Saying the case involved “garden-variety slip and fall allegations,” a Florida appeals court Friday overturned a ruling that shielded a hospital from a lawsuit involving a woman who fell while walking to a restroom.
A panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal said a Duval County circuit judge had improperly agreed with St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Inc. that the case alleged medical negligence.
The circuit judge’s ruling would have shielded St. Vincent’s from the lawsuit because plaintiff Zadye Thomas did not comply with a notice requirement in medical-malpractice lawsuits.
The appeals court, however, said the case was not about medical negligence and, as a result, the notice requirement did not apply.
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“The only cause alleged for the slip and fall was that the floor was wet and slippery,” said Friday’s decision, written by Chief Judge James Edwards and joined by Judges Harvey Jay and Joe Boatwright. “The only duties allegedly breached were appellee’s (the hospital’s) duties to properly maintain the floor in a safe condition or to warn of the dangerous condition, i.e., the wet, slippery floor. Appellant (Thomas) did not allege that appellee had breached any prevailing professional standard of care owed to her by a health care provider, which allegation would be required to plead a medical malpractice claim. Appellant included customary, garden-variety slip and fall allegations: that the condition had existed long enough for appellee to have been on notice, and that she was injured and suffered damages as a result of appellee’s negligence.”
St. Vincent’s argued that Thomas was a patient and fell because she became weak while walking to a restroom with the assistance of a nurse, the appeals court said.
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