final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 15-23355 Jorge E. Cueto, Judge.
Law Firm, P.A., and Mutaqee N. Akbar and Brandi J. Thomas
(Tallahassee), for appellant.
Abigail Price-Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney, and
Korissa Lepore, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee
Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County d/b/a Jackson
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SUAREZ and SCALES, JJ.
Craig Simmons, the plaintiff below, appeals a circuit court
order granting appellee, the defendant below, Jackson
Memorial Hospital's (the "Hospital") motion to
dismiss Simmons's amended complaint with prejudice. We
reverse the trial court's dismissal order because the
allegations in Simmons's amended complaint do not
establish, as a matter of law, that Simmons's lawsuit
against Hospital is a claim for medical malpractice that
requires compliance with the notice provision of section
766.106 of the Florida Statutes.
Facts and Procedural Background
was a resident psychiatric patient at a facility operated by
Hospital. On October 11, 2013, another resident psychiatric
patient, Gerald Allen, came into Simmons's room and beat
Simmons with a metal handrail that Allen had removed from a
hallway wall of the hospital. Simmons suffered injuries to
his face and head. Simmons sued Hospital for negligence, and
in his multi-count amended complaint,  Simmons alleged
that Hospital had an affirmative duty both to (i) provide
security to Simmons, and (ii) train its staff to recognize
and address emergency situations such as the assault on
Simmons. Simmons alleged that Hospital breached these duties
by failing to correct the situation before the assault on
Simmons occurred, and by failing to properly train its staff
members to provide proper supervision and control of their
moved to dismiss Simmons's amended complaint, asserting
that, irrespective of how Simmons's counts were labeled,
Simmons's claims were actually medical malpractice
claims, and that dismissal, therefore, was required because
Simmons did not provide Hospital with the pre-suit notice
required by section 766.106(2)(a) of the Florida
Statutes. Focusing on both the allegations of
Simmons's amended complaint and the relevant statutory
language of Florida's medical malpractice act, chapter
766 of the Florida Statutes (2013), Hospital argued that (i)
Simmons's complaint - alleging Hospital's failures of
security, supervision and training - essentially asserted a
"breach of the prevailing professional standard of
care," § 766.102(1), Fla. Stat. (2013); and (ii)
Simmons's alleged damages arose "out of the
rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or
services." § 766.106(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2013).
These allegations, according to Hospital, were sufficient to
bring Simmons's claim within the ambit of chapter 766,
requiring compliance with chapter 766's conditions
with Hospital's argument, the trial court granted
Hospital's motion, and dismissed Simmons's amended
complaint with prejudice. Simmons timely appealed.
Standard of Review
determination of whether a complaint alleges a claim for
medical malpractice is a legal one and is, therefore,
reviewed de novo." Nat'l Deaf Academy, LLC v.
Townes, 242 So.3d 303, 308 (Fla. 2018). "Because of
the statutory restrictions and requirements that apply only
to medical malpractice claims, any 'doubt' as to
whether a claim is for ordinary negligence or medical
malpractice should be 'generally resolved in favor of the
claimant.'" Id. at 309 (quoting J.B. v.
Sacred Heart Hosp. of Pensacola, 635 So.3d 945, 947