Court Explains Pleading Requirements In Florida Personal Injury Matters

Retail stores have a duty to provide their customers with a safe shopping environment, which includes remedying conditions that present a risk of harm. If a store neglects its obligations and a customer subsequently suffers injuries as a result, the injured party may be able to pursue claims for damages in a civil lawsuit. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases must comply with any applicable pleading standards, though, and if they do not, their claims may be dismissed. This was illustrated recently in an opinion issued by Florida court in which it dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint after finding it constituted a shotgun pleading. If you suffered harm in an accident in a store, you might be able to recover damages, and it is smart to consult a Florida personal injury lawyer regarding your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant’s retail store when she slipped and fell on a puddle. She suffered severe personal injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit angst the defendant in which she asserted a single claim of negligence. The defendant removed the case to federal court, after which the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, setting forth vicarious liability and loss of consortium claims under the negligence count. The defendant moved to dismiss the amended complaint alleging in part that it constituted a shotgun pleading and set forth conclusory allegations.

Pleading Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Matters

The court ultimately agreed with the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s amended complaint without prejudice. The court explained that a shotgun pleading is one in which the plaintiff fails to set forth distinct causes of action into separate counts as required by the pleading standards. The court explained that the amended complaint set forth a single negligence count, but within that count, the plaintiff asserted several different causes of action.

In other words, as there was only one count of negligence within the amended complaint, but there were several different legal theories, it constituted a shotgun pleading. The court elaborated that shotgun pleadings make it difficult for a defendant to answer the complaint and prepare for discovery. Further, the court pointed out that the factual allegations supporting the additional claims were sparse. The court stated that as each legal theory is a separate cause of action, it should be raised independently and supported by adequate factual allegations. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion but ruled that the plaintiff could amend her complaint to comply with the pleading standards.

Confer with a Trusted Florida Attorney

People should be able to shop without fear of suffering harm, but many parties are unfortunately injured by dangerous conditions encountered in retail stores. If you were hurt in an accident that happened while you were shopping, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney regarding your rights. The trusted Florida lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. possess the skills and resources needed to help you seek a favorable outcome, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or by calling 800-283-7442 to set up a consultation.




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