In Re: Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.530

Supreme Court of Florida

Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.530
Supreme Court of Florida

4/27/23, Per Curiam
Topics: Motion for New Trial; Rehearing

The Supreme Court of Florida seems to have heard the complaints about its recent rule change. After amending the rule late last August to require that an alleged failure of a trial judge to made sufficient factual findings has to be preserved for appeal by a motion for rehearing, the Court is again amending Rule 1.530 (and the similar Family Law Rule 12.530).

After hearing public comment on the rule change, the Supreme Court retreated from the harsher position and amended the rule to require that in order to preserve the issue for appeal, a party has to file a motion for rehearing if it wants to argue on appeal that a judge failed “to make required findings of fact.” What’s the difference? My understanding is that only a complete lack of factual finding on a given issue needs to be brought to the court’s attention via rehearing, but if the judge makes a factual finding and the aggrieved party wants to argue on appeal that the factual finding is unsupported in the record by sufficient or competent, substantial evidence, that argument need not be preserved by a motion for rehearing in light of the rule change. Time will tell if this view is correct.

Notably, this rule is applicable to “all orders, not just final judgments, and makes clear that the rules only apply when a judge is required to make specific findings of fact and not when a party seeks to make other challenges to a trial court’s order.” The new rule looks like this:

(a) Jury and Non-Jury Actions. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or a part of the issues. To preserve for appeal a challenge to the sufficiency of a trial court’s findings in the final judgment failure of the trial court to make required findings of fact, a party must raise that issue in a motion for rehearing under this rule. On a motion for a rehearing of matters heard without a jury, including summary judgments, the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony, and enter a new judgment.

https://supremecourt.flcourts.gov/content/download/867123/opinion/sc2022-0756.pdf

Terry P. Roberts
Terry@YourChampions.com
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC
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