On january 1 1986 harrison was brutally attacked in

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Unformatted text preview: llen, J., concurs and Nimmons, J., concurs and dissents in part with written opinion. OPINIONBY: SMITH 32 OPINION: [*747] Appellant, Tallahassee Furniture Company, Inc., appeals from a jury verdict finding it liable for personal injuries suffered by the appellee, Elizabeth Holland Harrison, and awarding compensatory and punitive damages. For the reasons discussed [**2] below, we affirm. On January 1, 1986, Harrison was brutally attacked in her home by John Allen Turner, a furniture delivery man employed by Tallahassee Furniture. The attack left Harrison with permanent scaring and disfigurement, loss of one eye, and partial paralysis in both hands. Harrison filed suit, alleging in her complaint that Tallahassee Furniture was negligent in hiring and retaining Turner, and that Tallahassee Furniture was also liable on an agency theory. A summary judgment in favor of [*748] Tallahassee Furniture was reversed on appeal, Harrison v. Tallahassee Furniture Co., Inc., 529 So.2d 790 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988), when this court held that the existence of numerous issues of fact made summary judgment inappropriate. On remand, after a six-day trial at which Harrison presented the testimony of 21 witnesses, the jury returned a general verdict in favor of Harrison for $ 1,900,000 in compensatory damages, and $ 600,000 punitive damages. This appeal followed. Tallahassee Furniture argues for reversal primarily upon five grounds: (1) that the trial court erred in submitting the theories of actual or apparent agency to the jury; (2) that Tallahassee Furniture satisfied [**3] its duty of reasonable care in hiring and retaining Turner, and was thus entitled to judgment as a matter of law; (3) that the trial court reversibly erred in admitting into evidence Turner's psychiatric and criminal records, including juvenile offenses; (4) that Tallahassee Furniture did not proximately cause Harrison's injuries; and (5) that the court erred in submitting the issue of punitive damages to the jury. I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND The evidence at trial established that prior to being employed in the job he held at the time Harrison was injured, John Allen Turner had performed some work as a laborer on construction projects for a company owned in part by a man...
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