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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 made, and an objection asserted after the jury has retired to deliberate is untimely and cannot be raised on appeal. Like other objections, specific grounds must be stated.

To preserve for review the trial court’s refusal to give an instruction, the requested instruction must be reduced to writing. The requested instruction must be brought to the trial court’s attention, and not merely filed.

The writing requirement may be excused in cases when a standard instruction is requested, when the circumstances make submitting a written request difficult, or when submission of a written instruction would be futile.

Next week we will focus on Land Mine #9: Jury Verdict.

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