Practice tip: If you are appealing a final order rendered in Palm Beach, Broward, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee or St. Lucie counties, hand deliver your notice of appeal, and don’t go until you have a file-stamped copy of the notice in your hands.
Carlos Soledispa’s lawyer learned this lesson the hard way. He sent the Notice of Appeal by courier, and had proof of delivery on February 11, which should have been timely for filing a notice of appeal of a January 13, 2010 order. But the trial court clerk didn’t stamp the Notice as received until February 23, 2010 — too late. The Fourth DCA certified conflict with the Third and Fifth DCAs, but refused to accept the evidence of timely filing, insisting that the “filing stamp date governs the filing date.”
The trial-level clerks are quite backlogged, and I am not all that shocked that it took ten days to process a notice of appeal. I am, however, chagrined that the court would not allow the appellant to rebut the presumption of the correctness of the file stamp.
An untimely notice of appeal is doom for even the best appeal. File early, and don’t rest until you have proof of timely filing in hand.