Florida Adopts New Standard Jury Instructions for Contract and Business Cases


Florida’s Supreme Court recently adopted new standard jury instructions for contract and business cases.  The instructions, drafted over a period of six years by a committee of Florida trial and appellate lawyers and judges, and modeled in form after California’s contract instructions, cover all aspects of contract and business disputes, including contract formation, breach, interpretation, oral and implied contracts, affirmative defenses and damages.  Many of the instructions cite extensive sources and authorities, making them an excellent Florida contract law resource.  To review the decision adopting these new instructions click here.*  Below is a list of the substantive instructions (Sections 400 and 500):

Breach of Contract

416.1    Introduction

416.2    Third-Party Beneficiary

416.4    Essential Factual Elements

416.23  Anticipatory Breach

Contract Formation

416.3    Essential Factual Elements

416.8    Offer

416.9    Revocation of Offer

416.10  Acceptance

416.11  Acceptance by Silence or Conduct

Oral and Implied Contracts

416.5  Oral or Written Contract Terms

416.6  Contract Implied in Fact

416.7  Contract Implied in Law


Contract Interpretation

416.14  Disputed Term(s)

416.15  Meaning of Ordinary Words

416.16  Meaning of Disputed Technical or Special Words

416.17  Construction of Contract As a Whole

416.18  Construction by Conduct

416.19  Reasonable Time

416.20  Construction Against Drafter



Affirmative Defenses

416.25  Mutual Mistake of Fact

416.26  Unilateral Mistake of Fact

416.27  Undue Influence

416.28  Fraud

416.29  Negligent Misrepresentation

416.30  Waiver

416.31  Novation

416.32  Statute of Limitations

416.33  Equitable Estoppel

416.35  Judicial Estoppel

416.36  Ratification


Other Instructions

416.12  Substantial Performance

416.13  Modification

416.21  Existence of Conditions Precedent Disputed

416.22  Occurrence of Agreed Condition Precedent

416.24  Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

416.37  Goods Sold and Delivered

416.38  Open Account

416.39  Account Stated

416.40  Money Had and Received


504.1  Introduction to Contract Damages

504.2  Breach of Contract Damages

504.3  Lost Profits

504.4  Damages for Complete Destruction of Business

504.5  Owner’s Damages for Breach of Contract to Construct Improvements on Real Property

504.6  Obligation to Pay Money Only

504.7  Buyer’s Damages for Breach of Contract for Sale of Real Property

504.8  Seller’s Damages for Breach of Contract to Purchase Real Property

504.9  Mitigation of Damages

504.10  Present Cash Value of Future Damages

504.11  Nominal Damages



*  The new instructions have not yet been posted to the supreme court’s website.  This link is to the opinion adopting the instructions, and the instructions can be found in the appendix.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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