Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Second District Reverses Directed Verdict

In Hirst v. Segrest Farms Inc. (2D08-4183), the Second District reversed the trial court's grant of a directed verdict in favor of the defendant "concluding that the jury should have been allowed to decide this case. There were differences in the witnesses' testimonies as to where the truck was stopped and how long it had been stopped before the collision. Given the undisputed facts that the driver had an unobstructed view in broad daylight and failed to see Mr. Hirst approaching, we cannot say that as a matter of law the driver was not negligent. " 'Florida law cautions against a motion for directed verdict in negligence cases since the evidence to support the elements of negligence are frequently subject to more than one interpretation.' " Nunez v. Lee County, 777 So. 2d 1016, 1016 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) (quoting Regency Lake Apartments Assocs., Ltd. v. French, 590 So. 2d 970, 972 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991)). Because the evidence was not universally in favor of the defendants and presented potentially varying inferences, it was for the jury to decide who was at fault as well as the percentage of fault to attribute to either Mr. Hirst or Mr. McCormack."


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