General Liability

Wicker Smith has extensive experience with legal and business issues including personal injury, property damage, premises liability, and economic loss. Our attorneys have established themselves as leaders in the defense of claims against a variety of businesses and property owners in premises liability claims throughout the state of Florida and beyond. We have successfully represented insurance companies and private business owners, operators, developers, franchisors, franchisees, and management companies of residential and commercial properties for catastrophic injury, wrongful death, and property damage. Our attorneys routinely litigate the everyday issues facing our clients such as security, lighting and maintenance issues, industry standards, and lessor/lessee contract provisions, among other common issues.

Wicker Smith prioritizes claim prevention – helping clients to manage their businesses effectively and safely – as well as skillfully handling litigation if the need arises. Our extensive experience has equipped our attorneys to handle all aspects of litigation, from trial to alternative dispute resolution techniques, including mediation and pre-trial conferences.

Our clients include insurance companies, large retailers, restaurants, theme parks and resorts, transportation companies, and developers and owners of a variety of other businesses.

$1.5 Million Defense Verdict in Federal Court

Attorneys: Jaime J. Baca, Marlene Brito

This case involved an alleged slip and fall on liquid soap that had leaked onto the floor. There was conflicting evidence and testimony about where the soap spill originated, what caused it, and how long the alleged dangerous condition existed prior to the accident. The defense contended that the spill was caused by the plaintiff, as the soap leaked out of a bottle that was in her shopping cart. Plaintiff underwent multiple pain management treatments, epidurals, facet blocs, RFAs and ultimately a low back laminectomy. Pre- and post-accident MRIs were in dispute as to whether they showed a larger herniation. Plaintiff was a Medicare recipient with a significant medical history prior to the subject incident but switched to treating under Letters of Protection after the subject incident. The trial team had their work cut out for them, sorting through over 1,500 pages of medical records and over 60 MRIs and CT scans. Ultimately, they were able to show that the complaints the plaintiff made to her regular doctors were not as severe as those she made to the LOP doctors, and defense experts argued that a review of the MRI scans from before and after the incident showed no change in condition. In addition to refuting Plaintiff’s allegations regarding her injuries, the defense argued that the condition of the floor was open and obvious. Evidence showed that the store had conducted its regular walk-through inspection just 10 minutes prior to the incident and found no dangerous condition. After a four-day trial, Plaintiff asked the jury for $1.5 million. The jury, led by a 30-year-old foreperson, deliberated for 45 minutes and came back with a complete defense verdict.

Defense Verdict in a Trip and Fall Case

Attorneys: Joseph P. Menello

Plaintiff in this case alleged that she sustained a broken elbow requiring two surgeries as a result of being tripped by a store employee at the coffee station inside the store. The evidence showed that the incident was a result of the employee stepping backwards while straightening a floor mat, and that the employee did not see the Plaintiff before the collision occurred. The store contended that the employee had not acted unreasonably and that there was no negligence as the incident was clearly an accident. The jury agreed, and returned a verdict of no liability against our client in 37 minutes.

$6.5 Million Defense Verdict on Behalf of a Popular Restaurant

Attorneys: Michael E. Reed, David Bolen

Plaintiff alleged that he suffered a ruptured esophagus as a result of eating defective seafood served to him at the defendant restaurant. Plaintiff asked the jury for $6.5 million, but they returned a defense verdict.

Directed Verdict Granted in Palm Beach County

Attorneys: Mark H. Ruff Jr., Todd Barron

This case involved a police officer in the Town of Palm Beach who was looking for a suspect at the beach house portion of our client’s 5-acre Palm Beach mansion. While cutting through shrubbery, he jumped over a wall and fell into a tunnel that connected our client’s beach house to his estate on the other side of A1A. The trial was bifurcated and we only tried liability. The jury returned a split verdict, assigning 55% of the negligence to plaintiff. We later received a directed verdict.

Defense Verdict on Behalf of an Apartment Complex

Attorneys: James R. Brown, Jason R. Hull

Plaintiff alleged a slip and fall in her own apartment related to water leaking from the air conditioner. Plaintiff retained a well-known local expert as her life care planner who intended to offer medical causation opinions that were outside his medical specialty, but the defense was successful in prohibiting that testimony. Plaintiff’s last demand was $950,000, but the jury returned a complete defense verdict. 

Defense Verdict in a Slip and Fall Case on Behalf of an Orlando-Area Theme Park

Attorneys: Kurt M. Spengler

Plaintiff alleged she slipped and fell on a transitory foreign substance that occurred with regularity on theme park’s premises. Plaintiff argued that the theme park should have known of the substance and was negligent for failing to warn of the substance and failing to maintain the premises. After an 8-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict.

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