Bulte v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.—(J. Gordo; 3DCA; 1/4/23). This case is about race-based objections during jury selection in a civil case. In Florida, such cases are governed by the standard set out in Melbourne v. State, 679 So. 2d 759 (Fla. 1996). Bulte sought to use a peremptory strike against a “Hispanic woman juror.” Dollar Tree challenged and asked for a race-neutral and gender-neutral reason. Bulte tried to do that, but the trial court found that the reasons were not genuine, and it disallowed the use of the peremptory. The standard of review is whether the ruling was clearly erroneous or an abuse of discretion. In a conclusory fashion, the DCA held that it wasn’t going to second-guess the judge, who can observe everyone’s demeanor.
Terry P. Roberts
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC