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Recent Blog Posts

Standards of Review in the Appellate Courts

Starting this month, we will be addressing the “standards of review” relied upon by the appellate courts in reviewing the different types of orders and decisions issued by the trial courts. The different standards of review are as follows: A. Presumption of Correctness B. Review of Factual Decisions C. Review of Legal Decisions D. Review […]

Land Mine #10: Motion for New Trial

Land Mine #10: Motion for New Trial A motion for new trial and order entered thereon is a prerequisite to challenging the sufficiency (manifest weight) of the evidence on appeal. The same rule exists for challenging the inadequacy or excessiveness of the verdict. Merely alleging in a motion for a new trial that the verdict […]

Land Mine #9: Jury Verdict

Land Mine #9: Jury Verdict To preserve for appellate purposes any error created by the receipt of an internally inconsistent verdict, an objection must be made before the jury is discharged. Inadequate verdicts are challenged by motion for new trial. A major land mine regarding jury verdicts is the two-issue rule. That rule provides: “[W]here […]

Land Mine #8: Jury Instructions

Land Mine #8: Jury Instructions Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.470(b) mandates that no party may claim the giving of a jury instruction as error unless that party objects thereto at the charge conference, or the failure to give any instruction unless that party requested the same. Any objection to a jury charge must be timely […]

Land Mine #7: Misconduct of Counsel

Land Mine #7: Misconduct of Counsel Challenging attorney misconduct requires close attention to specific procedures. When a party objects to attorney misconduct during trial, including improper argument, and the objection is sustained, the party must also timely move for a mistrial or request a curative instruction in order to preserve the issue for a trial […]

Land Mine #6: Mistrial

Land Mine #6: Mistrial A party who objects, receives a ruling sustaining the objection, and receives a corrective instruction should still move for a mistrial if he or she believes the instruction has not remedied the problem. A party must move promptly for a mistrial, although not necessarily in the next breath following the comment. […]

Land Mine #5: Directed Verdict

Land Mine #5: Directed Verdict To challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to go to the jury, a motion for a directed verdict must be made at the close of the plaintiff’s case and renewed at the close of the evidence. Like evidentiary objections, motions for directed verdict must state specific grounds, and only those […]

Land Mine #4: Objections

Land Mine #4: Objections As a general rule, objections must be specific, and they must be timely. Objections must be contemporaneous, or the alleged error will be waived. The objection also must state the specific legal grounds, and only those grounds will be considered by the appellate court. This principle is based on fairness to […]

Land Mine #3: Admission and Exclusion of Evidence

Land Mine #3: Admission and Exclusion of Evidence If the trial judge denied your pretrial motion in limine, and the evidence that was the subject of your motion in limine is offered during trial, you still need to object. A contemporaneous objection must be made when the evidence is offered to preserve the issue for […]

Navigating the Top Landmines of Civil Litigation: How to Survive (continued)

The second potential landmine in civil litigation exists in selecting a jury. Land Mine #2: Jury Selection In order to preserve your right to challenge errors in the manner used to select the jury, you must object at trial to the jury as finally composed. Otherwise, you waive your right to complain on appeal. To […]

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