The court rewrote the law, ignoring precedent and impartiality
Why would the Florida Supreme Court need to reference other state’s laws to make their case if they weren’t trying to legislate from the bench?
Florida law had always been that the plaintiff had to prove that the owner of the premises had knowledge of the potential danger to be found liable for any damages. If they didn’t know there was a danger, they couldn’t be negligent and therefore couldn’t be liable.
The Supreme Court decided that it was too hard for plaintiffs to prove this, so looked to the laws of other states and decided to reverse the burden of proof – making the business owners now prove that they didn’t know there was a potential danger.
In his decision, Justice Harding stated, “the majority goes too far in deciding the case at hand and essentially rewrites Florida’s law regarding slip-and-fall cases.”
If that’s not legislating from the bench, then what is?
The very next Session, the Florida Legislature passed a law undoing the Court’s decision, clarifying that the Court’s interpretation was not their intent.