CourtCases2010

A melbourne for appellants jerry d mcgreal and james i

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Unformatted text preview: t, Tolbert & Thompson, P.A., Melbourne, for Appellants. Jerry D. McGreal and James I. Knudson of Knudson & McGreal, P.A., Rockledge and Edna L. Caruso of Caruso, Burlington, Bohn & Compiani, P.A., West Palm Beach, for Appellee. JUDGES: PETERSON, J., SHARP, W., and HARRIS, JJ., concur. OPINIONBY: PETERSON OPINION: [*159] PETERSON, J. Arthur P. Strahan, Patricia Strahan, Arthur P. Strahan, Jr., and Strahan Music Inc. (collectively "the Strahans") appeal the final judgment granted to Dewey L. Gauldin for damages that resulted when a juke box fell out of a pickup truck and injured him. The Strahans contend that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on res ipsa loquitur, awarding Gauldin fees pursuant to the offer of judgment statute, and by applying a multiplier to those fees. [*160] I. RES IPSA LOQUITUR INSTRUCTION 7 Gauldin was injured when, without assistance, [**2] Arthur P. Strahan, Jr. attempted to load a juke box upon the bed of a pickup truck equipped with a rear power liftgate. Strahan had successfully raised the liftgate with the juke box on it, but the box then slid off the truck and hit Gauldin. Strahan, who had loaded equipment into trucks many times, described to the jury how he was attempting to load this juke box the moment before he lost control: A: At this point the lift is up with the deck. It is like a continuous deck now. It matches up with the deck of the truck. I went to rotate it and for some reason the bottom kicks out. Q: What causes the bottom to kick out? A: I have no idea. I'm assuming that the outer deck, the one that it was on, had chicken tracks on it and was keeping it. When it got on the smoother surface, it may have allowed it -- I'm not sure when it kicked out, I had to drop back to balance it. I stopped its movement at the time, but I couldn't prevent it from going further. Strahan speculated that perhaps the wheels on the juke box caught on something, but he was unable to explain the loss of control although he was the sole person in control of the juke box just prior to its conversion into the...
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