Kansas R. Gooden and Kevin D. Franz successfully obtained an opinion from the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversing entry of a new trial and remanding for the trial court to reinstate the jury’s defense verdict in favor of a homeowner.
Plaintiff, a professional insurance adjuster, fell from an attic through a garage ceiling while inspecting a home. He sued the homeowner for premises liability, and the jury returned a defense verdict finding that the homeowner was not negligent.
Plaintiff’s counsel moved for a mistrial during Defendant’s closing argument regarding a single, isolated comment. Plaintiff objected on the basis of Golden Rule. After the jury returned a defense verdict and was discharged, the trial judge granted the mistrial and ordered a new trial. However, the order contained an additional ground, which was not asserted by the Plaintiff – conscience of the community.
On behalf of the homeowner, we appealed arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in granting the mistrial and ordering a new trial. The Fifth District Court of Appeal held that the lone comment was not a Golden Rule violation. The appellate court found that any argument that the statement was a conscience of the community violation was not preserved through a contemporaneous objection.