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The post below was published on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 9:02 AM.

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Second District: No Reply

This happened once before…

In the last decade, a substantial body of district court case law has developed that quashes orders dismissing or refusing to reinstate circuit court appeals for failure to file timely briefs.

Here is what happens: A party loses a county court case and appeals, but the appeal is not heard on its merits because the circuit court, sitting in its appellate capacity, bounces the case for some perceived noncompliance. The party then petitions the district court to quash the order by certiorari, and the district court does so, relying on Florida’s strong policy of deciding appeals on their merits and, on occasion, the circuit court’s failure to follow the rules of judicial administration with regard to sanctions.

This decision from the Second District is the latest such case. The circuit court dismissed an appeal, and refused to reinstate it, on grounds the appellant failed to file a reply brief and took no action for seven months after the appellee filed an answer brief. The district court held that, under Florida’s appellate rules, no reply brief is necessary, and the parties were not required to take further action.

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