Call Us For Free Consultation

Search > Articles posted by David Adelstein (Page 27)

Fact Witness Testimony Must be Based on Their Personal Knowledge

Fact witnesses may only testify as to matters within their personal knowledge.   Fla.Stat. s. 90.604. “[A fact] witness is limited to testifying to facts that are within the witness's knowledge rather than the witness's speculation and conjecture.” A&A Electric Services, Inc. v. Jurado, 40 Fla.L.Weekly D1963a (Fla.2d DCA 2015). For example, in Jurado, the plaintiff was testifying as to a document he signed and the principal of the defendant signed. In doing so, he testified as to the principal’s intent in signing the document. But, how did he know the principal's intent? Wasn’t he merely speculating as to the principal's intent? Of course...

Continue reading

Recoverable / Taxable Costs to the Prevailing Party

  When a party prevails in litigation, the party should be entitled to recover its “costs” incurred in connection with the litigation. This is different than that party’s attorney’s fees. See Fla. Stat. s. 57.041 (“The party recovering judgment shall recover all his or her legal costs and charges which shall be included in the judgment.”). While the taxable or recoverable costs a party is entitled to is within the discretion of the trial court, there are important guidelines to be followed known as the Statewide Uniform Guidelines for Taxation of Costs in Civil Actions. See Fla.R.Civ.P. Taxation of Costs. The guidelines set...

Continue reading

I Lost the Appeal. Should I File an Appellate Motion for Rehearing???

If you find the top Florida appellate attorney, the chances of you losing an appeal will be slim. However, there are times when appeals lose. In these situations, people often find themselves lost and unsure what to do next. Do they file an appellate motion for rehearing? Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.330(a) states in pertinent part: "A motion for rehearing...

Continue reading

Rule of Completeness so Entire Writing or Statement is Contemporaneously Introduced

Florida Statute s. 90.108(1) provides: “When a writing or recorded statement or part thereof is introduced by a party, an adverse party may require him or her at that time to introduce any other part or any other writing or recorded statement that in fairness ought to be considered contemporaneously. An adverse party is not bound by evidence introduced under this section.” This is referred to as the rule of completeness. The objective behind this rule of completeness is to avoid misleading the jury with a statement that is based on incomplete information. See Harden v. State, 87 So.3d 1243,1249 (Fla. 4th...

Continue reading

Asking the Witness Leading Questions (that Suggest the Intended Answer)

  A leading question is a question asked of a witness that already suggests the witness’ answer. A leading question is asked by a lawyer to clue the witness to the intended answer he/she is seeking from the witness. Florida Statute s. 90.612(3) states: “Leading questions should not be used on the direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the witness's testimony. Ordinarily, leading questions should be permitted on cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.” This means that leading questions...

Continue reading

Using Deposition of Expert Witness at Trial and Reading Portion of Deposition Transcript

Expert witnesses are an important part of civil trials (and criminal trials).   Parties utilize expert witnesses at trial to render expert opinions. But, a testifying expert does not need to be at trial live (or, in person) to render an expert opinion.   Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.330(a)(3) provides in pertinent part: “The deposition of a witness, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds:…(F) the witness is an expert or skilled witness.” Similarly, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.390(b) provides: “The testimony of an expert…witness may be taken at any time...

Continue reading

Classic Hearsay: Declarant’s Out-of-Court Statement Offered to Prove the Truth of the Matter Asserted

I previously discussed the concept of hearsay and that hearsay is inadmissible evidence at trial. There are exceptions to hearsay---such as the business records exception or admissions against a party opponent—that I have written about since they are important hearsay exceptions at trial that come into play to admit evidence at trial. What is classic hearsay? Hearsay is simply an out-of-court statement (written or oral) introduced at trial to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the out-of-court statement. “[W]hen the only possible relevance of an out-of-court statement [introduced at trial] is directed to the truth of the matters stated by...

Continue reading

Impeaching (Attacking Witness’s Credibility) with a Prior Inconsistent Statement

  Impeachment is the art of attacking a testifying witness's credibility or truthfulness at trial.  One of the most common forms of impeachment during cross-examination at trial is with a prior inconsistent statement, such as deposition or affidavit testimony. The objective of impeachment is to establish that the witness is not a trustworthy witness, hence the reason it is referred to as attacking the witness’s credibility!  A prior inconsistent statement made by a testifying witness is a great way to attack that witness’s credibility at trial. See Elmer v. State, 114 So.3d 198, 202 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). (“It is axiomatic...

Continue reading

Jury Trial Considerations: Directed Verdict and the Verdict Form

Previously, I discussed a motion for directed verdict and, then, a motion to set aside a jury’s verdict. This is an important procedural vehicle to know because a party opposing a claim generally always moves for a direct verdict. In some instances, the court reserves ruling on the directed verdict to see how the jury decides the case. If the jury enters a verdict in favor of the party moving for a directed verdict (e.g., the defendant) then the court does not need to rule on the motion for directed verdict (it becomes moot). Recently, I wrote an article about a...

Continue reading

Note on Discovery in Litigation

Here is a quick note on discovery in litigation (e.g., document requests, depositions, interrogatories). An objective of discovery is to discover information that is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. In other words, just because the discovery appears irrelevant does not necessarily mean that pursuing such discovery will not reasonably lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. By taking a more liberal approach to the legal discovery process, hopefully, some of the unfortunate gamesmanship that occurs during discovery is eliminated or reduced. In particular, parties should not be able to unilaterally dictate what they believe is relevant...

Continue reading
Contact Me Now