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In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civil Cases -- Report No. 09-01 (Reorganization of the Civil Jury Instructions)

Supreme Court of Florida

March 4, 2010, Decided

No. SC09-284, No. SC09-296, No. SC09-299, No. SC09-300, No. SC09-301, No. SC09-302, No. SC09-303, No. SC09-304, No. SC09-306

Opinion

 [*666]  CORRECTED OPINION

PER CURIAM.

The Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases (Committee) has submitted proposed changes to the standard civil jury instructions and asks that the Court authorize the instructions for publication and use. 1 We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 2(a), Fla. Const.

BACKGROUND

In 2006, the Committee embarked on the most comprehensive review and evaluation of Florida's standard civil jury instructions since the first publication in 1967. Previously, the Committee has maintained the original numbering system and either assigned the next available number or added new instructions to a "Miscellaneous" section when seeking authorization for additional instructions by the Court. In addition, because the book has only been available in paper format in the past, the Committee had attempted to [*667]  minimize the number of pages to be republished by using cross-references and directing users to insert other instructions in various locations.

As a result of the manner in which revisions of the standard civil jury instructions have been perfected over the years, use of the current book has become rather difficult. Following extensive review and revision, the Committee submitted its report in case number SC09-284, proposing the reorganization of the standard civil jury instructions and amendments limited to plain English modifications to make the instructions easier to understand. The Committee  [**3] also submitted a number of reports that extended beyond reorganizing and rewording the civil instructions, seeking amendment of substantive aspects of some standard civil instructions under the reorganization format. 2 The Committee presented the book reorganization to the bench and bar in a notice published in The Florida Bar News on April 15, 2008, inviting comment and identifying the web address on The Florida Bar's website for access to the entire reformatted book. Proposed amendments to specific instructions were published separately. As discussed below, we authorize the Committee's proposals with the exception of the proposed modification to the standard civil instruction defining "greater weight of the evidence."

DISCUSSION

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35 So. 3d 666 *; 2010 Fla. LEXIS 302 **; 35 Fla. L. Weekly S 149

IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-01 (REORGANIZATION OF THE CIVIL JURY INSTRUCTIONS). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-02 (GREATER WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE, NEGLIGENCE, BELIEVABILITY OF WITNESSES AND CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-03 (JURY DEADLOCKED). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-04 (BURDEN OF PROOF ON DEFENSE ISSUES). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-05 (MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURER'S BAD FAITH FAILURE TO SETTLE). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-06 (PROBABLE CAUSE -- MALICIOUS PROSECUTION AND FALSE IMPRISONMENT). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-07 (INTENTIONAL TORT EXCEPTION TO EXCLUSIVE REMEDY OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-08 (PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE). IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES -- REPORT NO. 09-09 (PUNITIVE DAMAGES).

Subsequent History: Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Crim. Cases, 52 So. 3d 595, 2010 Fla. LEXIS 1780 (Fla., 2010)

Later proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases-Report No. 09-10 (Prods. Liab.), 91 So. 3d 785, 2012 Fla. LEXIS 964 (Fla., 2012)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, 95 So. 3d 106, 2012 Fla. LEXIS 1831 (Fla., 2012)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases - Report No. 12-02, 115 So. 3d 208, 2013 Fla. LEXIS 1941 (Fla., 2013)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases Report No. 12-01, 2013 Fla. LEXIS 1943 (Fla., May 30, 2013)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases-Report No. 13-02, 135 So. 3d 281, 2014 Fla. LEXIS 983 (Fla., 2014)

Related proceeding at In re: Std. Jury Instructions in Civ., Crim., Contract, & Bus. Cases-Jurors' use of Elec. Devices, 152 So. 3d 529, 2014 Fla. LEXIS 3547 (Fla., 2014)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases - Report No. 2014-02, 156 So. 3d 1047, 2015 Fla. LEXIS 165 (Fla., 2015)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases-Report No. 15-01, 192 So. 3d 1183, 2016 Fla. LEXIS 834 (Fla., 2016)

Related proceeding at In re Std. Jury Instructions in Civ. Cases-Report No. 15-02, 191 So. 3d 380, 2016 Fla. LEXIS 833 (Fla., 2016)

Prior History: Original Proceeding - Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases Committee.

In re Standard Jury Instructions (Civil Cases), 435 So. 2d 782, 1983 Fla. LEXIS 2653 (Fla., 1983)

CORE TERMS

claimant, instructions, greater weight, legal cause, damages, punitive damages, issues, jurors, contributes, cases, decedent, circumstances, questions, parties, verdict form, producing, clear and convincing evidence, recommends, total amount, attorneys, bracketed, burden of proof, comparative negligence, intervening cause, final argument, evidence show, witnesses, instruct a jury, rule of law, deliberations

CORE TERMS

Counsel:  [**1] Tracy Raffles Gunn, Chair, Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, of Gunn Appellate Practice, Tampa, Florida, Judge James M. Barton, II, Vice Chair, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Tampa, Florida, Larry S. Stewart, Chair, Book Reorganization Subcommittee, Miami, Florida, Judge Ralph Artigliere, Chair, Errors and Omissions Subcommittee, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Joseph H. Lang, Jr., Chair, Supreme Court Filing Subcommittee, of Carlton Fields, P.A., Tampa, Florida, and Judge Lucy C. Brown, Chair, Plain English Subcommittee, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, West Palm Beach, Florida; John F. Harkness, Jr., Executive Director, and Jodi Beth Jennings, Bar Liaison, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner.

CORE TERMS

Judges: QUINCE, C.J, and PARIENTE, LEWIS, CANADY, POLSTON, LABARGA, and PERRY, JJ., concur.