Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is the Deadline for Filing a Motion for Rehearing or New Trial under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure?

When you practice law for a long time, you get comfortable with the rules.  Many attorneys do not consult their rule books frequently.  Some lawyers don't buy a new copy of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

When the rules of procedure change, there is typically little fanfare.  The Florida Supreme Court amends the rules by publishing an opinion of the court.  On certain occasions, such as the implementation of new rules concerning electronic discovery, the implementation of email service, or the advent of electronic filing, there are articles, updates, or talk among lawyers.

One of the most rigid deadlines in the law is the deadline for filing a motion for rehearing or new trial.  See, e.g., Migliore v. Migliore, 717 So. 2d 1077 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998) (holding that that the attorney missed the deadline where he timely filed the motion but the postmark suggested that it was actually served after the 10-day deadline).  This deadline is also important because filing a timely motion for rehearing or new trial also tolls the deadline for filing a notice of appeal.

On January 1, 2014, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 was amended to extend the time for seeking rehearing or a new trial.  The deadline for serving the motion was increased from 10 days to 15 days.  This is a very significant move, as the deadline had been 10 days since the rule was first adopted.  And, the time limit in this rule had been relatively short and not subject to extension.

The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure were also amended to incorporate Rule 1.530's new 15-day deadlines.

For an interesting discussion regarding the difference between a motion for rehearing and a motion for reconsideration, please look at this Florida Bar article.