Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court
of Appeal - Direct Conflict of Decisions, Third District -
Case No. 3D16-959, (Miami-Dade County)
D. Rodman and Stephanie Vega Graves of Friedman, Rodman &
Frank, P.A., Miami, Florida; and Pamela Beckham and Robert J.
Beckham, Jr., of Beckham & Beckham, P.A., Miami, Florida, for
Price-Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney, and Joni A.
Mosely and Erica S. Zaron, Assistant County Attorneys, Miami,
Florida, for Respondent
Petitioner, Christopher Sanchez, brought a "negligent
security" claim against Respondent, Miami-Dade County
(the County), after being shot and injured at a birthday
party hosted at one of the Countys public parks (the Park).
He seeks review of Sanchez v. Miami-Dade County, 245
So.3d 933, 934 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018), in which the Third
District Court of Appeal concluded that his claim was barred
by sovereign immunity. Sanchez explained that
Petitioners claim was predicated on the Countys alleged
failure to "allocat[e] off-duty police officers" to
the birthday party and that sovereign immunity "protects
[the Countys] policy and planning decisions about where to
allocate its limited police resources." Id. at
944. Recognizing that sovereign immunity may bar an action
even where a duty exists, Sanchez reached its
holding irrespective of any duty owed to Petitioner by the
County. See id. at 943 n.4 ("[D]uty is not an
Court granted jurisdiction on the ground that
Sanchez expressly and directly conflicts with the
Fourth District Court of Appeals decision in City of
Belle Glade v. Woodson, 731 So.2d 797 (Fla. 4th DCA
1999), on the question of whether the existence of a duty
renders sovereign immunity inapplicable. See art. V,
§ 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. Woodson concluded that
sovereign immunity did not shield a city from a personal
injury and wrongful death suit in which the plaintiffs
alleged that the city "fail[ed] to provide adequate
security" for a dance that took place on the premises of
the citys civic center. Woodson, 731 So.2d at 797.
Woodson specifically reasoned that sovereign
immunity was inapplicable because the city had "the same
common law duty as a private person to properly maintain and
operate the property." Id. at 798.
heard oral argument, we dismiss Petitioners petition for
review and decline to reach the merits of Sanchez .
We do so for two reasons. First, the conflict issue
here— i.e., the merging of duty and sovereign
immunity— has already been resolved by this Court in
opinions issued after the Fourth Districts decision in
Woodson . Those opinions make clear that duty and
sovereign immunity are not to be conflated. Second,
Petitioner argues to this Court a new theory of liability,
and this Court is not a forum for adjudicating matters that
were not presented below. Before more fully addressing these
two reasons for dismissal, we review the background of the
case and the Third Districts decision below.
Petitioner and another individual, Noel Pozos, were shot and
injured at the same party hosted at the Park. The Park
contains a shelter that the County rented to the party host
for the party. According to the Parks rental rules and
regulations, the party host— for what turned out to be
the size and nature of the party— was required to
obtain a broadcast permit from the County and hire off-duty
police officers. The party host instead hired private
security guards and did not obtain any permits. The only
County employee in attendance was a park service aide whose
responsibilities were largely to keep the area clean.
and Pozos filed separate negligent security suits against the
County alleging that the County "negligently failed to
allocate off-duty police officers as security to protect the
partygoers." Sanchez, 245 So.3d at 934. In both
cases, the County moved for summary judgment, arguing in
relevant part that the claim was barred by sovereign
Pozoss case, the trial court summarily denied the Countys
summary judgment motion, the County appealed, and the Third
District dismissed the appeal as a jurisdictional matter
after determining that the trial courts "unelaborated
order" was "a nonfinal, nonappealable order."
Miami-Dade County v. Pozos, 242 So.3d 1152, 1152-53
(Fla. 3d DCA 2017), discretionary review proceeding
stayed, No. SC18-1118 (Fla. July 19, 2018). Judge
Rothenberg dissented in Pozos, arguing that the
Third District had jurisdiction and that sovereign immunity
clearly barred the claim because "the Countys
actions" involved "a discretionary planning and/or
policy decision ... regarding where and how to deploy its
available manpower (sworn police officers)."
Id. at 1158, 1165-66 (Rothenberg, J., dissenting).
Petitioners case, the trial court granted the Countys
summary judgment motion, and the Third District in
Sanchez affirmed. Sanchez specifically
"agree[d] with and adopt[ed] the portion of Chief Judge
Rothenbergs Pozos dissent concluding under the
facts of this case that the county had sovereign
immunity." Sanchez, 245 So.3d at 934. The
Sanchez majority then separately addressed two
points raised by Judge Salter ...