Boyd & Jenerette Secure Defense Verdict In Auto-Accident Appeal, Appellate Court Affirms Ruling

April 30, 2024 by on News

Kansas Gooden and Kevin Franz successfully defended an appeal filed by a plaintiff in an auto-accident case, which resulted in a defense verdict.  The jury answered “NO” to the question, “Was there negligence on part of Defendant, which was a legal cause of loss, injury, or damage to Plaintiff?”  Plaintiff appealed arguing that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence because Defendant was negligent and that her negligence caused at least some damage to the Plaintiff.

We defended the appeal arguing that the evidence supported the jury’s findings, including that the Defendant acted with due care under the unique circumstances of the accident.  We also argued that Plaintiff waived her appellate arguments by failing to object to the jury instructions and verdict form.  In addition, we filed a “contingent” cross-appeal in an abundance of caution in the event of a reversal.  The trial court made numerous rulings we found erroneous, and we asked the appellate court to reverse those findings in the event of a new trial.

This was a difficult appeal because the trial court excluded all evidence of Plaintiff’s comparative fault in causing the accident and excluded pertinent evidence that the accident occurred in a construction zone.  This evidence went to Defendant’s lack of negligence, and because it was excluded, the defense was required to proffer this evidence outside the presence of the jury to preserve the record on appeal.  Additionally, the trial court entered a “freeze” of discovery years before trial, which made defending the action difficult because the defense was unable to learn what treatment Plaintiff underwent from 2019 through 2022.  The jury was instructed during the June 2022 trial to consider the case as if it was November 2019.  These rulings were the subject of Defendant’s cross-appeal, which was not reached because the appellate court affirmed the judgment in favor of the Defendant.

The appellate court cited a decision we relied on, which supported our position that Plaintiff was not entitled to any damages given the conflicting evidence, Plaintiff’s lack of candor with her treating physicians, and Plaintiff’s preexisting conditions.

Kansas R. Gooden
Shareholder / Practice Group Leader
Direct: 305.537.1238

About Kansas R. Gooden

Kansas R. Gooden, a Board Certified Appellate Specialist and AV Rated attorney, serves as the firm’s General Counsel and Appellate Practice Group Leader.  Ms. Gooden currently works remotely for the firm in Miami. Through her remote work, she efficiently and cost-effectively serves her client’s needs.

Ms. Gooden has extensive experience handling all types of civil appellate proceedings in the Florida Supreme Court, all Florida District Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  She is often retained in cases at or headed to the Florida Supreme Court or is retained to develop statewide litigation strategy to effectuate change in the common law.  She is one of the only attorneys—and likely the only woman—who has argued back-to-back cases on the same day before the Florida Supreme Court.

Many of Ms. Gooden cases are those of first impression, and those involving insurance coverage and bad faith issues.  Clients trust Ms. Gooden to handle their high-profile appellate litigation.

In addition to handling appeals, she also provides litigation and trial support to attorneys throughout the state. She is often called upon to attend trials and hearing to assist in preserving the error for later appeal.

Ms. Gooden is highly involved in the state and local bar associations and has served in many leadership roles.   Ms. Gooden served as the President of Florida Defense Lawyers Association, the statewide civil defense bar, in 2021-2022.  She still chairs the organization’s Amicus Committee and has since 2017.  On behalf of the organization, she authors and co-authors amicus briefs in important cases impacting tort, litigation, and insurance issues.

Ms. Gooden is the Chair of the Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section.  She has been active in the Appellate Practice Section for over a decade. She has served on the Executive Council and previously chaired the CLE Committee for several years.

Ms. Gooden also currently serves on the Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education. This committee oversees the certification committees and CLE accreditation for the bar.  She previously served on and chaired the Florida Bar’s Appellate Board Certification Committee, which writes and grades the appellate board certification test. The examination tests an applicant’s knowledge of state and federal appeals in the areas of civil, criminal, administrative, worker’s compensation, probate, and family law. The committee also examines the fitness of the candidates for board certification and those applying for recertification.

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Kevin D. Franz
Direct: 954.622.0093

About Kevin D. Franz

Kevin D. Franz is a partner with the firm’s Appellate Practice division. Mr. Franz is Board Certified in Appellate Practice by The Florida Bar. He has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating, and has more than 15 years of experience handling all types of civil appellate proceedings. Mr. Franz has handled appeals and petitions in all five district courts of appeal for the State of Florida, the Supreme Court of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has presented oral argument before all five district courts of appeal and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Mr. Franz received his B.S. from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2001, and his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in 2005. He then clerked for the Honorable E. Allen Shepherd in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland before beginning his career in insurance defense with an emphasis on litigation support and appellate practice.

Mr. Franz is admitted to practice before the Florida Supreme Court, the five Florida District Courts of Appeal, the three United States District Courts in Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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