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Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District
May 20, 2020, Decided
No. 4D19-1786, No. 4D19-1787
In consolidated cases, Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, LLC and Christine Cooper, a resident of the Center, appeal the trial court's order of dismissal of Cooper's complaint against Florida Power & Light for negligence and strict liability.1 Cooper sued both FPL and the Center, alleging that after Hurricane Irma, [*2] FPL's failure to restore power to the Center caused injuries to her. FPL moved to dismiss, arguing that it did not owe a duty to provide a continuous supply of electricity to the resident of the nursing home, because she was a member of the general public. FPL also argued that liability was precluded by its tariff provisions with the Public Service Commission. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint, agreeing that the tariff precluded liability and that FPL owed no common law duty to the nursing home residents. We affirm, as we agree with the trial court that FPL owes no common law duty to the general public to provide and maintain electrical service. Because there is no duty, we do not reach the question of whether the tariff precludes liability.
] The sufficiency of a complaint is a matter of law and dismissal of a complaint is reviewable by the de novo standard. See Siegle v. Progressive Consumers Ins. Co., 819 So. 2d 732, 734 (Fla. 2002). In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the appellate court's "gaze is limited to the four corners of the complaint." Goodall v. Whispering Woods Ctr., LLC, 990 So. 2d 695 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008). We therefore glean the facts from those allegations of the complaint directed at FPL.
Cooper was a resident of the Center, a skilled nursing facility, located in Broward [*3] County, Florida, when Hurricane Irma hit South Florida on Sunday, September 10, 2017. The Center lost power, and the air-conditioning system failed. While it regained some electricity, there was no power for air-conditioning and the Center did not have a generator to power the air-conditioning system. Despite the Center's assurances to appellant's relatives that appellant would receive the proper care, the residents were kept in sweltering conditions.
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2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 6981 *; 299 So. 3d 16; 45 Fla. L. Weekly D 1186
REHABILITATION CENTER AT HOLLYWOOD HILLS, LLC, Appellant, v. FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT COMPANY and HOLLYWOOD PROPERTY INVESTMENTS, LLC, Appellees.CHRISTINE COOPER, Appellant, v. FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT COMPANY and HOLLYWOOD PROPERTY INVESTMENTS, LLC, Appellees.
Prior History: [*1] Consolidated appeals from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; David A. Haimes, Judge; L.T. Case No. CACE17-022161.
electricity, foreseeability, hurricane, restore, traffic, outage, zone, air-conditioning, non-customer
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury, Torts, Elements, Duty, Foreseeability of Harm, Energy & Utilities Law, Utility Companies, Liability, Negligence, Duty, Affirmative Duty to Act, Voluntary Assumption of Duty, Causation, Proximate Cause