TERRY J. HIGGINS, Plaintiff, v Ringhaver Equipment Company, et. al.

Order Granting summary Judgment


Ringhaver leased a Caterpillar TH103 Telehandler (hereinafter “Telehandler” or “forklift”) to McDonald & Sons Masonry, Inc.While Plaintiff was using the bathroom, the forklift McDonald rented from Ringhaver collided with the port-o-let. The forks of the forklift pierced the plastic wall of the port-o-let and contacted Plaintiff's back. The collision further knocked the port-o-let over, throwing Plaintiff out of the port-o-let and allegedly injuring his back. the Court finds that Ringhaver's arguments in favor of summary judgment are not meritorious. First, a forklift has explicitly been deemed to be a dangerous instrumentality. Second, there appears to be no case law that would require the forklift to be in the act of lifting when the injury occurred in order for it to be deemed a dangerous instrumentality. Moreover, the forklift is not a crane, but a forklift that was being used on the construction site. Finally, the Florida Supreme Court has clearly ruled that whether a vehicle is operated on a public highway is not determinative of whether the vehicle is a dangerous instrumentality. For these reasons, Ringhaver's motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's claim based on the vicarious liability of Ringhaver as a lessor of a dangerous instrument is denied, and Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted.

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Reference Info:Decision | State, 11th Circuit, Florida | United States

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