HCBA Lawyer Magazine Vol. 29, No. 4 | Page 20

THe new Year usHers in signiFiCanT appellaTe rule aMendMenTs appellate practice Section Chairs: Tom Seider – Brannock & Humphries and Joe Eagleton – Brannock & Humphries it is always important, even for long-time practitioners, to consult the rules, but now you T he new year brought significant changes to the Florida Rules of Appellate procedure. Effective January 1, at 12:02 am, the Florida Supreme Court approved changes to long-standing deadlines, approved new interlocutory appeals, clarified briefing practices, liberalized motions for a written opinion, and updated Florida’s “Bluebook.” Deadlines. The biggest practical impact will be the way deadlines are calculated. For starters, gone forever are the extra five days for service by mail. Fortunately, most deadlines have been extended so that you will get more time, not less, to respond. What’s more, under the new amendments, instead of counting from the next day after service, the counting begins on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. Thus, if you are served with a brief on a Friday, the deadline for your response starts counting from the following Monday. Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.514(1)(1)(A). In cases where multiple briefs are filed, the deadline for responding to any brief runs from the service of the last such brief or, if the last brief due is ultimately not filed, from the deadline for service of that brief. Fla. R. App. P. 9.210(f). Finally, in most cases, the period for 18 have an excellent excuse to spend a little extra time with your rulebook. responding has been lengthened. For example, answer and reply briefs are now due in 30 days (instead of 20 days plus mail time) from service. Id. Virtually every relevant deadline has changed, so consult your updated rules before marking your calendar. Interlocutory Appeals. There are two new categories of interlocutory appeals as a matter of right in Rule 9.130. You may now appeal orders that determine, as a matter of law, that a settlement agreement is unenforceable, should be set aside, or never existed, as well as orders that grant or deny a motion to disqualify counsel. Briefing. The appellate rules now follow the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ practice of “one lawyer, one brief.” Thus, a lawyer representing more than one party in a case may file only one combined brief. Fla. R. App. P. 9.416 and 9.410. Rehearing Practice. The Court reorganized and simplified the rule on rehearing, making clear that all forms of post-opinion relief (rehearing, rehearing en banc, clarification, certification, motion for written opinion) must be combined in a single motion. Fla. R. App. P. 9.330. The amendment also liberalized the motion by expanding the reasons a litigant may seek a written opinion. Previously, the rule limited you to arguing that an opinion would necessarily reveal a ground for Florida Supreme Court review. Now you can argue that a written opinion would provide an explanation for an apparent deviation from past precedent or that a written opinion would provide guidance to the parties or the lower court in certain cases. Citations. Rule 9.800, Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, has been amended to update Florida standard citation formatting. In particular, the amendment clarifies the preferred method for citing slip opinions. These are just the highlights. There are many more changes affecting many aspects of appellate practice. Of course, it is always important, even for long-time practitioners, to consult the rules, but now you have an excellent excuse to spend a little extra time with your rulebook. Author: Steven L. Brannock - Brannock & Humphries MAR - APR 2019 | HCBA LAWYER