Kansas Gooden and Lara Edelstein prevailed in an appeal of a summary judgment in favor of the Defendant Homeowner in a trip and fall case. The Plaintiff attempted to cross over Defendant's property to access a public sidewalk to walk her dog, but tripped over the corner of the driveway apron where the concrete was broken and raised, and sustained injuries. The trial court agreed with the Defendant that the Plaintiff was an uninvited licensee and not a public invitee as the Plaintiff argued and entered summary judgment for the Defendant.
The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed and found that Plaintiff was indeed an uninvited licensee. The Court held that the condition of the broken concrete at the end of the driveway was an open and obvious condition, and thus, the Defendant did not breach any duty owed to the Plaintiff.
About Kansas R. Gooden
Kansas R. Gooden, a Board Certified Appellate Specialist and AV Rated attorney, serves as the firm’s General Counsel and Appellate Practice Group Leader. Ms. Gooden currently works remotely for the firm in Miami. Through her remote work, she efficiently and cost-effectively serves her client’s needs.
Ms. Gooden has extensive experience handling all types of civil appellate proceedings in the Florida Supreme Court, all Florida District Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She is often retained in cases at or headed to the Florida Supreme Court or is retained to develop statewide litigation strategy to effectuate change in the common law. She is one of the only attorneys—and likely the only woman—who has argued back-to-back cases on the same day before the Florida Supreme Court.
Many of Ms. Gooden cases are those of first impression, and those involving insurance coverage and bad faith issues. Clients trust Ms. Gooden to handle their high-profile appellate litigation.
In addition to handling appeals, she also provides litigation and trial support to attorneys throughout the state. She is often called upon to attend trials and hearing to assist in preserving the error for later appeal.
Ms. Gooden is highly involved in the state and local bar associations and has served in many leadership roles. Ms. Gooden served as the President of Florida Defense Lawyers Association, the statewide civil defense bar, in 2021-2022. She still chairs the organization’s Amicus Committee and has since 2017. On behalf of the organization, she authors and co-authors amicus briefs in important cases impacting tort, litigation, and insurance issues.
Ms. Gooden is the Chair of the Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section. She has been active in the Appellate Practice Section for over a decade. She has served on the Executive Council and previously chaired the CLE Committee for several years.
Ms. Gooden also currently serves on the Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education. This committee oversees the certification committees and CLE accreditation for the bar. She previously served on and chaired the Florida Bar’s Appellate Board Certification Committee, which writes and grades the appellate board certification test. The examination tests an applicant’s knowledge of state and federal appeals in the areas of civil, criminal, administrative, worker’s compensation, probate, and family law. The committee also examines the fitness of the candidates for board certification and those applying for recertification.
About Lara J. Edelstein
Lara J. Edelstein is a partner with the firm’s Appellate Practice department based in the Boca Raton office. Ms. Edelstein has extensive experience in appellate law, having argued hundreds of cases in the appellate courts throughout Florida, including the Supreme Court of Florida. Ms. Edelstein is also admitted to practice law in Georgia, where she has handled several appeals.
Lara began her career as an Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Florida in criminal appellate proceedings. Ms. Edelstein also spent ten years as in-house appellate counsel to an automobile insurer where she handled No Fault/Personal Injury Protection appeals and provided litigation support to the staff attorneys. Lara also has experience in first party property cases, bad faith litigation, personal injury and premises liability matters, as well as Workers’ Compensation appeals.