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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 2019.
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3rd Edition with 2019 Supplement
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ISBN/ISSN: 9781632843869
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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  • Revision of the Notes on Use to improve currency, eliminate outdated references, clarify the points being made, and point out areas where the committee has not taken a position.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 2019 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.


Visit our Jury Instructions website for a complete list of The Bar's Jury Instructions related titles.

Visit our Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Publications website for a complete list of The Bar's titles.

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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