their invitees
to exercise reasonable care to maintain their premises in a
safe condition." Owens v. Publix Supermarkets,
Inc., 802 So.2d 315, 320 (Fla. 2001). "In order for
a plaintiff to recover for injuries received in a slip and
fall, the plaintiff must show that the defendant responsible
for the premises had actual or constructive notice of the
dangerous condition." Wilson-Greene v. City of
Miami, 208 So.3d 1271, 1274 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017) (quoting
Maryland Maint. Serv., Inc. v. Palmieri, 559 So.2d
74, 76 (Fla. 3d DCA 1990)); see also Encarnacion v.
Lifemark Hosps. of Fla., 211 So.3d 275, 278 (Fla. 3d DCA
2017). Constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition
"may be inferred from either: (1) the amount of time a
substance has been on the floor; or (2) the fact that the
condition occurred with such frequency that the owner should
have known of its existence." Delgado v. Laundromax,
Inc., 65 So.3d 1087, 1090 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).
instant case, Jones concedes that the County did not cause
the grease to spill onto its sidewalk and that the County did
not have actual knowledge of the grease on the sidewalk. We
also find no evidence in the record indicating how long the
grease was present on the sidewalk on the day that Jones
fell. To the contrary, Jones testified at trial that she did
not know how long the grease had been on the ground that day,
but that it appeared "fresh." Thus, the
County's appeal reduces down to a very specific question:
whether Jones presented ...