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Appellate Court rules.

The Appellate Court Rules Committee had another busy year. The bulk of the committee's work was focused on completing the committee's three-year cycle report that will be submitted to the Board of Governors in July and filed with the Florida Supreme Court by February 1, 2017. However, the committee also worked on a number of other important issues that resulted in out-of-cycle reports filed with the Florida Supreme Court. What follows is a brief summary of the committee's work. Additional details are available on the committee's page on the Bar's website: cmdocs/cm205.nsf/WDOCS.

The committee's three-year cycle report includes proposed amendments to 36 of the 51 existing appellate rules and the creation of one new rule. Some of the more significant proposed amendments are:

* Rule 9.030(c)(4) is added to require three-judge panels in all circuit court proceedings governed by the appellate rules.

* Rule 9.130(a)(3) is amended to add two new categories of nonfinal orders that can be appealed: (1) orders that determine as a matter of law that a settlement agreement is enforceable, set aside, or never existed; and (2) orders that grant or deny a motion to disqualify counsel.

* Rule 9.200(b)(4) is amended to add timeframes for the filing and approval of statements of the evidence in lieu of a transcript.

* Rule 9.210(a)(6) is added to limit the number of briefs that can be filed by an attorney representing multiple parties in the same case and to require a party responding to multiple briefs to do so in a single brief.

* Rule 9.330 is substantially reorganized and additional grounds are added for requesting a written opinion, and the scope of the rule is limited to orders/opinions disposing of the appeal.

* Rule 9.331(a) is amended to require the court to notify the parties when a case or issue is under en banc consideration.

* Rule 9.380 is created to authorize the filing of a notice of related case or issue.

* Rule 9.440 is amended to opt out of the proposed Rule of Judicial Administration governing appearance of counsel.

* Rule 9.800 is completely reorganized and the citation forms in the rule are updated.

The committee also worked on several important issues that resulted in the filing of out-of-cycle reports with the Florida Supreme Court, including a joint report with the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee to implement the new juvenile sentencing legislation, see 175 So. 3d 980 (Fla. 2015); a joint report with the Juvenile Court Rules Committee to implement the holding in J.B. v. DCF, 170 So. 3d 780 (Fla. 2015), regarding ineffective assistance of counsel claims in termination of parental rights cases; and assisting the Criminal Court Steering Committee in drafting a rule in response to Powell v. State, 167 So. 3d 392 (Fla. 2015), to provide for review of unpreserved sentencing errors in Anders cases, see Case No. SC15-2296.

The committee could not have accomplished all that it did this year without the hard work of all of the committee members and the subcommittees on which they serve. The subcommittee chairs--Judge John Newton, Jeffrey Kuntz, Andy Stanton, Christine Davis Graves, Wendie Cooper, Stephanie Serafin, Elizabeth C. Wheeler, David Luck, Stephanie Silver, and Judge Stephanie Ray -deserve special recognition for their efforts in coordinating the work of the subcommittees.

The committee's officers also deserve special recognition. Vice Chairs Tom Hall, Lance Curry, Judge Kitty Pecko, and Kristin Norse, and Parliamentarian Betty Wheeler helped me keep the meetings running smoothly and spearheaded various special projects. Secretary Courtney Brewer did an excellent job keeping the minutes again this year, and Stephanie Zimmerman did an outstanding job in keeping the committee apprised of the work of the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee in her capacity as liaison to that committee.

Finally, the committee's Bar liaison, Heather Telfer, deserves especially special recognition. She did an exceptional job tracking all of the issues referred to the committee and she was primarily responsible for compiling the materials for the reports filed by the committee with the Florida Supreme Court. Heather is an invaluable asset to the committee and the Bar.

The committee is comprised of 50 of the best and brightest lawyers and judges in the state, and it has been an honor and privilege to serve as the chair of the committee this year. I leave the committee in the good hands of incoming chair Kristin Norse, and I am confident that under her leadership the committee will continue its dedicated efforts to improve the appellate rules and enhance the operation of the appellate process.

T. Kent Wetherell II, Chair
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Title Annotation:Annual Reports of Committees of The Florida Bar
Author:Wetherell, T. Kent, II
Publication:Florida Bar Journal
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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