Slippery When Wet: $7.8M Verdict After Slip & Fall In Burger King Bathroom

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The Unusual Dance Floor

Hello there, I’m Samuel Lopez, a legal news reporter for USA Herald. I must say, my job often feels like the line in the 90s hit, “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground where they sang, “I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom”. Only in my case, it’s not about being busy, it’s about unfolding stories, and sometimes those stories just so happen to revolve around Burger King bathrooms.

A Slippery Situation

A remarkable case hit the Broward County courtroom recently. Richard Tulecki, represented by ace attorneys H. Ross Zelnick and Miguel A. Amador from Ginnis & Krathen PA, was awarded a whopping $7.8 million verdict. This came after a jury determined Seven Restaurants, a Burger King franchisee, as responsible for Tulecki’s bathroom slip-and-fall mishap in 2019. Believe it or not, this now ranks as one of the largest slip-and-fall verdicts in Florida’s history.

The High Price of Negligence

Tulecki’s injuries weren’t minor either. He had to undergo lower back surgery and even dealt with complications like a perforated colon after his operation. The attorneys’ pivotal success hinged on linking these grave health issues with Tulecki’s fall, backed by compelling medical records and expert testimonies.

A David vs Goliath Standoff

But let’s rewind for a moment. Before the jury’s decision, which took them about 2½ hours of deliberation, Tulecki and his legal team were offered a $200,000 settlement. They refused, labeling the restaurant’s insurance carrier as “unreasonable” in denying any culpability. Taking the fight to the courtroom was the only way for them to have their day in court, as Amador said.

New Negligence Laws and Their Impact

This case shined a spotlight on a recent shift in Florida’s negligence laws. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the tort reform HB 837 into law, altering several key aspects of negligence claims. It shortened the statute of limitations for these claims, changed Florida’s bad faith statute, and more. While supporters, including DeSantis, claimed it would discourage frivolous lawsuits and draw more investments, critics saw it as a blow to justice, favoring corporations and insurance companies.

A Strong Message to Corporate Greed

Zelnick and Amador believe this significant win not only provides their client with resources to move forward but also sends a clear message against corporate greed. According to Zelnick, the victory reaffirms public trust in the civil justice system, especially in Broward County. Despite the new law and powerful opponents, individuals can still stand their ground when it comes to negligence damages.

So, my friends, next time you find yourself at Burger King, remember, you might just do the “Humpty Dance” in the most unexpected place. Stay safe and keep dancing to the rhythm of justice!

By Samuel Lopez, Legal News Reporter, USA Herald