Open Memo Essay

Submitted By LStarling776
Words: 2004
Pages: 9

TO: Professor Stoddard
FROM: Jacob Butler, Section 5
RE: Open Memorandum Assignment
DATE: Monday, November 7, 2011

STATEMENT OF FACTS On July 4th, 2011, Brandi Burnett, a hair stylist from Geneva Alabama, drove down to Panama City, Florida, to attend a Jimmy Buffett tribute band concert at Honkers Bar & Grille. The bar is owned by Andy Allen. When Burnett arrived at Honkers around 6:00 p.m., it had been raining. The parking lot was wet and she heard thunder. As she entered the bar, she stepped on a floor mat in the entryway that “was soaked and oozing water.” She realized that the mat was too wet to dry her feet and stepped off the mat onto the concrete floor that had been painted with deck paint. Burnett then slipped and fell down three concrete steps, injuring her knee, breaking her arm in three places, and chipping a tooth. The steps did not have any type of railing. Burnett was wearing flip flops that did not offer much traction, but she was being careful because of the water. She had not been drinking the day of the incident and saw no warning or caution signs about the rain water. When she fell, she reached out to grab something to keep herself from falling and grabbed the security guard, Vinnie Smith, by the head. Smith is employed by Honkers and was on duty at the time of the accident, but Burnett believes she saw him asleep just before her fall. Smith reacted to Burnett’s grabbing his head by firing a bullet into her buttocks using a cane gun that is owned by Allen. When Allen gave Smith the firearm, Allen did not know it was loaded. Neither Smith nor any other Honkers employee offered aid to Burnett while she lay injured on the floor. After the fall, Burnett was taken to Gulf Coast Medical Center where she was treated for her injuries. The doctors performed surgery to remove a bullet from her buttocks and to put pins in her elbow. They billed her for the emergency room, doctors, and anesthesia. After the hospital released her and she returned home, Burnett was told that she lost her job at Cut ‘N Curl Hair Salon because the injuries to her right arm prevent her from performing certain aspects of her job. Burnett has not received any correspondence from Honkers, or its lawyers, since the incident.
ISSUE
1.) Whether, under current Florida statute, Burnett will be able to recover for injuries sustained as a result of slipping and falling, after stepping on a wet floor mat in the entry way to Honkers Bar & Grille, when there was water in the parking lot because it had been raining all afternoon.
2.) Whether, under current Florida law, Burnett will be able to recover under a theory of negligent entrustment of a firearm for injuries sustained as a result of being shot by an on duty security guard, who had been given a firearm by his employer, which the employer believed to be unloaded.
BRIEF ANSWER
1.) Yes. Burnett will likely be able to recover under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.0755 (West 2010) because she will be able to show that Allen, the owner of Honkers, had actual or constructive knowledge of the wet floor mat and should have taken action to remedy it.
2.) Maybe. Burnett can recover for her gunshot injury under a theory of negligent entrustment of a firearm if she can show that Allen knew, or had reason to know, that Smith was likely to use the firearm in a way that would cause unreasonable risk of physical harm to another person whom Smith should expect to be endangered by its use.
DISCUSSION
1.) Premises Liability For Brandi Burnett to have a valid cause of action for negligence; for her slip and fall incident, against Andy Allen d/b/a Honkers Bar & Grille, she will have to rely on Florida’s slip and fall statute which states: “If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to…