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In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure

Supreme Court of Florida

September 7, 2017

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE.

         THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

         Original Proceeding - Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure

          Landis Vernon Curry III, Chair, and Kristin A. Norse, Past Chair, Appellate Court Rules Committee, Tampa, Florida; and John F. Harkness, Executive Director, and Heather Savage Telfer, Staff Liaison, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner

          Honorable Cory J. Ciklin, Chief Judge, Fourth District Court of Appeal, West Palm Beach, Florida; Honorable L. Clayton Roberts, Chief Judge, First District Court of Appeal, Tallahassee, Florida; and Cassandra Snapp of Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, Orlando, Florida, Responding with Comments

          PER CURIAM.

         This matter is before the Court for consideration of proposed amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 2(a), Fla. Const.; Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.140(f).

         BACKGROUND

         The Florida Bar's Appellate Court Rules Committee (Committee) has filed an out-of-cycle report proposing amendments to seven Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure (Rules). The proposals were submitted following the Court's opinion in In re Amendments to Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.200, 177 So.3d 1254 (Fla. 2015). In that case, we adopted amendments to rules 9.200 (The Record) and 9.210 (Briefs) to address mandatory statewide electronic records on appeal. Id. at 1255. However, we declined to adopt amendments to rules 9.120 (Discretionary

         Proceedings to Review Decisions of District Courts of Appeal) and 9.220 (Appendix) because those changes were beyond the scope of the case then before us. Id. at 1256. Our opinion invited the Committee to file an out-of-cycle report proposing rule amendments; we also asked the Committee to consider "the question of how a defective electronic record on appeal shall be corrected-as opposed to merely supplemented-after transmission to the appellate court and whether, and if so how, the appellate rules should address the provision of the record on appeal to the parties to a case." Id.

         The Committee here proposes amendments to rules 9.020 (Definitions), 9.120 (Discretionary Proceedings to Review Decisions of District Courts of Appeal), 9.141 (Review Proceedings in Collateral or Postconviction Criminal Cases), 9.160 (Discretionary Proceedings to Review Decisions of County Courts), 9.180 (Appeal Proceedings to Review Workers' Compensation Cases), 9.200 (The Record), and 9.220 (Appendix). The Board of Governors of The Florida Bar unanimously approved the proposals. After the Committee filed its report with the Court, we published the proposed amendments for comment. The Court received comments from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, joined by the First District Court of Appeal, and from Attorney Cassandra Snapp. The Committee filed a response to the comments that includes a revised rule proposal.

         After fully considering the Committee's report, the comments, and the response, we adopt the proposed amendments with some modifications, as addressed in this opinion. We discuss the more significant rule amendments below.

         AMENDMENTS

         First, we amend rule 9.020 (Definitions), as proposed by the Committee, to add a new subdivision (l) defining the term "E-filing System Docket." This term is defined as the docket where attorneys and those parties who are registered users of the court's e-filing system can view electronic documents filed in a case.

         Next, we amend rule 9.120 (Discretionary Proceedings to Review Decisions of District Courts of Appeal) in subdivision (e) (Accepting or Postponing Decision on Jurisdiction; Record) to address the format for the electronic record on appeal transmitted to this Court. As amended, the rule requires the clerks of the district courts of appeal to electronically transmit the record to this Court as separate PDF files for (1) the contents of record, (2) the transcript, and (3) any documents filed in the district court. We have revised the Committee's proposal in subdivision (e)(3) to require the clerks to transmit documents filed in the district court in the "record on appeal" format described in rule 9.200(d)(1).[1]

         We have made several amendments to rule 9.200 (The Record). First, in subdivision (d), renamed "Preparation and Transmission of Electronic Record, " we add a new subdivision (d)(4), which provides that the court shall upload the electronic record to the "e-filing system docket." Attorneys and parties who are registered users of the court's e-filing system may download the electronic record in their cases. Additionally, we amend subdivision (f) (Correcting and Supplementing Record) to add a new subdivision (f)(3) authorizing a court, if it finds that the record is not in compliance with the requirements of rule 9.200, to direct the clerk of a lower tribunal to submit a compliant record, which will replace the noncompliant record. The Committee indicates in its report that subdivision (f)(3) is intended to apply to records that are not in compliance with the technical and formatting requirements in rule 9.200(d), for example, records that are not text searchable, correctly paginated, or bookmarked; it states that substantive corrections should be made through a supplement to the record, rather than as a wholesale replacement of the record. Accordingly, we have revised the Committee's proposal in subdivision (f)(3) to expressly reference records that are "not in compliance with the requirements of subdivision (d)" of rule 9.200.

         Finally, we have made several amendments to rule 9.220 (Appendix) to parallel amendments to rule 9.200 adopted in In re Amendments to Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.200, 177 So.3d 1254. Among other changes, we amend existing subdivision (c) to create new subdivisions (c) (Electronic Format) and (d) (Paper Format).[2] New subdivision (c) (Electronic Format) provides that the appendix shall be prepared and filed electronically as a separate, single PDF file, unless size limitations or technical requirements established by the Florida Supreme Court Standards for Electronic Access to the Courts would require multiple files. The appendix must be properly indexed and consecutively paginated, beginning with the cover page as page one. Additionally, subdivisions (c)(1) through (c)(4) require that the PDF file be text searchable; paginated, so that the page numbers displayed by the PDF reader match the pagination of the index; bookmarked, consistently with the index, such that each bookmark includes the date and name of the document it references, and directs to the first page of the document; and not contain condensed transcripts unless authorized by the court. New subdivision (d) (Paper Format) provides that, if a paper appendix is authorized, it must be submitted separately from the petition, brief, motion, response, or reply that it accompanies.

         CONCLUSION

         Accordingly, we amend the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. New language is indicated by underscoring; deletions are indicated by struck-through type. The committee notes are offered for explanation only and are not adopted as an official part of the rules. The amendments shall become effective October 1, 2017, at 12:01 a.m.

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, CJ, and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, and LAWSON, JJ, concur

         APPENDIX RULE 9.020. DEFINITIONS

         The following terms have the meanings shown as used in these rules:

         (a) - (k) [No Change]

         (l) E-filing System Docket. The docket where attorneys and those parties who are registered users of the court's electronic filing (e-filing) system can view the electronic documents filed in their case(s).

         Committee Notes

         [No Change]

         Court Commentary

         [No Change]

         RULE 9.120. DISCRETIONARY PROCEEDINGS TO REVIEW DECISIONS OF DISTRICT COURTS OF APPEAL

         (a) - (d) [No Change]

         (e) Accepting or Postponing Decision on Jurisdiction; Record. If the supreme court accepts or postpones decision on jurisdiction, the court shall so order and advise the parties and the clerk of the district court of appeal. Within 60 days thereafter or such other time set by the court, the clerk shall electronically transmit the ...


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