Is Good Friday a Court Holiday? It Depends

Today an attorney asked me to confirm whether his deadline was really today under the rules, or if the deadline rolled to Monday. And I told him what I am telling you: it depends! What court are you in? As I’ve explained before, Florida Rule of Judicial Administration Rule 9.420 clarifies what constitutes a legal holiday, and defines holidays as:

(A) the day set aside by section 110.117, Florida Statutes, for observing New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day; and
(B) any day observed as a holiday by the clerk’s office or as designated by the chief judge.

Good Friday is not on the enumerated list. But it happens to be observed as a holiday by many, if not most, of the courts in this state, including the First DCA (Admin. Order 13-1, July 9, 2013 [.pdf]), Second DCA, Third DCA, Fourth DCA, Fifth DCA, and Florida Supreme Court [.pdf]. So if you have an appellate deadline today, Happy Easter! It’s due Monday instead. And if your deadline is in the trial court, I recommend checking the clerk’s website and putting a copy of the order in your records in case timeliness becomes an issue down the road on appeal.

Two District Courts Allow Stipulated Enlargements of Time

Today’s the day that the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s Administrative Order allowing stipulated enlargements of time go into effect. The Fifth joins the Fourth District Court of Appeal in allowing parties to agree to an enlargement, and then sign a Notice of Enlargement informing the court of the agreement. The Notice need not be signed by both parties, though it must be agreed to by both sides. Be very careful with your calendaring — the Fifth and Fourth have different tolerance levels for the number of days that will be allowed to be extended by stipulation before requiring a motion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other District Courts of Appeal follow suit soon to take these tedious but necessary motions off of the court’s plate.

Agreed Enlargements of Time in the Fifth DCA

Following the trend started by the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the Fifth District Court of Appeal recently decided to take motions for enlargement of time off of the plate of both the judges and court staff by issuing an administrative order [.pdf] allowing parties to instead stipulate to an agreed enlargement of time. Effective March 1, 2013, parties can agree to up to 90 days worth of enlargements for initial and answer briefs, and up to 60 days for a reply brief, by merely filing a stipulation. Notably, this is less time than the Fourth DCA allows before requiring a motion. The Court has a preferred form for the stipulation, so be sure to follow the language of the order. The procedure goes into effect starting March 1, 2013.

Enlargements beyond those deadlines will still require leave of court. And my guess would be that the Court will not be happy to see an enlargement of time motion come across its desk after 90 days.