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Florida Third DCA affirms trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion for new trial in motor vehicle negligence case; finds that weight to be given admissions by defendant on causation was a jury matter

On September 8, 2021, in Alvarez, etc. v. Acosta, et al., No. 3D20-640, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a trial court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial in a negligence case involving an accident in which the plaintiff’s motorcycle was struck by the defendant’s car. At trial, the returned a verdict for the defendant finding that she was not the cause of the accident. The Third DCA noted that there was conflicting evidence in the case concerning who caused the crash, including certain admissions made by the defendant. The plaintiff argued that the jury’s verdict was contrary to the evidence and the jury was “bound” by the defendant’s admissions. The Third DCA concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying a new trial motion because there was conflicting evidence presented at trial and the jury’s verdict was the product of its weighing that evidence to resolve the conflicts. The Third DCA cited Rosario-Paredes v. J.C. WreckerServ., 975 So. 2d 1205, 1207 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (“We conclude that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in denying the motion for new trial. When the evidence is in conflict, as it was in this case, it is the function of the jury to weigh the evidence and resolve those conflicts. . . . Reversal of a jury verdict is appropriate only in the absence of conflicting evidence, when there is no rational basis in the evidence to support the verdict.”).

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