Eleventh Circuit Rule Amendments Effective April 2, 2018

The Eleventh Circuit has made a handful of changes to its rules affecting tax practitioners, appellate mediation, and the ability of counsel coming in after an appeal has been initiated to file a replacement brief. Specifically, the rule amendments:

  • Now require the Tax Court to prepare exhibits in the same way any District Court would, by deleting a sentence in Eleventh Circuit Rule 11-3.
  • Remove the local setting out a procedure for late-filed counsel to file a replacement brief before the Court, former Rule 31-6, and all references to it.
  • Delete the requirement that parties serve “an original and one copy” of the Civil Appeal Statement, and remove the requirement of filing copies of portions of the record with the statement, since electronic filing and access to dockets makes serving extra copies or record documents moot.
  • Without a specific rule governing replacement briefs, does this mean the Eleventh Circuit will no longer allow replacement brief practice? The answer is unclear, but I would counsel clients not to count on it.

    The new rules became effective April 2, 2018.

    Rules Governing Electronic Appendices and Records Amended to Ease Readability

    THE NEWS

    Effective Sunday, October 1, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court’s amendments to the appellate rules go into effect.  The amendments are largely designed to update the rules to comport with the realities of producing and easily reading electronic appendices and records.

    THE TRAP FOR THE UNWARY PRACTITIONER

    Rule 9.220 is amended, adding new requirements for an appendix.  Now, an appendix must:

    • contain a coversheet that meets specific requirements for content;
    • contain a certificate of service;
    • generally be filed as a separate, single PDF file;
    • be properly indexed and consecutively paginated, with the cover sheet being page 1 and the page numbers matching the PDF reader display;
    • “be bookmarked, consistently with the index, such that each bookmark states the date, name of the document which it references, and directs to the first page of that document;”
    • have bookmarks “viewable in a separate window.”

    Further, no condensed transcripts are permitted in an appendix without leave of court.  The rule also changes the format for paper appendices, when so authorized.

    The Fourth District has warned that it will strike any appendix that does not comply with the amended rules when they go into effect on October 1, 2017.

    The Fourth District has already issued an email to all 4th DCA eDCA Filers, stating “Effective October 1, 2017, electronic appendices which do not comply with the amended Rule 9.220 will be stricken.”  So be ready and be compliant!

    THE SUBSTANTIVE AMENDMENTS SUMMARIZED

    9.020 – Adds a definition for “E-Filing System Docket.”

    9.120 – Details the format and contents of the documents to be transmitted from the district courts to the supreme court in situations where a party is seeking discretionary review

    9.141 – Removes the clerk’s exception that allowed it to avoid having to repaginate or reindex a record from a previously prepared record into a record for a collateral or postconviction criminal case.

    9.200 – The record shall now be submitted as a PDF document, uploaded to the e-filing system docket, and available for download to attorneys and parties who have registered for access to the system.  The appellate court may direct the lower clerk to submit a replacement record when an original record is found to be noncompliant with the technical requirements of rule 9.200(d).

    9.220 – See above.

    Rules 9.160 and  9.180 contain only minor changes in terms to reflect that their respective documents are “transmitted” rather than “sent” or “filed.”

    BONUS TIP FOR TRIAL LAWYERS


    The fact that the new rules forbid condensed transcripts in an Appendix should send a strong signal to trial lawyers not to file them with trial courts in general. Appellate judges do a lot of reading, and citing to a condensed transcript makes it that much harder for them to find what you are talking about. They just don’t track well or lend themselves to good notetaking on an iPad or other electronic screen. And since it is all being e-filed, there is much less of an issue with killing trees. If you are filing a transcript with the trial court, file the full transcript. The appellate judges will be a lot happier when reviewing your record. And that just makes it easier for everyone to focus on the merits rather than searching for the right record cite.

    THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

    Florida State Courts have come a long way since the supreme court started this e-filing journey in 2013.  There have been a few hiccups, especially with the appellate courts, but the appellate rules are really starting to come into their own.

    That said, with any new rule amendment comes new opportunities for errors to be made.  If you have a case pending or about to be pending before a Florida appellate court, give DPW Legal a call so we can help you avoid any of the pitfalls.

     

    Supreme Court E-Filing to Begin Nov. 13, 2017

    Last week we reported that the Supreme Court of the United States went live with their new website–its first step of a modernization plan that includes e-filing.  Yesterday, the Court set a date for e-filing to begin and provided some details.

    According to the Court’s press release, e-filing will begin on November 13, 2017.  Parties will be required to file both paper and electronic copies, with the paper copy being the official copy for now (so remain vigilant with your mailing and paper filing practices!).  Pro se parties will continue to file just paper, but the Court will scan all filings to make them available on the electronic system.  That system should provide easy website access to all filed documents for public access.

    Registration for the new e-filing system will begin “4-8 weeks before the system begins operation,” so keep a lookout for another press release at about mid-September.  The Court has placed an “Electronic Filing” link in the center of its home page that it says will supply additional information, but currently contains only the text of the press release.

    A recent video from the U.S. Courts shows the amazing efficiencies obtained from e-filing in other federal courts.  Presumably the same benefits of modernization will occur in the Supreme Court.  That said, one wonders what the new, leaner Supreme Court will look or feel like.  We can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic for the days of paper as this bastion of traditional practice updates for the twenty-first century.