349 So.2d 1187 (Fla. 1977), 49570, Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R. Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtAuthor: Sundberg
Citation349 So.2d 1187
PartiesLinda S. HELMAN, Petitioner, v. SEABOARD COAST LINE RAILROAD COMPANY and William A. Cagle, Respondents.
Date28 July 1977
Docket Number49570.

Page 1187

349 So.2d 1187 (Fla. 1977)

Linda S. HELMAN, Petitioner,

v.

SEABOARD COAST LINE RAILROAD COMPANY and William A. Cagle, Respondents.

No. 49570.

Supreme Court of Florida.

July 28, 1977

Rehearing Denied Sept. 15, 1977.

Page 1188

Gordon V. Frederick, Sanford, and James O. Driscoll of Driscoll, Baugh, Langston, Layton & Kane, P. A., Orlando, for petitioner.

William H. Davis and Frederick J. Ward of Giles, Hedrick & Robinson, Orlando, for respondents.

SUNDBERG, Justice.

This cause is a petition for writ of certiorari to review a decision of the District Court of Appeal, Fourth District, reported at 330 So.2d 761. Because the District Court reweighed and reevaluated evidence considered by the trier of fact contrary to voluminous authority finding this practice outside the scope of appellate review, jurisdiction vests in this Court pursuant to Article V, Section 3(b)(3), Florida Constitution. See Westerman v. Shell's City, Inc., 265 So.2d 43 (Fla.1972), and its progeny.

Petitioner was injured when the vehicle in which she was a passenger collided with a train owned and operated by respondents. The accident occurred at dusk when the roads were wet from precipitation. Prior to the calamity, the intersection was recognized as being perilous because one quadrant of the railroad crossing was enshrouded by trees and shrubbery. In the instant cause, the driver of the southbound pickup truck had his view of the train obstructed until he was within seventy-five (75) feet of the crossing.

Page 1189

Petitioner received a favorable jury verdict based upon her allegations that respondents were negligent (1) in failing to warn adequately of the oncoming train by emitting a warning whistle which was inaudible to someone in a moving vehicle, (2) in traveling at an excessive speed, and (3) in failing to maintain a proper lookout. The District Court reversed, finding there was no competent evidence to support a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Specifically, it found the negative testimony regarding the sounding of the horn insufficient to support a finding of negligence. As to the allegation that the train was traveling at an excessive speed, the court found that the speed at which the train was traveling was not the proximate cause of the collision despite the fact that the freight was exceeding the speed limit prescribed by company rules. Similarly, the court found that where the brakeman testified that he was watching the crossing, saw the vehicle as soon as possible, yelled to the engineer, and applied the emergency brakes, failure to maintain a proper lookout could not have been the proximate cause of the accident.

We initiate this analysis by articulating three incontrovertible premises of law which are relevant to our disposition of this case. First, it is not the function of an appellate court to reevaluate the evidence and substitute its judgment for that of the jury. Herzog v. Herzog, Fla.Sup.Ct., 346 So.2d 56, filed March 10, 1977; Shaw v. Shaw, 334 So.2d 13 (Fla.1976); Ates v. Yellow Pine Land Co., 310 So.2d 772 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975); Littel v. Hunnicutt, 310 So.2d 45 (Fla. 1st...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 practice notes
  • Appellate standards of review.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 73 Nbr. 11, December - December 1999
    • December 1, 1999
    ...to see whether the record contains competent substantial evidence to support the decision. See Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187 (Fla. 1977) (jury); Abreau v. Amaro, 534 So. 2d 771 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988) (nonjury); State v. Garcia, 431 So. 2d 651 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983) (eviden......
  • The appellate decision-making process.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 80 Nbr. 4, April 2006
    • April 1, 2006
    ...B. J. 33 (Feb. 1996). (13) See, e.g., Sims v. Brown, 574 So. 2d 131 (Fla. 1991). (14) See, e.g., Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187 (Fla. 1977); Avery Dev. Corp. v. Village by the Sea Condo. Apartments, Inc., 567 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1990). (15) D'Angelo v. Fitzm......
  • Tell the truth.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 75 Nbr. 11, December 2001
    • December 1, 2001
    ...of law, including appellate practice, the best policy is to Tell the Truth. (1) See, e.g., Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187, 1189 (Fla. 1977) (jury verdict sustained if supported by "any competent evidence"); Avery Dev. Corp. v. Village by the Sea Condominium Apartmen......
143 cases
  • 43 So.3d 710 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 2010), 4D08-1968, Lawnwood Medical Center, Inc. v. Sadow
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeals. Fourth District
    • March 24, 2010
    ...of one party makes it appropriate to accept that party's version of disputed issues of fact); Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So.2d 1187 (Fla.1977) (not function of appellate court to reevaluate evidence and substitute its judgment for [2] This surgery is described as " hig......
  • 438 So.2d 14 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1983), 81-1497, Stahl v. Metropolitan Dade County
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeals. Third District
    • June 7, 1983
    ...when reasonable people cannot differ, the issue has been said to be one of law for the court. Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 349 So.2d 1187, 1189 (Fla.1977); 8 Kwoka v. Page 22 296 So.2d 629 (Fla. 3d DCA), cert. denied, 304 So.2d 450 (Fla.1974). III Turning now to the instant case......
  • 650 So.2d 1073 (Fla.App. 5 Dist. 1995), 93-2261, Pyne v. Black
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeals. Fifth District
    • February 17, 1995
    ...by the evidence) found by the trial judge and affirm Judge McNeal's order in its entirety. See Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So.2d 1187, 1189 (Fla.1977) (stating that it is not the appellate court's function to reevaluate evidence and to substitute its judgment for that of the......
  • 543 So.2d 258 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 1989), 88-02887, In re Guardianship of Browning
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeals. Second District
    • April 10, 1989
    ...it should determine that the surrogate's decision was based upon substantial, competent evidence. Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 349 So.2d 1187 (Fla.1977). The trial court should not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the surrogate decisionmaker. If the trial c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Appellate standards of review.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 73 Nbr. 11, December - December 1999
    • December 1, 1999
    ...to see whether the record contains competent substantial evidence to support the decision. See Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187 (Fla. 1977) (jury); Abreau v. Amaro, 534 So. 2d 771 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988) (nonjury); State v. Garcia, 431 So. 2d 651 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983) (eviden......
  • The appellate decision-making process.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 80 Nbr. 4, April 2006
    • April 1, 2006
    ...B. J. 33 (Feb. 1996). (13) See, e.g., Sims v. Brown, 574 So. 2d 131 (Fla. 1991). (14) See, e.g., Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187 (Fla. 1977); Avery Dev. Corp. v. Village by the Sea Condo. Apartments, Inc., 567 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1990). (15) D'Angelo v. Fitzm......
  • Tell the truth.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 75 Nbr. 11, December 2001
    • December 1, 2001
    ...of law, including appellate practice, the best policy is to Tell the Truth. (1) See, e.g., Helman v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R. Co., 349 So. 2d 1187, 1189 (Fla. 1977) (jury verdict sustained if supported by "any competent evidence"); Avery Dev. Corp. v. Village by the Sea Condominium Apartmen......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT