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In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

Supreme Court of Florida

November 14, 2019

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, FLORIDA SMALL CLAIMS RULES, AND FLORIDA RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE-JURISDICTION.

          Original Proceeding - Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Florida Rules of Small Claims, Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure - Jurisdiction

          Ardith Michelle Bronson, Chair, Civil Procedure Rules Committee, Miami, Florida; Maureen B. Walsh, Chair, Small Claims Rules Committee, Jacksonville, Florida; Thomas D. Hall, Chair, Appellate Court Rules Committee, Tallahassee, Florida; and Joshua E. Doyle, Executive Director, and Mikalla Andies Davis, and Heather Savage Telfer, Staff Liaisons, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioners

          PER CURIAM.

         The Court has for consideration a joint out-of-cycle report of proposed rule and form amendments, which was filed by The Florida Bar's Civil Procedure Rules Committee, Small Claims Rules Committee, and Appellate Court Rules Committee in response to two requests by the Court, [1] concerning recommendations of the Judicial Management Council's Work Group on County Court Jurisdiction (Work Group), [2] a suggestion by the Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA), and recent statutory changes. The Board of Governors of The Florida Bar unanimously approved all the proposals. The Court has jurisdiction[3] and adopts most of the committees' proposals. However, the Court has modified some of the proposals and declines to adopt, at this time, the proposed amendments to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.030(b)(1) (Jurisdiction of District Courts of Appeal; Appeal Jurisdiction).[4]

         Amendments

         The primary amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure Form 1.997 (Civil Cover Sheet) and its instructions implement Work Group Recommendation 1.4 that the civil cover sheet be modified to collect information on the amount in controversy in civil circuit and non-small-claims county court cases to be used to evaluate the need for adjustments to the county court jurisdictional limit.[5] Those amendments, which the Court has modified to be consistent with the circuit courts' exclusive jurisdiction under section 26.012(2)(f) and (g), Florida Statutes (2019), also implement recent statutory changes that, as relevant here, increase the county court jurisdictional limit to $30, 000, effective January 1, 2020, and require OSCA to include the claim value of county court and circuit court filings in the reports making county court jurisdiction adjustment recommendations that OSCA must submit to various officials by February 1, 2021.[6] The primary amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure Form 1.998 (Final Disposition Form) and the instructions to that form are in response to a suggestion by OSCA staff that the form be amended to facilitate the collection of the final judgment amount.

         The amendment to Florida Small Claims Rule 7.010 (Title and Scope) increases the small claims jurisdictional limit from $5, 000 to $8, 000, consistent with Work Group Recommendation 3.1, which the Court voted to pursue.[7]

         Accordingly, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and Florida Small Claims Rules are amended as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. New language is indicated by underscoring; deletions are indicated by struck-through type. The amendments shall become effective January 1, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Because the amendments were not published for comment prior to their adoption, interested persons shall have seventy-five days from the date of this opinion in which to file comments with the Court.[8]

         It is so ordered.

          CANADY, C.J., and POLSTON, LABARGA, LAWSON, LAGOA, LUCK, and MUÑIZ, JJ., concur.

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

         APPENDIX (Omitted)

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