Wednesday, June 26, 2013

11th Circuit Reduces Requirements For Record Excerpt Program In Most Appeals

Today, the Eleventh Circuit reduced the requirements for its pilot record excerpt program. The program began as a pilot program in February 2006 in the Southern District of Alabama. Since that time, the program had slowly expanded to include other district courts within the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit.

In March of this year, an email was sent to attendees of the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Practice Institute requesting comment on the pilot record program. At that time, the email stated, "it appear[ed] possible that we might be on the precipice of a modification — if not an elimination — of the program." For now, it seems the program has not been eliminated. However, it has certainly been modified. Thanks to Chet Kaufman for emailing news of the change.

Earlier today, the court posted a notice on the top of its website that states:
Reduced Requirements for Record Excerpts Now in Effect for Most Appeals. Please see Electronic Records on Appeal Program for additional information.
The page linked above, the Electronic Records on Appeal Program page, is copied below as it currently looks:

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In February 2006, with General Order 32, the Court implemented a pilot program in the Southern District of Alabama to determine whether the Court could conduct its business efficiently and without additional cost, while relieving certain district courts of the burden of providing paper copies of the record on appeal. Since that date, the program has been modified and expanded with General Order 33.

At the present time, and upon request by the respective district courts, the Court has approved participation by all district courts in the Court’s Electronic Records on Appeal Program, either as an on-going program or a pilot program:

  • Southern District of Alabama – for appeals filed on or after April 1, 2006
  • Middle District of Alabama – for appeals filed on or after November 1, 2007
  • Northern District of Alabama – for appeals filed on or after October 1, 2008
  • Northern District of Florida – for appeals filed on or after October 1, 2009
  • Middle District of Georgia – for appeals filed on or after October 1, 2010
  • Northern District of Georgia – for civil appeals filed on or after January 3, 2012; for criminal appeals, and appeals in cases filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, filed on or after November 1, 2012
  • Southern District of Georgia – for appeals filed on or after April 1, 2012
  • Southern District of Florida - for appeals filed on or after February 1, 2013
  • Middle District of Florida - for appeals filed on or after April 1, 2013
Parties in appeals where the district court is now filing only an electronic record on appeal must file an appendix in conformance with the “Appendix on Appeal” Requirements (June 2013) attached to General Order 39. In addition, parties will find more detailed information, including checklists and samples, in the Instructions for Preparing an Appendix (June 2013).


General Order 39
“Appendix on Appeal” Requirements (June 2013)
Briefs Checklist - Electronic Records on Appeal Program (Revised June 2013)
Instructions for Preparing an Appendix (June 2013)
Appendix Checklist – Civil / Summary Judgment Cases (June 2013)
Appendix Checklist – Criminal Cases (June 2013)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supreme Court Reverses Florida Supreme Court in Takings Case

In Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, the United States Supreme Court revered THIS Florida Supreme Court decision. In conclusion, the Supreme Court stated:

We hold that the government’s demand for property from a land-use permit applicant must satisfy the requirements of Nollan and Dolan even when the government denies the permit and even when its demand is for money. The Court expresses no view on the merits of petitioner’s claim that respondent’s actions here failed to comply with the principles set forth in this opinion and those two cases. The Florida Supreme Court’s judgment is reversed, and this case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

From the opinion, "ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, and THOMAS, JJ., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined."

A complete listing of the opinions below, briefs, and timeline is available from the SCOTUSblog.

3rd DCA Reverses Itself Over Arbitration Award

The Daily Business Review has an article today titled "3rd DCA Reverses Itself Over Arbitration Award." A subscription is currently required to view the article. The article is about THIS opinion that released last Wednesday by the Third District. The one sentence opinion on rehearing vacated THIS six page opinion by Judge Fernandez. The earlier opinion included a 12 page dissent by Judge Salter. While the new unanimous opinion does not explain its reasoning, presumably Judge Salter's earlier dissent played a part. That dissent began:

I respectfully dissent. We should not engage in the very judicial proceedings that these international companies sought to avoid when they specified in their commission agreement that “[a]ny dispute or controversy arising in connection with this Agreement shall be subject to (and settled by) final and binding arbitration.” The threshold or “gatekeeper” determination regarding Mr. Rondon’s authority to initiate Ventus’s demand for arbitration, made here and now by the majority (after, and contrary to, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution Tribunal’s ruling on that very point), was a “controversy arising in connection with the agreement” that was properly heard and ruled upon by the tribunal and should not be revisited, much less nullified, by a Florida appellate court. The circuit court ruled in accordance with the deferential and extremely limited scope of review specified by the Florida and counterpart federal arbitration statutes (as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court), such that the order confirming the Tribunal’s detailed and closely-reasoned award should be affirmed.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Florida Supreme Court Adopts New Rules On Professionalism For Lawyers

The Florida Supreme Court released a unanimous opinion today addressing the issue of professionalism. In Re: Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints (SC13-688), the "Supreme Court of Florida Commission on Professionalism has requested that the Court adopt a Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints which would include a structure to provide a process to more critically address professionalism issues in Florida." 

The Court noted the importance of professionalism and that "[s]urveys of both lawyers and judges continue to consistently reflect that professionalism is one of the most significant adverse problems that negatively impacts the practice of law in Florida today."

The Court agreed with the Professionalism Committee that additional measures need to be taken and stated that "While we continue our educational the Professionalism Commission concluded that further integrated, affirmative, practical and active measures are now needed. We agree."

The Court did not, however, "attempt to create an entirely new code of 'professional' or 'unprofessional' conduct " and agreed it should not "at this time, attempt to codify an entirely new 'Code of Professionalism.'” Using the following existing rules and guidelines, the Court created one integrated place to look for professionalism rules and guidance: "(1) the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar; (2) The Florida Bar Creed of Professionalism; (3) The Florida Bar Ideals and Goals of Professionalism; (4) The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar; and (5) the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court."

Further "The Chief Judge of every circuit shall create a Local Professionalism Panel to receive and resolve professionalism complaints informally if possible. In the discretion of the Chief Judge, the Circuit Committee on Professionalism may be designated as the Local Professionalism Panel. The Chief Judge of each circuit is responsible for activating the respective committees."  

The Rules adopted by the Florida Supreme Court are found at Exhibit "A" to the opinion below.