TARGET CORPORATION, a foreign for profit corporation, Appellant,
LAZARO KAUFER, and KATIA KAUFER, his wife, Appellees.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
and cross-appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth
Judicial Circuit, Broward County; John Thomas Luzzo, Judge;
L.T. Case No. CACE10-029778 (09).
Derrevere and Shirley Jean McEachern of Derrevere Stevens
Black & Cozad, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Levy and Ryan I. Marks of Jay M. Levy, P.A., Miami, and
Samuel M. Spatzer of Samuel M. Spatzer, P.A., Miami, for
Corporation appeals a final judgment entered in favor of
Lazaro Kaufer and Katia Kaufer for injuries sustained from a
slip-and-fall accident at one of its stores, raising multiple
issues on appeal. Our resolution of the first issue-that the
circuit court erred in denying Target's motion for
directed verdict-renders the others moot.
shopping at a Target store, Mr. Kaufer slipped on some liquid
laundry detergent on the floor. The resulting fall injured
him, causing him to incur medical expenses. The testimony at
trial indicates an unknown person walking in front of Mr.
Kaufer was carrying a gallon bottle of "leaking"
laundry detergent. Mr. Kaufer slipped on the leaking
Kaufers sued Target for negligence. The jury found Target
partially liable for Mr. Kaufer's fall, awarding him
$250, 000 in damages and Mrs. Kaufer $30, 000 for loss of
consortium. After the trial court denied Target's
post-trial motions, Target appealed the final judgment.
appeal, Target focuses on the trial court's denial of its
motion for directed verdict. We review the court's ruling
de novo. Liggett Grp., Inc. v. Davis, 973 So.2d 467,
470 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).
argued different theories in support of its motion for
directed verdict and we address one: that Mr. Kaufer failed
to sufficiently plead a prima facie case for negligence under
the theory of negligent mode of operation. In response, Mr.
Kaufer argued that the negligent mode of operation was
Target's "corporate policy of having a clear very
high gloss, wet-look finish on its floors in its stores which
caused the bright overhead lights to reflect off the tile
which created a dangerous condition by causing spills of
clear and translucent liquids to be undetectable."
claim is governed by section 768.0710, Florida Statutes
(2009), which provides, in relevant part:
(2) In any civil action for negligence involving loss,
injury, or damage to a business invitee as a result of a
transitory foreign object or substance on business premises,
the claimant shall have the burden of proving that:
(a) The person or entity in possession or control of the
business premises owed a duty to the claimant;
(b) The person or entity in possession or control of the
business premises acted negligently by failing to exercise
reasonable care in the maintenance, inspection, repair,
warning, or mode of operation of the business premises.
Actual or constructive notice of the transitory foreign
object or substance is not a required element of proof to
this claim. However, evidence of notice or ...