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Florida Fifth DCA affirms judgment against insurer in uninsured motorist case, finding plaintiff counsel’s improper closing remark to jury that empathy was a proper consideration did not rise to the level of reversible error

On December 11, 2020, in State Farm v. Knapp, et al., No. 5D19-2219, a per curiam decision, the Florida Fifth DCA affirmed a judgment against the defendant insurer in an uninsured motorist  case.  The Fifth DCA agreed with the defendant insurer that it was improper for plaintiff’s counsel to suggest to prospective jurors that empathy was a proper consideration in reaching a verdict.  The Fifth DCA noted that that it had previously disapproved of a trial court’s instruction attempting to draw a distinction between sympathy and empathy.  See Joe v. State, 617 So. 2d 843 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993).  However, the Court concluded that it did not rise to the level of reversible error.

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