Tsafatinos v. Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc.

116 So. 3d 576 (2013)

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Tsafatinos v. Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc.

Florida District Court of Appeal
116 So. 3d 576 (2013)

Facts

Terry Tsafatinos (plaintiff) leased commercial property to Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc. (Family Dollar) (defendant). The lease agreement gave Family Dollar full possession and control of the leased property. David Sugas, a Family Dollar employee, was injured after he tripped and fell on uneven flooring. Family Dollar provided workers’-compensation benefits to Sugas. Sugas then sued Tsafatinos, arguing that Tsafatinos’s negligent maintenance of the property caused Sugas’s injuries. Tsafatinos filed a third-party complaint against Family Dollar for common-law indemnification, arguing that the lease agreement established a special relationship between Family Dollar and Tsafatinos, that Tsafatinos was without fault for Sugas’s injuries, and that any liability imposed on Tsafatinos would be vicarious liability for Family Dollar’s negligence. Family Dollar moved to dismiss Tsafatinos’s third-party complaint, arguing that (1) because the right of contribution between tortfeasors was rendered effectively obsolete by Florida’s recent abolishment of joint-and-several liability for tortfeasors, third-party claims for common-law indemnity were also obsolete; and (2) Tsafatinos could not raise a third-party negligence claim against Family Dollar because Sugas did not plead Family Dollar’s negligence in his underlying action. The trial court agreed and dismissed Tsafatinos’s third-party complaint with prejudice. Tsafatinos appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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