Fourth DCA Allows Pro Se Parties to File Electronically

The Fourth District Court of Appeal will now allow pro se parties — that is, parties representing themselves on appeal — to file documents electronically using the Court’s eDCA system. The Court made the announcement in its revised Notice to Attorneys and Parties Representing Themselves (Rev. June 25, 2014) [.pdf]. Pro se litigants can sign up for eDCA filing at the Court’s website.

Parties should note that filing using the eDCA system does not effectuate service as required by Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.516. Pro se parties can participate in service by e-mail, if they follow the rules. You can find my description of those rules in my prior post on pro se service.

The Fourth District has implemented a new procedure for requesting emergency consideration before the court. In re: Requests for Emergency Treatment, AO No. 2014-1 (Fla. 4 DCA June 11, 2014) [.pdf]. The Administrative order requires that any party seeking emergency treatment of a treatment file a separate “Request for Emergency Treatment,” not exceeding two pages in length, and certifying that the request is made in good faith. The order defines an emergency:

an “emergency” is a matter of extreme urgency that requires immediate action by this Court in order to avoid imminent, irreparable, and material harm. An exigency that is caused by the lack of diligence of the moving party shall not constitute an “emergency.”

The order also warns that parties or attorneys requesting emergency treatment without an objectively reasonable basis may be sanctioned.

Florida Courts Receive Much-Needed Funds

The Florida court system received some much-needed additional funding to fix pay disparities between its employees and the private sector, renovate or replace older court buildings for the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth District Courts, and add judgeships to the busy Second and Fifth District Courts of Appeals in the state budget approved May 2nd. As more fully reported in The Florida Bar Journal, the $8.1 million allocation for pay will be used for retention and recruitment to equalize pay scales so that the court system doesn’t lose competent workers to higher-paying private sector jobs.

The Fourth District received $7.1 million to begin construction to build a new courthouse, to replace their mold-infested building, while the First, Second and Fifth Districts will each receive funds toward renovating their older buildings.

Most importantly, Second District will get two new seats, and the Fifth will get one additional judge.