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.