Motions Postponing Rendition

Now that we no longer have to worry about abandoning an authorized motion for rehearing by filing a notice of appeal, the appellate courts understandably want to know if there is such a motion pending. The Fifth District recently issued a notice [.pdf] expressly asking parties to inform the court if an appeal should be held in abeyance. Specifically, the court asks that, along with the notice of appeal, the parties “immediately” inform the court of pending motions by filing a notice with the Court. Similarly, parties are requested to file a notice with the court again when the trial court rules on the pending motion, and include a copy of the lower tribunal’s signed, written order disposing of the motion.

To further facilitate this, the Court this week amended Administrative Order AO5D12-2 [.pdf] to require the clerk of the lower tribunal to indicate on its transmittal that a motion postponing rendition is pending.

This just makes sense, and would be good practice in all of the DCAs, even in the absence if a formal request from the Clerk. The easier parties make it for the Court to get to the merits, the better the system works for everyone. The full text of the notice reads:

Informing the Appellate Court of Pending Motions Postponing Rendition at time of Filing the Notice of Appeal

April 10, 2015

Effective January 1, 2015, Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.020(i)(3) has been amended to eliminate the abandonment of motions authorized pursuant to rule 9.020(l) by the filing of a notice of appeal. Rendition of a final order will be delayed by the filing or service of a timely and authorized motion and the filing of a notice of appeal will not result in the abandonment of such a motion but rather the appeal shall be held in abeyance until the filing of a signed, written order disposing of the motion.

Attorneys and parties filing a notice of appeal should immediately inform the court by the filing of a proper notice if a motion postponing rendition is pending so that the case may properly be held in abeyance. Likewise, the attorneys or parties in the case should inform the court by notice upon the lower tribunal disposition of such motions by filing a copy of the lower tribunal’s signed, written order disposing of the motion.

Lower court clerks, lower tribunal clerks, and agency clerks are now required to complete a new section of the electronic transmittal form submitted when efiling notices of appeal to this court which must indicate whether or not a motion postponing rendition is pending in the case below. Clerks must mark this section of the form or the notice of appeal may be rejected until such time as the transmittal form is properly completed.

/s/
____________________________
Joanne P. Simmons, Clerk of Court

Crisis Averted in Eleventh Circuit

The Eleventh Circuit is no longer in a state of emergency. At the end of last year, the Chief Judge had issued General Order 41 [.pdf], which allowed appeals to be heard by panels that did not include at least 2 11th Circuit judges. On Friday, the Court rescinded that emergency via General Order 42 [.pdf]. Panels that have already heard argument or had non-argument cases submitted prior to the issuance of Order 42 will consider the appeals as submitted, but all future panels will go back to having at least 2 11th Circuit Judges on them.

Court Requests Word Documents

The Second District Court of Appeal last week issued a — notice? request? gentle nudge? — asking that attorneys submitting briefs via the eFiling Portal submit Microsoft Word documents instead of .pdfs. According to the notice [.pdf here] while the court cannot mandate filing Word documents, “the court strongly encourages use of MS Word for submission of briefs” because “Installing hyperlinks to citations by court staff is greatly facilitated if the document in
question is filed in MS Word.”

And if the Court staff is happy, the judges are happy. And if the judges are happy, they are focusing on your substance instead of administrative matters. So take note, 2DCA appellants. Take note.

Bonus tip for WordPerfect users: You can most likely adhere to the Court’s request by filing your document in the more universal .rtf format. The portal accepts WordPerfect documents as well as Word documents, but the .rtf file format will more closely preserve your formatting when the Court opens your document in Word.