United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's motion for
partial summary judgment. (ECF No. 33.) After reviewing the
parties' written submissions and exhibits, and the
applicable law, the Court grants the
Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment
(ECF No. 33).
Felisia Williams was a passenger on board the Defendant's
vessel Carnival Splendor. (ECF No. 33 at 1.)
According to the Plaintiff, while on the ship, she slipped
and fell on a slippery condition on the floor of the Lido
Deck adjacent to the Pizza Pirate food station. (ECF No. 38
at 1.) The fall allegedly caused Williams to suffer serious
injuries including a concussion, brain injury, and deep
laceration injuries to her arm which have developed into
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). (Id.) The
Plaintiff then went to the ship's infirmary where she
received stitches for her injury. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 22.)
While being treated in the infirmary, the Plaintiff shifted
her weight to get off the examining table and fell off the
examining table. (ECF No. 38-1 at 232:21-23.) The table
tipped over and hit her on the head. (Id. at
127:11-178:12.) The Plaintiff testified that she did not
sustain any additional injuries to those already suffered
during the slip and fall (id. at 134:23-135:2) but
the examining table hit her on the head a second time.
(Id. at 220:19-21.)
Defendant moves for summary judgment on the allegations
related to the incident with the examining table in the
ship's infirmary. (ECF No. 33.) Although not pleaded as a
separate cause of action, the Plaintiff argues that
Carnival's medical staff failed to supervise the
Plaintiff while she was being treated and this resulted in
her falling off the examining table and hitting her head.
(ECF No. 38 at 9.)
judgment is proper if following discovery, the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits and
admissions on file show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. In
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
“view the evidence and all factual inferences therefrom
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and
resolve all reasonable doubts about the facts in favor of the
non-movant.” Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach,
707 F.3d 1244, 1247 (11th Cir. 2013) (quoting Skop v.
City of Atlanta, Ga., 485 F.3d 1130, 1143 (11th Cir.
2007)). So, when a conflict arises between the facts
presented by the parties, the Court must credit the nonmoving
party's version. Id. The moving party bears the
burden of proof to demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
“The moving party may meet its burden . . . by pointing
out to the court the absence of evidence to support the
non-moving party's case. The failure of proof concerning
an essential element of the non-moving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial and requires
the court to grant the motion for summary judgment.”
Isbell v. Carnival Corp., 462 F.Supp.2d 1232, 1235
(S.D. Fla. 2006) (Moreno, J.).
Defendant moves for summary judgment on the allegations
related to the infirmary incident arguing that the Plaintiff
has not put forth any evidence that the Defendant breached
the standard of care during the infirmary incident. (ECF No.
33 at 7.) The Defendant also argues that the Plaintiff fails
to prove that she sustained any damages causally related to
the infirmary incident. (Id. at 10.) In response,
the Plaintiff argues that because the incident in the
infirmary is a foreseeable consequence of Carnival's
negligence in the slip and fall, it does not have to prove
breach again. (ECF No. 38 at 8-9.) The Plaintiff also argues
that although she may have testified that she did not suffer
new injuries from falling off the examining table, she
testified that she suffered a second blow to the head.
(Id. at 12.) Upon careful review, the Court agrees
with the Defendant.
establish negligence based on the medical staff's
treatment of the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff must establish a
duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages.
Isbell, 462 F.Supp.2d at 1236. The Plaintiff argues
that she does not have to prove breach because the slip and
fall on the Lido Deck “serves as the basis of liability
for the foreseeable harm Plaintiff suffered during the later
medical treatment.” (ECF No. 38 at 12.) The Plaintiff
cites no case law to support this proposition. Instead, the
Plaintiff argues that “[t]he question presented is
whether the medical center incident was a foreseeable
intervening event or an unforeseeable, superseding
event.” (Id. at 8.) The issue of intervening
causes and foreseeability are questions of causation.
Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 281 cmt. h (1979);
§ 435 cmt. c. The Plaintiff fails to note that she must
also establish duty, breach, and damages to prevail on her
Where one who has suffered personal injuries by reason of the
negligence of another exercises reasonable care in securing
the services of a competent physician or surgeon, and in
following his advice and instructions, and his injuries are
thereafter aggravated or increased by the negligence,
mistake, or lack of skill of such physician or surgeon, the
law regards the negligence of the wrongdoer in causing the
original injury as the proximate cause of the damages flowing
from the subsequent negligent or unskillful treatment
thereof, and holds him liable therefor.
Nason v. Shafranski, 33 So.3d 117, 120-121 (Fla. 4th
DCA 2010) (citing Stuart v. Hertz, 351
So.2d 703, 707 (Fla. 1977)). If read carefully, this requires
that the medical provider act negligently or breach
some duty of care. Here, the only allegation related to the
medical provider's conduct is that “Carnival's
doctors failed to monitor the Plaintiff.” (ECF No. 38
at ¶ 36.) The Plaintiff does not put forth any expert
testimony that the Carnival doctor breached the standard duty
of care or otherwise acted negligently. There is no evidence
that Williams was left alone or unmonitored. In fact, there
is no dispute that she fell while the doctor was with her.
(Palacios Depo. at 35:12-20, ECF No. 28-2; Williams Depo. at
221:13-20, ECF No. 221.) Therefore, the Plaintiff has failed
to establish that Carnival's medical staff breached the
duty of care.
survive summary judgment, the Plaintiff must also present
record evidence that she suffered damages. Isbell,
462 F.Supp.2d at 1236. Here, Williams fails to put forth any
evidence of damages suffered from the infirmary incident
other than asserting that she hit her head, which
may have aggravated her previous injury. (ECF No. 38
at 12.) The Plaintiff does not argue that the infirmary
incident did indeed aggravate her existing head injury or
present expert testimony to ...