Martin v. Venice Hosp., 91-03399

Decision Date26 August 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-03399,91-03399
Citation603 So.2d 1377
PartiesDenise C. MARTIN, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Richard Scott Martin, Deceased, Appellant, v. VENICE HOSPITAL and Gondolier Investment Co., Inc., Appellees. 603 So.2d 1377, 17 Fla. L. Week. D2002
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Michael D. Eriksen of Romano, Eriksen & Cronin, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

Claire Hamner Matturro of Dickinson, Gibbons, Shields, Partridge, Dahlgren & Collins, P.A., Sarasota, for appellees.

CAMPBELL, Judge.

Appellant, the widow of a construction worker who was electrocuted while working on a parking garage for appellee hospital, challenges the final summary judgment entered in favor of the hospital. We reverse because we believe that genuine issues of material fact remain.

At the time of the accident, the hospital had a "handshake agreement" with a construction company, Barton-Malow, for the construction of the parking garage. The project was being coordinated by the OAM team, a group composed of representatives of the owner-hospital, the architect and the construction manager, Barton-Malow. Barton-Malow brought decedent's employer, Speeler Marine Corporation, to the site to perform test piling work prior to beginning construction.

Running down the middle of the site for the proposed garage was an uninsulated 7,620-volt power line. On the morning of the accident, the Speeler crew was using a crane to move an air compressor from one location on the site to another. It was decedent's job to hold onto the suspended compressor and, by giving signals to the crane driver, direct the crane around the high-voltage wires. During this maneuver, the crane's boom touched the wires, electrocuting decedent.

In her complaint, decedent's widow alleged that the hospital had undertaken to do its own contracting for the parking garage and remained actively involved in supervising the work and the scheduling, and thereby had a duty to the workers on its property that it breached when it failed to ensure that the overhead lines were relocated before it allowed the test piling crew to go on site.

The liability of the hospital, as property owner, depends upon the degree to which the hospital actively participated in the construction. As stated by the Florida Supreme Court:

[T]he owner may be held liable if he has been actively participating in the construction to the extent that he directly influences the manner in which the work is performed. Conversely, if the owner is a passive nonparticipant, exercising no direct control over the project, he cannot be held liable. To impose liability upon an owner who is not an employer as defined by the statute, one or more specific identifiable acts of negligence, i.e., acts either negligently creating or negligently approving the dangerous condition resulting in the injury or death to the employee, must be established.

Conklin v. Cohen, 287 So.2d 56, 60 (Fla.1973).

Appellee hospital moved for summary judgment on two alternative grounds: (1) The hospital was a passive, nonparticipating owner whose control over the project was insufficient to create duties of care to the decedent; and (2) if the hospital did retain enough control over the project to create duties of due care to the decedent, that control would thereby...

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3 cases
  • 1998 -NMCA- 157, Enriquez v. Cochran
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • July 30, 1998
    ...control to create a duty of reasonable care to Superior's employees." 121 N.M. at 670, 916 P.2d at 1337; see Martin v. Venice Hosp., 603 So.2d 1377, 1379 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1992) (control sufficient to implicate tort liability not necessarily equivalent to control imposing worker's compensati......
  • Harger v. Structural Services, Inc.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • April 17, 1996
    ...Jaynes retained a sufficient level of control to create a duty of reasonable care to Superior's employees. See Martin v. Venice Hosp., 603 So.2d 1377, 1379 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1992) (concluding that control over certain aspects of the work, sufficient for tort liability, is not equivalent to o......
  • Armenteros v. Baptist Hosp. of Miami, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • June 10, 1998
    ...duty to exercise reasonable care, which is caused by his failure to exercise his control with reasonable care. See Martin v. Venice Hosp., 603 So.2d 1377, (Fla. 2d DCA 1992); Clerkin v. Kendall Town & Country Assoc., 535 So.2d 288 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988). Also, there was no evidence that althoug......

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