Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 5D13–2104.

Decision Date16 January 2015
Docket NumberNo. 5D13–2104.,5D13–2104.
Citation155 So.3d 471
PartiesJennifer SCHWARTZ, Appellant/Cross–Appellee, v. WAL–MART STORES, INC., Appellee/Cross–Appellant.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

155 So.3d 471

Jennifer SCHWARTZ, Appellant/Cross–Appellee
v.
WAL–MART STORES, INC., Appellee/Cross–Appellant.

No. 5D13–2104.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

Jan. 16, 2015.


155 So.3d 472

James C. Blecke, Coral Gables, and Joel Kaplan, of Kaplan and Freedman, P.A., Miami, for Appellant/Cross–Appellee.

Elliot H. Scherker and Brigid F. Cech Samole, and Jay A. Yagoda, of Greenberg, Traurig, P.A., Miami, for Appellee/Cross–Appellant.

Opinion

LAMBERT, J.

Jennifer Schwartz filed suit against Wal–Mart Stores, Inc. (“Wal–Mart”) alleging

155 So.3d 473

that as a result of the negligence of Wal–Mart's employees, she was struck in the back by an ornamental pumpkin1 while shopping and, as a result, sustained injuries. Wal–Mart admitted that its employees committed a negligent act but vigorously contested causation and damages. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a zero-damages verdict, finding that Wal–Mart was not the legal cause of Schwartz's claimed loss, injury, or damages. Thereafter, the trial court granted Schwartz's motion for new trial as to “issues of damages for initial medical evaluation sought by [Schwartz] after the accident and nothing more. ” (emphasis added). Schwartz appeals this order, contending that the retrial on damages should not be so limited. Wal–Mart cross-appeals, arguing that based on the trial evidence and the jury's finding, the trial court erred in granting the new trial. We agree with Wal–Mart and reverse and remand for reinstatement of the jury verdict.

We ordinarily review an order granting a motion for new trial under an abuse of discretion standard. Brown v. Estate of Stuckey, 749 So.2d 490, 497–98 (Fla.1999). However, when a motion for new trial addresses only issues of law, as here, our review is de novo. Van v. Schmidt, 122 So.3d 243, 258–59 (Fla.2013).

To prevail on her negligence claim, Schwartz had to prove four elements: duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. Kaplan v. Morse, 870 So.2d 934, 937 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004). Causation is an essential element of negligence, and a plaintiff is entitled to recover only for injury, loss, or damage caused by a defendant's negligence. Jordan v. Lamar, 510 So.2d 648, 649 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987). The existence of a duty of care is generally a question of law to be determined by the court, while breach, causation, and damages are generally questions to be decided by the trier of fact. Jackson Hewitt, Inc. v....

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9 cases
  • K. B. v. City of Venice
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • December 23, 2019
    ...owed a duty of care, breached that duty, caused the harm she suffered, and that she suffered damages. Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 155 So. 3d 471, 473 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). "The existence of a duty of care is generally a question of law to be determined by the court, while breach, caus......
  • McKenzie-Wharton v. United Airlines, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • September 22, 2016
    ...a negligence claim requires proof of a causal link between the negligent conduct and the claimed injury. Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 155 So. 3d 471, 473 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015); Townsend v. Pierre, 110 A.3d 52,61 (N.J. 2015). Three months after filing its first motion for summary judgmen......
  • Meyers v. Shontz, Case No. 2D17-1681
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • July 13, 2018
    ...specific plaintiff, but still not be liable for negligence because proximate causation cannot be proven."); Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 155 So.3d 471, 473 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) ("Causation is an essential element of negligence, and a plaintiff is entitled to recover only for injury, lo......
  • Lancheros v. Burke
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 12, 2023
    ... Hernando J. Lancheros and VL Auto Transport, Inc., Appellants, v. Ryan Burke, Appellee. No ... defendant's negligence. Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, ... Inc., 155 So.3d 471, 473 ... ...
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1 books & journal articles
  • Negligence cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Florida Causes of Action
    • April 1, 2022
    ...So.2d 368, 371 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997). 2. Kaplan v. Morse , 870 So.2d 934, 937 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004). 3. Schwartz v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , 155 So.3d 471, 473 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). 4. Townes v. National Deaf Academy, LLC, 197 So.3d 1130 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016) (distinguishing ordinary negligence cla......

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