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Can You Present Contradictory Theories in Your Lawsuit?

By January 10, 2024No Comments

When you file a lawsuit, your lawyer will draft a document called a “complaint.” The complaint describes your case’s factual allegations and then presents legal theories that support your cause for legal action. Colloquially, we call these, “counts.”

However, some “counts” or “theories” oftentimes contradict each other. For instance, a count for breach of contract generally is inconsistent with a count for a theory of “unjust enrichment.” This is because unjust enrichment is a theory that was designed as an alternative for situations where parties did not have a contract, or the contract is determined not to be valid.

Can you, then, in your complaint, present contradictory counts? The answer is a resounding, “Yes”. Time and time again, Florida courts have held that under the Florida rules of civil procedure, this is a permissible way to write your complaint. In fact, Rule 1.110(g) specifically states that “[a] party may … state as many separate claims or defenses as that party has, regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or equitable grounds or both.” Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.110(g) (emphasis added).

The Third District Court of Appeal has said that “[i]t is well-established that the law allows the promulgation of alternative theories of recovery.” Sager v. Blanco, 351 So.3d 1129, 1136 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022); see also Haskel Realty Group, Inc. v. KB Tyrone, LLC, 253 So.3d 84, 86 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018).

Moreover, the “Florida Rules of Civil Procedure permit inconsistency in pleadings as to either statements of facts or legal theories adopted.” Booker v. Sarasota, Inc., 707 So.2d 886, 888 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998); see also Morales v. Coca-Cola Co., 813 So.2d 162, 164 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) (“[p]arties are entitled to allege alternative inconsistent facts or theories in their pleadings”).

So, if your attorney isn’t certain about the most effective legal theory for your case, they’re permitted, and even encouraged, to plead alternative theories of recovery. However, this doesn’t imply that you’ll receive a “double” collection. Damages in cases undergo a distinct analysis, and parties are strictly prohibited from double collecting.

For more expert legal guidance on civil trials, business disputes, or attorney’s fees disputes, contact one of our experienced civil trial attorneys at 305-570-2208. You can also email our lead attorney Eduardo directly at

We at Ayala Law PA are passionate about helping those in legal need, so please don’t hesitate to schedule a case evaluation with us online here.

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