In lighter news, Rule 2.540 regarding accommodations for persons with disabilities has been amended regarding the presence of service animals and emotional support animals in the courtroom. In regard to emotional support animals, those are untrained animals who simply comfort the person. The individual must notify the court in advance under subsection (d), and the court “may” permit the presence of such animals.
And in regard to service animals (animals actually trained to perform services for disabled person), there are two kinds of service animals authorized to accompany someone to court. Dogs….and…miniature horses!!! Lil’ Sebastian fans rejoice. Parties “should” let the court know in advance when they are bringing a dog or miniature horse service animal, but failure to give advance notice does not preclude the court from allowing the use of a service animal, and the rule says that the court “shall” allow use of service animals subject for Florida law and the ADA. The process for notifying the court is under sub(d) of the rule. So the race is on. Which one of us will be the first to bring a miniature horse to court!!
Terry P. Roberts
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC