Civil Jury Instructions Reorganized

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preliminary Sections

Section 101: Oaths

Section 200: Preliminary Instructions

Section 300: Evidence Instructions

Section 400: Substantive Instructions

Section 500: Damages

Section 600: Substantive Instructions – General

Section 700: Closing Instructions

Section 800 Supplemental Matters

Appendix A – Model Jury Instructions

Appendix B – Verdict Forms

Appendix C – Punitive Damage Instructions – cases prior to 10/1/99

Appendix D

Appendix E


Preliminary Sections


THE STANDARD INSTRUCTIONS:

SECTION 101 – OATHS

Instructions for ALL Oaths

  • 101.1 Oath of Jurors Before Voir Dire
  • 101.2 Oath of Jurors After Voir Dire
  • 101.3 Oath of a Witness
  • 101.4 Oath of an Interpreter

SECTION 200 – PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS

Qualifications Instruction

A. During Jury Selection

B. After Jury Selected and Sworn


SECTION 300 – EVIDENCE INSTRUCTIONS


SECTION 400 – SUBSTANTIVE INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE ON USE

These substantive instructions should be followed by the applicable sections from Damages, Substantive Instructions — General, and Closing Instructions (Before Final Argument).

401 General Negligence

402 Professional Negligence

NOTES ON USE

  1. Professional negligence claims are, for the most part, similar. The committee has, therefore, included all such claims in a single section. There are, however, some specific instructions that deal with issues unique to certain professions, such as instruction 402.4(d) (missing medical records) and instruction 402.12 (issues involved in certain legal malpractice claims). For cases involving allegations of negligence of professions other than medical or legal, instructions 402.11(a) and (b) and 402.12(a) and (b) should be appropriately modified.
  2. If a professional malpractice case involves a claim of product defect, jury instructions for such claims should be adopted from the applicable sections of this book.

403 Products Liability

403 Products Instruction Document contains all instructions outlined below. Please note instruction 403.17 (updated linked below) has changed.

404 Insurer’s Bad Faith

405 Defamation

NOTES ON USE

  1. There are three alternative instructions on defamation liability issues, 405.7, 405.8 and 405.9. Instruction 405.7 is for claims in which the claimant is a public official or a public figure and by First Amendment standards must prove that defendant made a false defamatory statement with “actual malice.” Instruction 405.8 is for claims in which the claimant is not a public person but defendant is a member of the press or broadcast media publishing on a matter of public concern, who by First Amendment standards cannot be held liable for a false publication without proof of fault. Instruction 405.9 is for all other claims and it invokes Florida’s truth and good motives defense and the qualified privilege to speak falsely but without “express malice.”
  2. These categories and their boundaries are debatable and in flux, due to the unique influence upon them of both federal and Florida constitutional law as well as the common law. To enable assessment of the instructions, the committee has explained its reasoning in the general notes following the instructions, and calls attention to areas of evident dispute.

406 Malicious Prosecution

407 False Imprisonment

408 Tortious Interference with Business Relationships

409 Misrepresentation

410 Outrageous Conduct Causing Severe Emotional Distress

NOTE ON USE

The tort of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” is recognized in Florida. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. McCarson, 467 So.2d 277 (Fla. 1985). The boundaries of this tort, particularly when the claimant is a third party affected by conduct occurring between the defendant and another person, are not clearly defined. Id.; Williams v. City of Minneola, 575 So.2d 683 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); M. M. v. M. P. S., 556 So.2d 1140 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989); Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Sheehan, 373 So.2d 956 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979); Restatement (2d) of Torts, §46.

411 Civil Theft

412 Contribution Among Tortfeasors

NOTES ON USE

  1. A claim for contribution can be presented as a cross-claim in an injured party’s case or as an independent action. These instructions cover both types of claims. Instruction 412.1 deals with cross-claims in an injured party’s case and instruction 412.2 deals with third-party claims in an injured party’s action. These instructions are in proper form for use in negligence actions. If contribution is found to be appropriate in tort actions other than for negligence (but see the title to Ch. 75-198, Laws of Fla.), the instructions should be revised as necessary.
  2. The instructions for an independent action for contribution begin with instruction 412.3.
  3. Whether the contribution claim is a cross-claim, a third party action or an independent claim, it should be submitted to the jury with a form of special verdict by which the jury determines the relative degrees of fault of the defendants and any third party (see, for example, Model Instruction No. 6).

