MIAMI (CBSMiami/ NSF) — An appeals court on Friday overturned a judge’s ruling that a woman was partially at fault after slipping and falling at work while wearing high heels.
The decision by the 5th District Court of Appeal came in a St. Johns County case that stemmed from injuries suffered by Jennifer Bongiorno, who fell on a slippery bathroom floor at an office building where she worked.
Bongiorno, who filed a lawsuit against the property owner, Americorp, Inc., was wearing 4- to 5-inch heels at the time of the accident.
A circuit judge ruled that Americorp and Bongiorno were each 50 percent negligent for the injuries, with the company pointing in part to evidence that a co-worker was able to avoid falling on the bathroom floor because she was wearing “safer footwear,” according to Friday’s decision.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court, however, rejected the circuit judge’s conclusion and sent the case back with instructions for a judgment in favor of Bongiorno.
“Americorp failed to sustain its burden of proving that Bongiorno created a foreseeable zone of risk by wearing high-heeled shoes to work and, therefore, the trial court erred in finding her comparatively negligent for her injuries,” said the decision, written by appeals-court Judge William Palmer and joined by judges Thomas Sawaya and Wendy Berger.
(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)