Lawsuit for Breaching the Duty In Marking a Dangerous Area

In McCain v. Florida Power Corp., 593 So. 2d 500, 503 (Fla. 1992), the power company's electrical equipment was located underground and known to be dangerous. A power company employee marked an area where a trench could safely be dug. McCain was injured when he used his trencher in an area the company had marked as "safe" but which actually contained power lines. Again, in McCain the power company assumed a specific duty concerning dangerous equipment and breached that duty in marking the area. Had the power company not marked off areas as safe, the plaintiff would not have felt comfortable digging a trench in an area containing power lines, and would have taken appropriate steps to ensure he did not dig over one. As was the case in Union Park Memorial Chapel v. Hutt, 670 So. 2d 64 (Fla. 1996), by marking areas as "safe" the defendant placed the plaintiff at greater risk than had the utility not acted at all. Both Union Park and McCain stand for the proposition that a person who undertakes an act to protect others from danger may be liable if the actions place others at greater risk than they would have experienced in the absence of the conduct.