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Florida First DCA rules that testimony by officer on accident reconstruction was erroneously admitted because officer's findings were based on hearsay and speculation

On September 29, 2017, in Heartland Express, Inc. of Iowa v. Farber, No. 1D15-1157/16-1356, the Florida First DCA ruled that testimony by a police officer regarding accident reconstruction was erroneously admitted at trial because the officer’s findings were based on hearsay and speculation. Nevertheless, the First DCA found that the error did not substantially prejudice the plaintiff and entitle him to a new trial on the issues of wantonness and punitive damages under Alabama law, and the First DCA accordingly reversed the trial court’s order granting a new trial on these issues. The First DCA also ruled that the plaintiff was not entitled to attorney’s fees under Section 768.79(1), Florida Statutes, based on the defendant’s rejection of a proposal for settlement, because Section 768.79 does not apply to cases governed by the substantive law of another jurisdiction (Alabama in this case). See Southeast Floating Docks, Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, 82 So. 3d 73 (Fla. 2012).