Bresky Law Prevails in Classifying Order as Final, Appealable Order

August 2019

District courts of appeal have jurisdiction to review final orders under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.110 and certain nonfinal orders under Rule 9.130. Other kinds of nonfinal orders not listed in Rule 9.130 cannot be reviewed via an interlocutory appeal; they can be reviewed only within a plenary appeal from an eventual final order. (Alternatively, in a few cases, certain nonfinal orders can be reviewed on an interlocutory basis in an original proceeding via a petition for an extraordinary writ such as a writ of certiorari.) Sometimes the proper classification or appealability of an order is disputed on appeal. This blog provides a recent example of such a dispute and explains how we prevailed in having an order classified as a final, appealable order.

The order in question is one of three orders that were entered in a post-judgment context where the Plaintiff/Appellee is pursuing execution of a final judgment. Our client is the Defendant/Appellant, who wants the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s orders.

The client filed separate appeals from each of the three orders as they were entered in the trial court. The appellate court asked us for some additional documentation regarding one of the orders, which contained a ruling denying a motion for rehearing. An order denying a rehearing is not independently appealable. However,  we pointed out that the order in question did not simply deny a motion for rehearing but also denied three substantive forms of relief (a request for an injunction, a motion for stay of execution under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.550, and a motion for extension of time to comply with an order) in a post-decretal context involving execution of a final judgment. We also moved to consolidate the separate appeals into one appeal.

The appellate court granted our motion to consolidate the appeals but also directed us to submit a statement explaining the basis for subject matter jurisdiction over the portions of the order denying a motion for stay of execution, a motion for extension of time for compliance, and a motion for injunctive relief under either Fla. R. App. P. 9.110 (regarding review of final orders) or Rule 9.130 (regarding review of certain nonfinal orders).

We submitted a jurisdictional statement explaining that the trial court’s order completed the judicial labor from the perspective of the moment when the order was entered, and we asserted that it ought to be deemed a final, appealable post-judgment order under Rule 9.110 as it left nothing further to be accomplished except for enforcement of the Final Judgment and related orders on execution. In the alternative, we asserted that subject matter jurisdiction would at least be available under Rule 9.130 because the order could be deemed an appealable nonfinal order denying an injunction or determining the right to immediate possession of property. Our primary assertion, however, was that the order is an appealable post-judgment order.

In response, the Appellee argued that the order is a non-appealable, nonfinal order that would not be subject to any kind of review at this time except perhaps through a petition for writ of certiorari. The Appellee recognized that the order included a ruling denying an injunction and that such denials are appealable on an interlocutory basis under Rule 9.130 but argued that this particular order should not be reviewed.

A few weeks later, the appellate court ruled in our client’s favor, determining that the order is appealable as a final post-decretal order. The court cited to Clearwater Federal Savings and Loan Association v. Sampson, 336 So. 2d 78, 79 (Fla. 1976), which states: “Where an order after judgment is dispositive of any question, it becomes a final post decretal order. To the extent that it completes the judicial labor on that portion of the cause after judgment, it becomes final as to that portion and should be treated as a final judgment[.]”

Bresky Law is pleased that the appellate court’s jurisdictional ruling recognizes that most portions of the order should be reviewed as a final, appealable order, and that the other portion (which denied a motion for rehearing) will be reviewed in conjunction with the appeal of a prior final order for which the client had sought rehearing. This favorable result allows our client’s consolidated appeal to move forward with a plenary review of all three orders as final orders under Rule 9.110.