The Rules, They Are A Changin’: Recent Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration

Appellate Blog Post - 11.14.18Several significant amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration will take effect on January 1, 2019.  These amendments were outlined in three recent Florida Supreme Court opinions.  This blog posts discusses a few of the most notable changes to the rules.

Elimination of Additional Five Days for Service By Email

Perhaps the most universally important change is the elimination of the additional five days’ “mailing” time for email service that was previously provided under Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.514(b).

The court also amended subdivision (a)(1)(A) of Rule 2.514 to require that, in computing deadlines when the time period is stated in days or a longer unit of time, time frames are to be calculated beginning from the next day that is not a weekend or legal holiday.

Expansion of Jurisdiction for Review of Nonfinal Orders

The amendments also expand jurisdiction for review of nonfinal orders by authorizing two new categories of nonfinal orders that may be appealed to the district courts of appeal.  Orders that grant or deny a motion to disqualify counsel, and orders ruling that, as a matter of law, a settlement agreement is unenforceable, is set aside, or never existed will be appealable under Rule 9.130.

Clarification of Scope of Review of Partial Final Judgments

The rule governing review of partial final judgments, Rule 9.110(k), was amended to clarify the proper scope of review in those appeals.  Such review may include any ruling or matter that occurred before the notice of appeal was filed, so long as the ruling or matter is directly related to an aspect of the partial final judgment under review.

“One Attorney, One Brief” Rule

A new subdivision was added to Rule 9.210 providing that when an attorney is representing more than one party in an appeal, the attorney may file only one initial or answer brief and one reply brief.  A single party responding to multiple briefs, or a single party represented by several attorneys, is also limited to one initial or answer brief and one reply brief.

Post-Opinion Motions

Rule 9.330 was reorganized to more clearly outline the requirements for motions for rehearing, clarification, certification, or a written opinion.

The rule was also amended by adding language requiring that motions for certification set forth the cases that the party asserts expressly and directly conflict with the court’s order or decision or set forth the issue or question to be certified as one of great public importance.

The amendment to Rule 9.330 also broadens the grounds upon which a party may seek a written opinion following issuance of a per curiam affirmance.  Under the amended rule, a motion for written opinion on the grounds that an opinion would provide either a legitimate basis for review by the Florida Supreme Court; an explanation for an apparent deviation from precedent; or guidance to the parties or lower tribunal when the same issue is also present in other cases pending before the court or another district court of appeal, when the issue is expected to recur in future cases, when there are conflicting decisions from lower tribunals, when the issue is one of first impression, or when the issue arises in a case where the court has exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction.  An attorney who files a motion for written opinion is no longer required to include the certification previously required by Rule 9.330.

Email Address Required on Cover Page of Appellate Briefs

Rule 9.210(a)(4) was amended to require that the cover page of a brief include the email address of the attorney filing the brief.

New Rule on Notices of Related Case or Issue

The Florida Supreme Court adopted a new rule, Rule 9.380, which authorizes a party to file a notice of related case or issue informing the court of a pending, related case arising out of the same proceeding in the lower tribunal or involving a similar issue of law.  The notice must be in substantially the format prescribed by Rule 9.900(k) and only include information identifying the related case, and shall not contain argument.

Fee Motions in Discretionary Review Proceedings

Subdivisions (b)(3) and (b)(4) were added to set forth the deadline for filing fee motions in discretionary review proceedings under Rules 9.030(a)(2)(A) and 9.020(a)(2)(A)(v).

Amendments to Rule Governing Citation Form

The Florida Supreme Court also amended and clarified various subdivisions of Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.800, the rule governing citations forms for appellate filings.

RELATED LINKS AND RESOURCES

In Re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure – 2017 Regular-Cycle Report, No. SC17-152 (Fla. Oct. 25, 2018): http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2018/sc17-152.pdf

In Re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure—Electronic Service, No. SC17-882 (Fla. Oct. 25, 2018): http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2018/sc17-152.pdf

In Re: Amendments to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.800, No. SC17-999 (Fla. Oct. 25, 2018):  http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2018/sc17-999.pdf

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