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Who has the burden of proof of affirmative defenses in a civil lawsuit?

Miami, FL |

I have read that defendants have this burden of proof. Is that correct? If so, what is the standard of proof?

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Attorney answers 3


An affirmative defense is alleged on behalf of a defendant and therefore, the defendant must prove the elements of the affirmative defense. In a civil case the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence (proof outweighs, even so slightly, in favor of defendant).

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The burden of proof in Florida civil courts is t"he greater weight of the evidence". This means the more convincing force and effect of the entire evidence in the case.

The plaintiff has the burden of proving a prima facia case, and the defense has to prove its affirmative defenses by the same standard.

Affirmative defenses admit arguendo that the plaintiff has a legally sufficient case, but constitute an avoidance of liability for a legal reason, for example, the statute of limitations has run, the debt has been satisfied, the right plaintiff asserts has been waived, etc.

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Someone who is attempting to avoid a claim asserts an affirmative defense. That party would have the burden of proving up that defense. Burden of proof in a civil case is generally the preponderance or greater weight of the evidence. There are defenses that may require a higher legal standard. Consult with an attorney about the legal case you are involved in, if any.

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