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Appellate system outages necessitate time extensions.

A power failure that shut down email and the websites for the Florida Supreme Court and the five district courts of appeal on May 9 caused the Supreme Court to issue an automatic time extension for lawyers and parties affected by the online problems.

The failure did not affect electronic filing for the courts, but did cut email access and access to the websites for the appellate courts, which would include electronic access to briefs in pending cases and court decisions.

Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters said the electrical problem occurred around 10 a.m. May 9 and was largely resolved by 5 p.m.

Recognizing that "this emergency inhibited the ability of attorneys, litigants, and others in the performance of their duties and obligations with respect to many legal processes throughout the state of Florida" and could affect compliance with time standards in rules, administrative procedures, and statutes, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga issued an administrative order the following day.

That order provided that "all time limits prescribed or allowed by rule of procedure, court order, statutes applicable to court proceedings, or otherwise pertaining to court proceedings are extended from the close of business on Friday, May 6, 2016, until the close of business on Tuesday, May 10, 2016" when the last day of those time periods fell within the extended time.

The order recognized that some parties might have trouble meeting the extended time period because of related difficulties, and said, "If such a claim is made, it shall be resolved by the court in which jurisdiction is vested on a case-by-case basis when a party demonstrates that the lack of compliance with requisite time periods was directly attributable to this emergency and that equitable remedy is required."

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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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