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Real Estate Company Sued After 85-Year-Old Woman Is Killed by Alligator


The family of an 85-year-old woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Florida real estate company and property manager after the woman was mauled to death by an alligator located on the property. According to the lawsuit, the decedent was walking her dog in February of 2023 along a pond in her backyard when a 10-foot alligator attempted to snatch her dog. The woman was knocked over in an attempt to protect her dog and the alligator grabbed the victim by the foot and dragged her into the pond. Ultimately, she died in the attack. The alligator was later caught and euthanized.

According to the lawsuit, the decedent routinely walked her dog outside of her property. However, she was contacted by the real estate company’s property manager who required her to use a dog run that was more than a mile from her home or keep the dog on her own property. In this case, the victim decided to walk the dog in her own backyard where there was a retention pond with an alligator. Essentially, the defendant is accused of forcing the decedent to walk her dog in a dangerous location.

Further, the lawsuit contends that residents were allowed to feed wildlife in the area including the deadly alligator. Residents had even gone so far as to name the alligator Henry. The complaint alleges that this had the effect of socializing the alligator toward human contact while downplaying the extreme danger that the animal posed.

The complaint goes further, indicating that the real estate company could have called a toll-free hotline to have the alligator removed from the area free of charge. Trappers will remove any alligator that is more than 10 feet long.

Elements of negligence 

The lawsuit contends that the real estate company had a duty of care to ensure that their residents were kept safe from harm. In Florida, property owners, particularly those managing residential communities catering to the elderly, have a legal and non-delegable duty of care to identify and remove dangerous conditions on their property. They must, at the very least, warn residents about the threat. In this case, neither happened and the alligator was allowed to remain on the property.

While certainly an unusual example, this is a basic premises liability case. Essentially, the property owner has a duty of care to ensure that residents on their property are safe. If the danger is foreseeable, then they can be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur. In this case, the property owner knew of the dangerous condition (the alligator) and neglected to do anything about it. As a result, one of their residents died. Since the danger was foreseeable, the property owner is liable.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC represents the interests of Tampa, FL residents filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against negligent defendants. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin investigating your allegations right away.



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