February 20, 2013 Articles

Advertencia: Florida Silent on Duty to Warn in Spanish

By Jaret J. Fuente and David L. Luck

In 2011, Florida's population exceeded 19 million people—almost 23 percent of whom were of Hispanic or Latino origin, and almost 27 percent of whom spoke languages other than English at home. U.S. Census Bureau. State & County QuickFacts: Florida. Between 2000 and 2010, Florida's total population increased by 17.6 percent compared with a 57.4 percent increase in its population of Hispanic or Latino origin. U.S. Census Bureau, "The Hispanic Population: 2010," by Sharon R. Ennis, Merarys Rios-Vargas, and Nora G. Albert. 2010 Census Briefs, C2010BR-04 (May 2011). It is also worth noting, however, that Florida's official language is English. Art. II, § 9(a), Fla. Const.  

Despite those figures, and the continuously growing Hispanic population in the state, there is a dearth of Florida state-court case law on the issue of whether product manufacturers and sellers have a duty to warn in Spanish. Thus far, however, Florida has not imposed on product manufacturers or sellers a general duty to warn in Spanish or in any language other than English. Further, federal precedent originating in Florida appears not to impose such a duty, absent certain special circumstances. 

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