413 Claim for Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) Benefits (Medical Benefits Only)

414 Intentional Tort as an Exception to Exclusive Remedy of Workers’ Compensation

415 Unlawful Retaliation

NOTE ON USE FOR 415

The instructions in this section are based upon F.S. 448.101–105 (Florida’s private-sector whistle-blower provisions). As to the right to trial by jury, see Fox v. City of Pompano Beach, 984 So.2d 664 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008), and O’Neal v. Fla. A & M University, 989 So.2d 6 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008) (right to jury trial pursuant to the Whistle-blower Act, F.S. 112.3187-31895); Rodriguez v. Casson-Mark Corp., 2008 WL 2949520 (M.D. Fla. July 28, 2008) (right to jury trial pursuant to the private-sector whistle-blower’s provisions, F.S. 448.101-105).

416 See Standard Jury Instructions in Contracts and Business Cases

417 Unlawful Discrimination

NOTES ON USE FOR 417

The instructions in this section are based upon the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA), which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate based upon race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. F.S. 760.01–760.11.

420 Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

NOTES ON USE FOR 420

The tort of “negligent infliction of emotional distress” is recognized in Florida. Champion v. Gray, 478 So. 2d 17 (Fla. 1985); Zell v. Meek, 665 So. 2d 1048 (Fla. 1995). The boundaries of this cause of action, the persons who may recover, and the relationships that form the basis of recovery will be established by the courts of this state on a case-by-case basis. Champion, at 21–22 (Alderman, J., concurring specially). These instructions should not be given if the plaintiff suffered an impact of any type. See generally Willis v. Gami Golden Glades, LLC, 967 So. 2d 846, 850 (Fla. 2007). The essence of impact is that the “outside force or substance, no matter how large or small, visible or invisible, and no matter that the effects are not immediately deleterious, touch or enter into the plaintiff’s body.” Id. If there was an impact, the jury instructions given would be governed by the principles for the type of tort involved and the resulting damages.

451 Fiduciary Duty (Shared Instructions with Contract and Business)


SECTION 500 DAMAGES

A. Compensatory Damages

1. Personal Injury and Property Damages

2. Wrongful Death Damages

B. Punitive Damages

Note on Use for Punitive Damages Charges


SECTION 600 – SUBSTANTIVE INSTRUCTIONS — GENERAL


SECTION 700 – CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS


SECTION 800 – SUPPLEMENTAL MATTERS


MODEL JURY INSTRUCTIONS

Summary

The following Model Jury Instructions are included to illustrate the use of Florida Standard Jury Instructions. The hypothetical facts upon which each instruction is based are set forth before the instruction. The committee made arbitrary decisions about various factors involved in each hypothetical case, and the Model Instructions are not intended to be incorporated entirely into a court’s instruction.

The numbers of the instructions used in the examples are indicated within brackets. In instances in which changes have been made to adapt the standard instructions to the circumstances of the hypothetical case, the committee has italicized the instructions.

These Model Instructions are provided only as examples of how the instructions are intended to be used. Revisions in the Model Instructions often lag some time behind revisions in the substantive charges the use of which is illustrated in the Model Instructions. DO NOT, therefore, rely on the Model Instructions for correct wording when preparing instructions. Always refer to the standard instructions and forms provided in Parts I through VIII.

Model Instruction No. 1: Automobile collision; comparative negligence; single claimant and defendant; no counterclaim; no-fault issue; witnesses testifying in foreign language; instructions for beginning and end of case; use of special verdict in burden of proof and damage instructions

Model Instruction No. 2: Automobile collision; driver’s comparative negligence including failure to wear seat belt; aggravation of pre-existing injury; multiple events

Model Instruction No. 3: Automobile collision; comparative negligence; wrongful death damages; Fabre issue

Model Instruction No. 4: Automobile collision; comparative negligence;
claim and counterclaim

Model Instruction No. 5: Injury in three-car collision; settlement with
injured party by one tortfeasor; independent contribution claim by him against others; reasonableness of settlement as well as liability contested

Model Instruction No. 6: Claimant suing three alleged joint tortfeasors; comparative negligence in issue; contribution shares to be determined in action

Model Instruction No. 7: Product liability case; negligence and strict liability claims; comparative negligence defense; aggravation of pre-existing injury


VERDICT FORMS

The following Model Verdict forms are included as examples of how issues can be submitted to the jury. They may be changed on a case-by-case basis depending on the rulings and facts in a particular case.

Historically, a general verdict on compensatory damages was considered appropriate, and that is the only form of verdict provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fla.R.Civ.P. Form 1.986(a). However, with the advent of special verdicts and bifurcation of issues, it is now common for cases to be submitted to the jury with a special verdict. The committee has therefore drafted the following special verdict forms. None of the following are complete verdicts and in some instances more than one of these forms might apply.

Form of verdict itemizing damages introductory comment

1. Model form of verdict for general negligence with apportionment of fault

2. Damages – Introductory Comment



PUNITIVE DAMAGE INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 1999