Published on:

Failure to Preserve Trial Error May Result in an Inability to Appeal Adverse Ruling in Florida

Trial judges are required to make numerous spur-of-the-moment decisions in each case. Many of these decisions involve whether certain evidence is admissible, whether a party’s request for a continuance should be granted, or whether a party’s motion should be granted. In each of these cases, if the trial judge comes to the wrong conclusion he or she may be reversed on appeal.

popcorn-707364_960_720Whenever a party loses a case, they may wish to appeal. This means that the court that heard the case loses jurisdiction, and a higher court reviews the issues presented during the subsequent appeal. However, before an appellate court will hear an appeal, the party requesting the appeal must show that they first presented the lower court with an opportunity to rule on the issue. Absent that showing, an appellate court will likely refuse to hear the appeal. That is exactly what happened in a recent case in front of the Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

Stults v. International Flavors

In Stults v. International Flavors, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of microwavable popcorn. He claimed that he developed a lung disease after consuming between one to three bags of microwavable popcorn per day for twenty years. He cited recent studies indicating that the flavoring used to give popcorn a “buttery” flavor was shown to cause the very lung disease he was diagnosed with.

At trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant had experts testify, and the trial court had to make several evidentiary rulings regarding the experts’ testimony. At the end of the trial, the jury determined that the plaintiff had not made out his case against the defendants, and issued a defense verdict.

The plaintiff filed an appeal, claiming that the evidentiary rulings the trial judge made regarding the expert witnesses were in error, and that the curative instruction given to the jury was insufficient to remedy any harm caused by the improper testimony. However, the appellate court determined that, because the plaintiff failed to object at the time of the curative instruction he forfeited the right to bring up the issue on appeal. As a result of this, the plaintiff will not be able to seek compensation for the injuries he claimed were caused by the defendant’s product.

Have You Been Hurt by a Dangerous Product in Florida?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured after consuming or using a dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers all have a duty to ensure that the products they deal in are safe for consumers. The skilled and compassionate attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Cohn & Smith know what it takes to successfully represent their clients, and have the track record to prove it. Call 954-431-8100 today to set up a consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to get you the compensation you deserve.

Related Blog Posts:

Florida Plaintiff’s Bad-Faith Claim against Insurance Company Upheld on Appeal, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 16, 2016.

Federal Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court Judgment and Rules Against Firearms Manufacturer in Products Liability Lawsuit, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 4, 2016.

Contact Information