FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2018
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
DEFENSE THEORY DOCTRINE DICTATES GENERAL CONTRACTOR IS NOT
LIABLE AFTER CONSTRUCTION WORK WAS FINALIZED AND
ACCEPTED BY SHOPPING CENTER OWNER
Third Party Claim, Negligence, Breach of Contract, Vicarious Liability
Rawls, June v. Hecht Bird Road Property, LTD. and Horizon Properties of Miami, Inc. v. Trans Florida Development Corp.
MIAMI ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Miami office partner Jaime E. Campos, obtained a final summary judgment on behalf of Trans Florida Development Corp.
The Plaintiff claimed she tripped and fell over an area of elevated asphalt pavement in the parking lot of a Miami commercial shopping center. Because of the incident, the Plaintiff claimed she sustained a left foreman fracture which required surgery. The Plaintiff sought a significant six figure recovery for her claimed past medical bills, future medical bills, and non-economic damages.
The Plaintiff sued the owner and property manager of the commercial shopping center asserting claims of negligence. Thereafter, the owner of the shopping center filed a Third Party Complaint against Trans Florida for negligence, breach of contract, and common law indemnity. Trans Florida is a general contractor retained by the property owner to construct the shopping center several years prior to the incident involving the Plaintiff.
At the close of discovery, Trans Florida moved for Summary Judgment based on the Slavin doctrine. The Slavin doctrine is a defense theory with its roots from the 1958 Florida Supreme Court case of Slavin v. Kay, 108 So.2d 462 (Fla. 1958). The Slavin doctrine holds that a contractor is not liable to third parties for injury or death if the contractor can show that the work was completed, the work was accepted by the owner, and that the alleged defective condition was patent. The main issue on summary judgment was whether the elevated area of pavement in the parking lot was a patent or latent condition. At the summary judgment hearing, Trans Florida relied on the deposition testimony of the property manager, the Plaintiff’s own engineering expert, and photographs of the parking lot to show that the elevated area of pavement was a patent condition. The trial judge agreed and granted final summary judgment in favor of Trans Florida.
Trans Florida served Third Party Plaintiff with a proposal for settlement prior to summary judgment being entered. After summary judgment was entered, Trans Florida filed a Motion to Tax Attorney’s Fees and Costs against the Third Party Plaintiff. Just prior to the hearing on Trans Florida’s Motion to Tax Attorney’s Fees and Costs, Third Party Plaintiff agreed to pay for Trans Florida’s attorney’s fees and costs.
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Jaime E. Campos, a partner in the Miami office, focuses on construction defect, roadway construction liability, products liability, automotive liability, commercial trucking, premise liability, wrongful death cases, and commercial litigation matters. He obtained his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.