Nondelegable Duty of Florida Landowners to Maintain Safe Premises

Companies and individuals in possession or control of real property have a nondelegable duty to keep that property in a reasonably safe condition. Liability for personal injuries caused by a breach of the duty cannot be avoided by hiring an independent contractor to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.

A recent example was reported in the Florida appellate case Armiger v. Associated Outdoor Clubs Inc. (Fla. App., 2010). Mr. Armiger sued Associated and Clean Sweep Supply Company after he slipped and fell in a puddle of water in the grandstand of a greyhound track operated by Associated. Although Associated had contracted with Clean Sweep to clean and maintain the areas of the facility — including the grandstand — that were open to the public during racing performances, Associated was held to answer for Clean Sweep’s alleged acts of negligence.

The duty to maintain adequate security also is nondelegable.

Although the duty to maintain is nondelegable, the party directly responsible for the alleged negligence – Clean Sweep, in the case above cited – can also be held to account. With many factors to consider, the lawyer representing the injured party must decide which of the parties to target. One or both can be pursued.

Topping the list of reasons why the law is sound, is the role it plays in motivating the selection of responsible independent contractors. Without the law, cost instead of safety might be the most important factor in the selection of independent contractors.

We do not want profits to be more important than people.
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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.