Second District Implements Agreed Enlargements of Time

The Second District Court of Appeal has joined the Third, Fourth, and Fifth district courts of appeal in allowing parties to file stipulated enlargements of time. Administrative Order 2013-1 [.pdf] allows parties to agree without court order to up to 90 days’ worth of extra time to submit initial or answer briefs, and up to 60 days of extra time for reply briefs. The Second’s timing is thus in line with that of the Fifth District, while the Third and Fourth allow parties to agree to up to 120 days extra time without leave of court.

That leaves only the First DCA without an standing order allowing stipulated enlargements. For the time being, you still need to file a motion in the First.

New Issues a No Go on Rehearing

The Fourth DCA recently issued an opinion on rehearing in which it reiterated a pretty basic, but nonetheless important point: If you didn’t raise an issue in your initial brief, you can’t raise it for the first time on a motion for rehearing before the appellate court. See Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Naugle, No. 4D10-1607 (Dec. 12, 2012) [.pdf]. The lesson, of course, is that if it is important enough to argue it all, an issue must go in your initial brief. Remember, Rule 9.330 requires that a party seeking rehearing point out “with particularity the points that…the court has overlooked or misapprehended in its decision.” The court cannot misapprehend or overlook that which a party never argued to begin with!

Typography in Appellate Briefs

Rules geeks also tend to be typography geeks. It’s no wonder, then, that I adore Typography for Lawyers. This lovely website is chock full of suggestions for making your briefs more readable, and yes, just plain more beautiful. Sadly, the site correctly points out that one does not really have much leeway when it comes to briefs filed in the Florida appellate courts — your choices are Times New Roman or Courier, and that’s it — but it does contain many important points on basic typography. I knew I would agree with the site when I saw Lesson One. Straight quotes are my big pet peeve, right up there with people using the open single quote mark when they mean to use an apostrophe. (OK, the open single quote for apostrophe is worse. But barely. And I firmly blame Microsoft Word for much of this problem in the world).

Most of the lessons here I learned in college, when I took a magazine publishing class. One of my text books was a small softback called The Mac is Not a Typewriter. I am sure it is painfully out of date as far as its statements about the use of a 15 year old Macintosh computer are concerned. But the typography lessons I learned from that book and in that class were timeless.

Am I able to implement all of those lessons in every brief? No. For example, I agree that one should use a single space after a period when using a proportional font, but because most people don’t agree, I am always told things look wrong if I do it that way, and I have just stopped fighting the tide on that one. (I wish I could walk the walk on my own blog, but the reality is, that double-space is just too ingrained in my hands right now to go back and forth). But knowing the right way, even if you make a conscious choice not to follow it, is far better than laboring along in ignorance. So check it out.