Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases

The Third Edition of this "must-have" publication sets out the revised 2010 Florida Standard Jury Instructions, and includes updates current through 2018.

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In March 2010, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision reorganizing and renumbering the Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, the first comprehensive revision of the instructions since their inception in 1967. Many instructions were revised to make them more understandable for jurors. In addition, the Court adopted substantive amendments to several instructions.

Highlights of the this reorganization of the instructions include:

  • Reorganization and renumbering of the substantive areas into separate sections that incorporate pertinent standard instructions tailored to that specific area of the law 
  • Implementation of "plain English" terminology to improve juror understanding 
  • Reordering of the timing and sequencing of instructions during the trial process to improve communication to the jurors 
  • Revision of the Notes on Use to improve currency, eliminate outdated references, clarify the points being made, and point out areas where the committee has not taken a position. 

The Third Edition with 2018 Supplement updates the instructions, incorporating the miscellaneous revisions and corrections, including the addition of a new section.

420, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

  • The tort of "negligent infliction of emotional distress" is recognized in Florida. The boundaries of this cause of action, the persons who may recover, and the relationships that form the basis of recovery will be established by the courts of this state on a case-by-case basis. 
  • These instructions should not be given if the plaintiff suffered an impact of any type. The essence of impact is that the “outside force or substance, no matter how large or small, visible or invisible, and no matter that the effects are not immediately deleterious, touch or enter into the plaintiff’s body.”
  • If there was an impact, the jury instructions given would be governed by the principles for the type of tort involved and the resulting damages.


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Authors / Contributors

Table of Contents

Preliminary Sections
Committee Summary
How to Use This Book
The Theory and Technique of Charging a Jury with These Instructions
Conversion Chart
Original Introduction from Inaugural Committee
Orders of the Supreme Court Creating and Revising These Instructions
Current Members of the Committee
Members of the Committee Since Inception

The Standard Instructions
SECTION 100 — OATHS
101.1  Oath of Jurors Before Voir Dire
101.2  Oath of Jurors After Voir Dire
101.3  Oath of a Witness
101.4  Oath of an Interpreter

SECTION 200 — PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS
A.  During Jury Selection
            201.1  Description of the Case
            201.2  Introduction of Participants and Their Roles
            201.3  Explanation of the Voir Dire Process

B.  After Jury Selected and Sworn
            202.1  Introduction
            202.2  Explanation of the Trial Procedure
            202.3  Note-Taking by Jurors
            202.4  Juror Questions
            202.5  Jury to Be Guided by Official English Translation/Interpretation

SECTION 300 — EVIDENCE INSTRUCTIONS
301.1  Deposition Testimony, Interrogatories, Stipulated Testimony, Stipulations, and
               Admissions
301.2  Instruction when First Item of Documentary, Photographic, or Physical Evidence
               Is Admitted
301.3  Instruction when Evidence Is First Published to Jurors
301.4  Instruction Regarding Visual or Demonstrative Aids
301.5  Evidence Admitted for a Limited Purpose
301.6  Jury to Be Guided by Official English Translation/Interpretation
301.7  Jury to Be Guided by Official English Transcript of Recording in Foreign Language
               (Accuracy Not in Dispute)
301.8  Jury to Be Guided by Official English Translation/Interpretation — Transcript of
               Recording in Foreign Language (Accuracy in Dispute)
301.9  Disregard Stricken Matter
301.10  Instruction Before Recess

SECTION 400 — SUBSTANTIVE INSTRUCTIONS
401 — General Negligence

401.1  Introduction
401.2  Summary of Claims
401.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
401.4  Negligence
401.5  Negligence of a Child
401.6  Negligence of a Common Carrier
401.7  Res Ipsa Loquitur
401.8  Violation of Non-Traffic Penal Statute as Negligence per Se
401.9  Violation of Statute, Ordinance, or Regulation as Evidence of Negligence
401.10  Equal and Reciprocal Rights of Motorists and Pedestrians
401.11  Duty of Motorist Toward Children
401.12  Legal Cause
401.13  Preemptive Charges
401.14  Preliminary Issues — Vicarious Liability
401.15  Preliminary Issues — Common Carrier
401.16  Preliminary Issues — Premises Liability
401.17  Burden of Proof on Preliminary Issues
401.18  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — General Negligence
401.19  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Common Carrier
401.20  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Premises Liability
401.21  Burden of Proof on Main Claim
401.22  Defense Issues
401.23  Burden of Proof on Defense Issues
401.24  Counterclaims, Cross Claims, and Third Party Claims

