TORTS: NEGLIGENCE: PREMISES LIABILITY: SLIP AND FALL; CIVIL PROCEDURE: NEW TRIAL: ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL AFFIRMED: TRIAL COURT DID NOT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION BY DETERMINING THAT NEW TRIAL WAS WARRANTED BASED UPON THE MISCONDUCT OF THE DEFENDANT AND TWO JURORS AND A VERDICT THAT WAS CONTRARY TO THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE

Meadowbrook Meat Company v. Cantinella, ___ So. 3d ___, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D2515 (Fla. 2d DCA December 3, 2014)

The appellate court affirmed an order granting the plaintiff’s motion for new trial in a slip and fall case.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion by determining that a new trial was warranted based upon (1) the misconduct of the defendant, consisting of (a) the destruction of evidence, resulting in an adverse inference instruction, (b) the material violation of multiple court orders, (c) a pattern of willful, material, and prejudicial discovery violations, (2) the misconduct of two jurors, who concealed relevant and material litigation history, and (3) a verdict that was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence because (a) no reasonable jury could have found that the instrumentality causing the harm (a loading dock leveler) was functioning properly, (b) the defendant was on notice of the defect, and (c) the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence.