On March 24, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 837. Simply put, this new law is a broad sweeping attack on the civil justice system and victims’ rights. While proponents have touted the legislation as “tort reform,” the reality is that its intent is to put up roadblocks to Floridians seeking justice from those that have injured or killed them through acts of negligence. The law is targeted at all types of victims and cases, but the legislature attempted to target no group more than victims of crime.
Under Florida law, those that own and operate businesses and real property have a duty to maintain their premise in a reasonably safe condition. Florida courts have repeatedly recognized that this duty includes the duty to implement reasonable security measures to protect invitees from reasonably foreseeable crime. Accordingly, the more dangerous a property is, the more security it should have. When that duty is breached and someone is harmed during the commission of a criminal act, they can hold the negligent business or property owner responsible for the damages they suffer in a “negligent security” action.