Last week, in Rodriguez v. State, 3D12-2238, the Third District Court of Appeal confirmed that the harmful error standard in civil cases in the Third District “is whether, but for such error, a different result may have been reached.” As noted by the appellate court, the Third District’s test conflicts with the Fourth District’s test, announced in Special v. Baux, 79 So. 3d 755 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011), which places the burden on the beneficiary of the error to show “it is more likely than not that the error did not influence the trier of fact and thereby contribute to the verdict.”
The Fourth District’s test is currently before the Florida Supreme Court. See Special v. W. Boca Med. Ctr., 90 So. 3d 273 (Fla. 2012). Pending a ruling, the Third District adhered to its standard and certified conflict with Special.