Trial Court Should Have Permitted Jury Instructions as to Driver’s Duty to 'Exercise Due Care' and Traveling in Excess of Speed Limit Despite the Specific Proposed Language Placed an Arguably Inaccurate Emphasis on Defendant’s Conduct.

Marshall Dennehey

Goddard v. J.S.J. Unlimited, LLC, 368 So.3d 109, 2023 WL 4982324 ((Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Aug. 4, 2023)

This case involved a defense verdict where the trial court denied the plaintiff’s requested jury instructions as to a driver’s responsibility to exercise due care to avoid a pedestrian and to not travel over the speed limit. However, the plaintiff’s proposed “due care” instruction included qualifying language stating, “Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter”—for example, the duty of pedestrians—and the proposed instruction placed the emphasis on the driver’s duty versus that of the pedestrian or bicyclist.

The Appeals Court also ruled the speeding instruction was warranted despite not citing any data that the defendant exceeded the speed limit, just the opinion of an accident reconstructionist, which appeared to be based on testimonial accounts and a vehicle damage profile yet only concluded the defendant was traveling “approximately 33 miles per hour” in a 30 miles per hour zone. Despite the prejudicial nature of both charges, the Appeals Court overturned the defense verdict and remanded for a new trial.

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.

© Marshall Dennehey | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Marshall Dennehey

Marshall Dennehey on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide