In Ramos v. Casey (5D09-853), the Fifth District reversed the trial court’s order dismissing case without prejudice. After a default judgment was entered, the trial court held a jury trial. The defaulting defendants did not appear at the trial. The plaintiff testified and the trial court objected to the testimony as hearsay. The attorneys for the plaintiff objected to the trial court objecting, however, the trial court disagreed. At that point, the trial court excused the jury and dismissed the case. The Fifth District held:
In this case, it was improper for the trial court to interject itself into the trial below by making evidentiary objections during the course of Ramos and Murphy's case-in chief, and to thereafter determine that the evidence of damages was insufficient to support the entry of a damage award. Accordingly, the trial court's dismissal order is reversed and this matter remanded with instructions that a new trial be held before a different judge on the issue of damages.