May 18, 2022

Volume XII, Number 138

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May 17, 2022

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Florida Supreme Court Adopts Rule Change for Immediate Appellate Review of Orders Granting or Denying Leave to Assert Punitive Damages

On Jan. 6, 2022, the Florida Supreme Court adopted a rule change that allows a party to seek immediate nonfinal appellate review of an order granting or denying a motion for leave to assert a punitive damages claim. The rule amendment goes into effect April 1, 2022. 

This rule amendment was initiated, at the direction of the Florida Supreme Court, by the Florida Bar’s Appellate Court Rules Committee, which proposed an amendment to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 to allow for interlocutory review in such circumstances. Prior to the rule amendment, an appellate court’s ability to review a trial court order granting leave to assert a punitive damages claim was limited. Specifically, the previously rule (and corresponding case law) prohibited a substantive review of the evidence presented by a plaintiff in support of the requested amendment prior to final appeal.

Florida appellate courts have recognized the need for immediate review of orders granting or denying a motion for leave to assert a punitive damages claim and noted that they were constrained by the prior review standard, which application often resulted in punitive damages being allowed to move forward. With this rule amendment, parties will be able to seek immediate review should they determine such review is necessary. The rule amendment also will ensure that a party seeking leave to assert a punitive damages claim has overcome the bar to asserting such claim with sufficient evidence. Finally, because the granting or denying of leave to assert a punitive damages claim is a “game-changer,” exposing defendants to intrusive financial worth discovery and potentially large verdicts—as one Florida appellate court categorized it—the newly authorized plenary review of such a decision at an interlocutory stage is an appropriate measure and an important development in Florida law. 

©2022 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 7
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About this Author

Brigid F. Cech Samole Miami Shareholder Appellate practice Bankruptcy appeals Environmental and land use litigation Financial regulatory and compliance Litigation trial support
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Brigid F. Cech Samole is the chair of the Miami Appellate Department and a member of the Firm’s National Appellate Practice. Brigid is an experienced appellate advocate who represents clients throughout the country in federal and state forums. She also serves as a legal advisor for complex and high-profile trials. Brigid has been the lead drafter of substantive case papers filed in the United States Supreme Court, the federal Court of Appeals, and several state supreme courts. Although her practice involves numerous substantive areas of the law, in particular, she has defended clients in...

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Jay Yagoda Shareholder Miami Appellate Litigation Greenberg Traurig, LLP
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Jay A. Yagoda focuses his practice on appellate matters and litigation support in state and federal courts across the United States. Following a clerkship at the Florida Supreme Court, Jay has obtained experience handling a wide range of legal issues in both trial and appellate courts, including land use challenges, class actions, insurance coverage and bad faith disputes, complex commercial disputes, personal jurisdiction, business torts, and arbitration confirmation proceedings. Since 2015, Jay has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine....

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