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In re Standard Jury Instructions In Civil Cases-Report No. 17-04.

Supreme Court of Florida

November 22, 2017

IN RE: STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS IN CIVIL CASES-REPORT NO. 17-04.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.

         Original Proceeding - Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases

          Rebecca Mercier Vargas, Chair, Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, West Palm Beach, Florida; and Laura K. Whitmore, Vice Chair and Subcommittee Chair, Filing Subcommittee of the Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, Tampa, Florida, for Petitioner.

          PER CURIAM.

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

         The Committee proposes amendments to instructions 403.17 (Burden of Proof on Main Claim); 408.2 (Summary of Claims or Contentions); 409.10 (Burden of Proof on Main Claim); 415.4 (Retaliation; Adverse Employment Action); 415.5 (Protected Activity); 415.10 (Issues on Plaintiff's Claim); 415.12 (Unlawful Retaliation Damages); and Model Verdict Form 4. The Committee's proposals were published in The Florida Bar News and no comments were received that addressed the Committee's proposals, which are technical in nature, straightforward, and non-controversial.

         Having considered the Committee's report, we authorize the amended instructions and model verdict form, as set forth in the appendix to this opinion, for publication and use. New language is indicated by underlining, and deleted language is indicated by struck-through type. In authorizing the publication and use of these instructions and verdict form, we express no opinion on their correctness and remind all interested parties that this authorization forecloses neither requesting additional or alternative instructions nor contesting the legal correctness of the instructions. We further caution all interested parties that any comments associated with the instructions reflect only the opinion of the Committee and are not necessarily indicative of the views of this Court as to their correctness or applicability. The instructions as set forth in the appendix shall become effective when this opinion becomes final.

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, and LAWSON, JJ, concur.

         APPENDIX

         403.17 BURDEN OF PROOF ON MAIN CLAIM

         If the greater weight of the evidence does not support [one or more of] (claimant's) claim[s], your verdict should be for (defendant(s)) [on [that] [those] claim(s)].

         [However, if the greater weight of the evidence supports [one or more of] (claimant's) claim[s], then your verdict should be for (claimant) and against (defendant) [on [that] [those] claim(s)].]

         [However, if the greater weight of the evidence supports (claimant's) claim against one or [both] [more] of the defendants, then you should decide and write on the verdict form the percentage of the total fault of [both] [all] defendants that was caused by each of them.].

         NOTE ON USE FOR 403.17

         Use the first paragraph in all cases. If there is an affirmative defense to the claim, do not use either of the bracketed paragraphs; instead turn to instruction 403.18. If there is no affirmative defense, use the first or second bracketed paragraph depending on whether there is one defendant or more than one.

         408.2 SUMMARY OF CLAIMS OR CONTENTIONS

         The claims [and defenses] in this case are as follows. (Claimant) claims that (defendant) intentionally interfered with (claimant's) [contract] [or] [business relations] with (name) which caused harm to (claimant).

         (Defendant) denies that claim [and also claims that (describe any affirmative defenses).].

         The parties must prove all claims [and defenses] by the greater weight of the evidence. I will now define some of the terms you will use in deciding this case.

         409.10 BURDEN OF PROOF ON MAIN CLAIM

         If the greater weight of the evidence does not support [one or more of] (claimant's) claim[s], your verdict should be for ...


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