Hazardous Floor Conditions in
Business Establishments

On April 14, 2010, Gov. Crist signed HB 689 into law.  Designated now as Ch. 2010-8, Laws of Florida, the act codifies the common law regarding the burden of proof in slip and fall cases to its approximate state as it existed prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Owens v. Publix Supermarket, Inc., 802 So.2d 315 (Fla. 2001).  It also repeals §768.0710, Fla. Stat., a compromise that was enacted in 2002 in response to the Owens decision.

Ch. 2010-8 creates §768.0755, Fla. Stat., and provides that 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 remedy it. Under the bill constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing either (1) that the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or (2) that the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

The legislation took effect on July 1, 2010 and is silent as to whether it is intended to apply to pending cases.