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Right For The Wrong Reason May Not Be Right on Summary Judgment

November 10, 2023

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Generally, Florida appellate courts will affirm a final judgment, even where the trial court’s reasoning is wrong, if there is any record support for the judgment.  This right for the wrong reason is still right rule is often called the Tipsy Coachman Rule:  “The pupil of impulse, it fore'd him along, His conduct still right, with his argument wrong; Still aiming at honour, yet fearing to roam, The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home; . . . ”.  Carraway v. Armour & Co., 156 So. 2d 494 (Fla. 1963).


Recently, in Walls v. Roadway, Inc., 48 Fla. L. Weekly D 1878 (Fla. ed DCA September 20, 2023), Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal found that the Tipsy Coachman Rule did not apply in summary judgment cases and that arguments not raised in the pleadings or addressed by the trial court could not be considered on appeal.


The Takeaway.


To preserve your issues for appeal, be sure to brief and argue all your points, and be sure that the trial judge, on the record in its order, addresses all your points. Doing so assures that there is record support for your position even where the judge’s reasoning is wrong, but the result reached is correct.

Walls v. Roadway
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