402 — Professional Negligence
402.1  Introduction
402.2  Summary of Claims
402.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
402.4  Medical Negligence
402.5  Other Professional Negligence
402.6  Legal Cause
402.7  Legal Cause (Treatment Without Informed Consent)
402.8  Preemptive Charges
402.9  Preliminary Issues — Vicarious Liability
402.10  Burden of Proof on Preliminary Issues
402.11  Issues on Main Claim
402.12  Issues on Claim of Attorney Malpractice Arising Out of Civil Litigation
402.13  Burden of Proof on Main Claim
402.14  Defense Issues
402.15  Burden of Proof on Defense Issues

403 — Products Liability

404— Insurer's Bad Faith

404.1  Introduction
404.2  Summary of Claims or Contentions
404.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
404.4  Insurer's Bad Faith (Failure to Settle)
404.5  Medical Malpractice Insurer's Bad Faith Failure to Settle
404.6  Legal Cause
404.7  Issues on Claim
404.8  Burden of Proof
404.9  Concluding Instruction when Court to Award Damages
404.10  Damages (Cases with Claims for Mental Distress)
404.11  Burden of Proof on Mental Distress Claim
404.12  Damages on Mental Distress Claim
404.13  Punitive Damages

405 — Defamation
405.1  Introduction
405.2  Summary of Claims and Contentions
405.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
405.4  Clear and Convincing Evidence
405.5  Negligence
405.6  Legal Cause
405.7  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Plaintiff a Public Official or Public Figure
405.8  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Plaintiff a Private Individual and a Media Defendant
405.9  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Private Claimant, Non-Media Defendant
405.10  Defamation Damages

406 — Malicious Prosecution
406.1  Introduction
406.2  Summary of Claims
406.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
406.4  Probable Cause
406.5  Malice
406.6  Instituting or Continuing a Proceeding
406.7  Legal Cause
406.8  Issues on Claim
406.9  Burden of Proof on Claim
406.10  Defense Issues
406.11  Burden of Proof on Defense Issues
406.12  Malicious Prosecution Damages

407 — False Imprisonment
407.1  Introduction
407.2  Summary of Claims
407.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
407.4  Intentional Restraint
407.5  Legal Cause
407.6  Issues on Claim
407.7  Burden of Proof on Claim
407.8  Defense Issues
407.9  Burden of Proof on Defense Issues
407.10  False Imprisonment Damages

408 — Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
408.1  Introduction
408.2  Summary of Claims or Contentions
408.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
408.4  Legal Cause
408.5  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Interference with Contract not Terminable at Will
408.6  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Interference with Business Relationship or with Contract Terminable at Will

409 — Misrepresentation
409.1  Introduction
409.2  Summary of Claims
409.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
409.4  Negligence
409.5  Material Fact
409.6  Legal Cause
409.7  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Fraudulent Misrepresentation
409.8  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — Negligent Misrepresentation
409.9  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim — False Information Negligently Supplied for the
               Guidance of Others
409.10  Burden of Proof on Main Claim
409.11  Defense Issues
409.12  Burden of Proof on Defense Issues
409.13  Damages

410 — Outrageous Conduct Causing Severe Emotional Distress
410.1  Introduction
410.2  Summary of Claims
410.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
410.4  Extreme and Outrageous Conduct
410.5  Severe Emotional Distress
410.6  Legal Cause
410.7  Issues on Claim
410.8  Burden of Proof on Claim

411 — Civil Theft
411.1  Introduction
411.2  Summary of Claims
411.3  Clear and Convincing Evidence
411.4  Legal Cause
411.5  Issues on Claim
411.6  Burden of Proof on Claim
411.7  Civil Theft Damages

412 — Contribution Among Tortfeasors
412.1  Contribution Sought by Cross-Claims Between Defendant Tortfeasors in Injured Party's Original Action
412.2  Contribution Sought by Third Party Claim in Injured Party's Original Action
412.3  Introduction for Independent Contribution Claim
412.4  Summary of Claims
412.5  Greater Weight of the Evidence
412.6  Negligence
412.7  Legal Cause
412.8  Issues on Claim and Burden of Proof
412.9  Defense Issue

413 — Claim for Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) Benefits (Medical Benefits Only)
413.1  Introduction
413.2  Summary of Claims or Contentions
413.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
413.4  Issues on Claim
413.5  Burden of Proof on Claim

414 — Intentional Tort as an Exception to Exclusive Remedy of Workers' Compensation
414.1  Introduction
414.2  Summary of Claims
414.3  Clear and Convincing Evidence
414.4  Legal Cause
414.5  Issues on Claim
414.6  Burden of Proof

415 — Unlawful Retaliation
415.1  Introduction
415.2  Summary of Claims and Defenses
415.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
415.4  Retaliation: Adverse Employment Action
415.5  Protected Activity
415.6  Legal Cause—Retaliation
415.7  Legal Cause—Damage
415.8  Preliminary Issue—Adverse Employment Action
415.9  Burden of Proof on Preliminary Issue
415.10  Issues on Plaintiff's Claim
415.11  Burden of Proof on Claim
415.12  Unlawful Retaliation Damages
415.13  Defense Issue on Damages (Mitigation—Discharge)
415.14  Reduction of Damages to Present Value

417 — UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION
417.1  Introduction
417.2  Summary Of Claims And Defenses
417.3  Greater Weight Of The Evidence
417.4  Discrimination — Disparate Treatment
417.5  Legal Cause — Discrimination
417.6  Legal Cause — Damage
417.7  Issues On Plaintiff's Claim
417.8  Burden Of Proof On Claim
417.9  Unlawful Discrimination Damages
417.10  Affirmative Defense — Failure To Mitigate Lost Wages
417.11  Affirmative Defense — After-Acquired Evidence
417.12  Reduction Of Damages To Present Value

SECTION 420 — NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
420.1  Introduction
420.2  Summary of Claims
420.3  Greater Weight of the Evidence
420.4  Negligence
420.5  Legal Cause
420.6  Issues on Claim
420.7  Burden of Proof on Claim

SECTION 500 — DAMAGES

A.  Compensatory Damages
1.  Personal Injury and Property Damages

501.1  Personal Injury and Property Damages: Introduction
501.2  Personal Injury and Property Damages: Elements
501.3  Comparative Negligence, Non-Party Fault and Multiple Defendants
501.4  Motor Vehicle Fault Threshold Instruction
501.5  Other Contributing Causes of Damages
501.6  Mortality Tables
501.7  Reduction of Damages to Present Value
501.8  Collateral Source Rule
501.9  Joint Liability of Joint Tortfeasors

2.  Wrongful Death Damages
502.1  Wrongful Death Damages: Introduction
502.2  Wrongful Death Damages: Elements for Estate and Survivors
502.3  Wrongful Death Damages of Estate and Survivors: Separate Awards for Estate
               and Survivors
502.4  Wrongful Death Damages: Elements when There Are No Survivors
502.5  Comparative Negligence, Non-Party Fault and Multiple Defendants
502.6  Mortality Tables
502.7  Reduction of Damages to Present Value
502.8  Joint Liability of Joint Tortfeasors

B.  Punitive Damages
503.1  Bifurcated Procedure
503.2  Non-Bifurcated Procedure

SECTION 600 — SUBSTANTIVE INSTRUCTIONS — GENERAL
601.1  Weighing the Evidence
601.2  Believability of Witnesses
601.3  Jury to Be Guided by Official English Translation/Interpretation
601.4  Multiple Claims, Numerous Parties, Consolidated Cases
601.5  Concluding Instruction (Before Final Argument)

SECTION 700 — CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS

SECTION 800 — SUPPLEMENTAL MATTERS

801.1  Juror Questions During Deliberations
801.2  Read-Back of Testimony
801.3  Jury Deadlocked
801.4  Instructions upon Discharge of Jury

APPENDIX A:  MODEL JURY INSTRUCTIONS

APPENDIX B:  VERDICT FORMS

APPENDIX C:  PUNITIVE DAMAGE INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 1999

APPENDIX D:  HOW TO WRITE AND USE JURY INSTRUCTIONS

APPENDIX E:  EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT CLAIMS INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 15, 2003

402.16  Emergency Medical Treatment Claims Instructions For Causes Of Action Arising Prior To September 15, 2003

402.16a  Emergency Medical Treatment—Jury Issue as to Application of F.S. 768.13(2)(b)

402.16b  Emergency Medical Treatment