More Time to Serve Rule 1.530 Motion for New Trial or Rehearing

The Florida Supreme Court last week approved several changes to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure [.pdf]. The Rule change most likely to affect appellate practitioners — for the better — is the change to Rule 1.530:

Time for Motion. A motion for new trial or for rehearing shall be served not later than 1015 days after the return of the verdict in a jury action or the date of filing of the judgment in a non-jury action. A timely motion may be amended to state new grounds in the discretion of the court at any time before the motion is determined.

The time for service of a motion to alter or amend the judgment under 1.530(g) and for the court to grant rehearing on its own initiative under 1.530(d) is likewise expanded from 10 to 15 days.

This rule change is made without comment from the Supreme Court, but it makes a lot of sense. It can be quite difficult to obtain transcripts in time to prepare a good motion for rehearing, and having a transcript to support the motion is a great help to both the trial and appellate court. I am glad to see it. And the added bonus? Those who are not paying attention to the rule change will be early, rather than late, so this won’t cause a lot of litigation over timeliness of these (jurisdictional) motions.

The change is effective January 1, 2014.

SCOTUS Updates Rules of Practice

The United States Supreme Court has updated its rules of practice, effective July 1, 2013 [.pdf]. The changes are relatively minor, such that the Court did not make them available for comment before adopting them. The changes include:

  • Rule 12.6: Providing that a party aligned with and supporting the grant of a petition has 30 days to file a supporting brief. The party must still notify the court of its intent to file within 20 days, and cannot get an enlargement of time to file.
  • Rules 15 & 18: Increasing the number of days the Clerk waits to distribute petitions to the Justices, which gives Petitioners more time to get a reply brief served and included in the distribution packet.
  • Rule 29.3: requiring electronic transmission of Petitions to other parties in most instances.
  • Rules 37.2(a) and 3(a): Clarifying that only one signatory to an amicus brief need get consent, eliminating the need for additional signatories to file consents.
  • Rule 39: Allowing attorneys who are appointed by a state court to appear without filing an affidavit of indigency.
  • Rule 28.8: Requiring everyone to argue before the Court to be an attorney.

This article explains the interesting backstory of the Court’s new Rule 28.8, including the fascinating story of the last non-lawyer to argue (and win!) before the Supreme Court.

Updated 11th Circuit Rules and Pro Se Handbook

The Eleventh Circuit has updated its rules [.pdf], with many of the new rules aimed at bringing the rules in line with the realities of CM/ECF electronic filing. As explained in the cover letter, the changes:

  • Add a new rule requiring counsel to file documents electronically using the Court’s Electronic Case Files (ECF) system. 11th Cir. R. 25-3.
  • Add a new rule to address electronic brief uploading when counsel are exempt from using the ECF system. 11th Cir. R. 31-5.
  • Delete IOP 11, Electronic Transmission of Emergency Petition for Rehearing En Banc (following FRAP 35) as unnecessary in light of mandatory electronic filing.
  • Add reference to the John C. Godbold Federal Building. IOP 1, Physical Facilities (following FRAP 47).
  • Clarify that copies are only required when certain items are filed in paper. 11th Cir. R. 22-4(a)(3); 11th Cir. R. 27-1(a)(1); IOP 6, Citation of Supplemental Authorities (following FRAP 28); IOP 1, Citation of Supplemental Authorities (following FRAP 29);
    IOP, Motions for Damages and Costs (following FRAP 38); 11th Cir. R. 40-5.
  • Substitute the term “non-argument” for “screening” in various rules and IOPs. 11th Cir. R. 31-6(b); 11th Cir. R. 34-3(e); IOP 1, Non-Argument Calendar (following FRAP 34); 11th Cir. R. 46-10(b); IOP 9c, Non-Argument Calendar Appeals, and IOP 9d, Oral Argument Calendar Appeals (following FRAP 47).

As with prior updates, the new rules thankfully come with a guide to replace pages with change without having to trash your entire prior copy of the rules.

Along with the Rules, the Court has also updated its pro se handbook [.pdf] to reflect the new procedures.