The Florida Supreme Court created a committee to draft an original set of standard jury instructions to be used in contract and business cases. The committee was comprised of trial attorneys, appellate attorneys, and judges with experience in such cases.
The committee surveyed other states which already drafted standard jury instructions in contract and business cases. The goal was to identify a state whose instructions could serve as a template for drafting a similar set of instructions in Florida. The committee decided that the State of California possessed such instructions. The Judicial Council of California graciously agreed to permit the use of its instructions as a model for the drafting of these instructions. The committee expresses its deep appreciation to the Judicial Council of California for that cooperation.
The committee, divided into six subcommittees, researched and drafted proposed instructions which followed Florida law. Upon completion of the subcommittees’ work, the full committee met to review and revise each proposed instruction for accuracy and conformity with Florida law. To improve juror understanding, the committee has used “plain English” terminology wherever possible without altering the instructions’ substantive meaning.
The Florida Supreme Court, through its committee liaison, Justice R. Fred Lewis, instructed the committee that, upon completion of the instructions, the committee should prepare to publish the instructions as a stand-alone book separate from the pre-existing Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases. To accomplish that purpose, the committee received permission from the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases to duplicate “How to Use This Book” as well as Sections 100, 200, 300, 600, 700, and 800 for use in this book. This committee expresses its deep appreciation to the Civil Cases committee for their cooperation and for their substantial effort in drafting what comprises a significant portion of this book.
The Committee is indebted to The Florida Bar and to its staff, especially Jodi Jennings, who has provided valuable assistance in the preparation and publication of this work. The Committee finally expresses its appreciation to the Florida Supreme Court and its committee liaison, Justice R. Fred Lewis, for having made this effort possible.
The Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard
Jury Instructions in Contract and Business Cases