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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Red Rock seeking dismissal of woman’s lawsuit claiming she crashed at dead end

A commercial real estate developer is asking a Marion County judge to dismiss a woman’s lawsuit in which she alleges that an unmarked dead end led her to crash her vehicle and sustain “permanent injuries.”

On August 28, Red Rock Developments, LLC filed a motion to dismiss a complaint that was filed in the fifth judicial circuit court of Marion County on July 31 by Kali Reed.

According to a complaint filed by Reed’s attorney, Khalil Farah of Farah & Farah law firm, Reed was driving a 2017 Hyundai Elantra down a road that “was added at or near geographical coordinates 29.229675 and -82.181078.”

The coordinates refer to a portion of NW 35th Street that is next to the Amazon Fulfillment center at 3400 NW 35th Street Road.

“This road, which was part of the development by the defendants, ended abruptly without any signage, lights, or warnings,” reads the complaint.

Reed claims that she crashed at the end of the roadway, causing “serious and permanent injuries.”

Road Closed sign at the end of NW 35th Street in Ocala
Road Closed sign at the end of NW 35th Street in Ocala (September 8, 2023)

In a motion to dismiss Reed’s lawsuit, attorney Art C. Young of Orlando-based Donahue, McLain & Mangan, P.A. argues that the complaint fails to include a date for the incident and names the wrong defendants.

“The complaint does not state the date of the alleged incident,” says Young in his motion. Young says the complaint fails to “state a cause of action” pursuant to Florida Statute Rule 1.140(b)(6), and that the street in question is a public roadway.

“The alleged accident occurred on NW 35th Street in Marion County, which is a public road, built and maintained by governmental entities not named as parties to this legislation,” reads the complaint.

Young asserts that because NW 35th Street is a public road in Marion County, if an alleged accident occurred, the responsibility of maintaining the roadway and its signage belongs to the county.

End of NW 35th Street near Amazon Fulfillment Center in Ocala
End of NW 35th Street near Amazon Fulfillment Center in Ocala (September 8, 2023)

“Signage for the public street is not a duty assumed by the adjacent property owner/developer,” says Young in his motion. “Thus, while the complaint incorrectly alleges Red Rock developed the road, it clearly is public thoroughfare and therefore, the Complaint does not allege sufficient facts to impose a duty on Red Rocks.”

Young argues that Red Rock is the commercial developer of the adjacent property and, therefore, has “no duty to maintain the road as the roadway” is not on its property.

The motion concludes that Red Rock bares no responsibility in notifying Reed of “the open and obvious fact that she was on a dead-end road.”

No additional actions have taken place in the case since the filing of the motion to dismiss, according to Marion County court records.

Red Rock Developments is a privately held real estate development and investment company that is headquartered in South Carolina. The group has invested millions of dollars through commercial property development in Ocala, including facilities at the Florida Crossroads Commerce Park that house Amazon and FedEx, among several other national companies.

During a visit to the roadway on September 8, 2023, Ocala-News.com found “Dead End” signs at 1,000 and 500 feet, as well as a flashing light, road reflectors, and a “Road Closed” sign.

Dead End 1,000 Feet Sign along NW 35th Street
“Dead End” signs are set at 1,000 feet and 500 feet before the end of NW 35th Street in Ocala (September 8, 2023)

Google Maps shows that in 2019, the area did not have the same signage and demarcations.