Rule 9.120. Discretionary Proceedings To Review Decisions OF District Courts Of Appeal

(a) Applicability. This rule applies to those proceedings that invoke the discretionary jurisdiction of the supreme court described in rule 9.030(a)(2)(A).

(b) Commencement. The jurisdiction of the supreme court described in rule 9.030(a)(2)(A) shall be invoked by filing a notice, accompanied by any filing fees prescribed by law, with the clerk of the district court of appeal within 30 days of rendition of the order to be reviewed.

(c) Notice. The notice shall be substantially in the form prescribed by rule 9.900. The caption shall contain the name of the lower tribunal, the name and designation of at least 1 party on each side, and the case number in the lower tribunal. The notice shall contain the date of rendition of the order to be reviewed and the basis for invoking the jurisdiction of the court.

(d) Briefs on Jurisdiction. Petitioner’s brief, limited solely to the issue of the supreme court’s jurisdiction and accompanied by an appendix containing only a conformed copy of the decision of the district court of appeal, shall be served within 10 days of filing the notice. Respondent’s brief on jurisdiction shall be served within 20 days after service of petitioner’s brief. Formal requirements for both briefs are specified in rule 9.210. No reply brief shall be permitted. If jurisdiction is invoked under rule 9.030(a)(2)(A)(v) (certifications of questions of great public importance by the district courts to the supreme court), no briefs on jurisdiction shall be filed.

(e) Accepting or Postponing Decision on Jurisdiction; Record. If the supreme court accepts or postpones decision on jurisdiction, the court shall so order and advise the parties and the clerk of the district court of appeal. Within 60 days thereafter or such other time set by the court, the clerk shall electronically transmit the record. The clerk shall transmit separate Portable Document Format (“PDF”) files of:
(1) the contents of the record as described in rule 9.200(a) and (c);
(2) the transcript as described in rule 9.200(b); and
(3) the documents filed in the district court in the record on appeal format described in rule 9.200(d)(1).

(f) Briefs on Merits. Within 20 days of rendition of the order accepting or postponing decision on jurisdiction, the petitioner shall serve the initial brief on the merits, accompanied by an appendix that must include a conformed copy of the decision of the district court of appeal. Additional briefs shall be served as prescribed by rule 9.210.

Committee Notes

      1977 Amendment. This rule replaces former rule 4.5(c) and governs all certiorari proceedings to review final decisions of the district courts. Certiorari proceedings to review interlocutory orders of the district courts if supreme court jurisdiction exists under article V, section 3(b)(3), Florida Constitution are governed by rule 9.100.

Subdivision (b) sets forth the manner in which certiorari proceedings in the supreme court are to be commenced. Petitions for the writ are abolished and replaced by a simple notice to be followed by briefs. Two copies of the notice, which must substantially comply with the form approved by the supreme court, are to be filed with the clerk of the district court within 30 days of rendition along with the requisite fees. Failure to timely file the fees is not jurisdictional.

Subdivision (c) sets forth the contents of the notice. The requirement that the notice state the date of rendition, as defined in rule 9.020, is intended to permit the clerk of the court to determine timeliness from the face of the notice. The statement of the basis for jurisdiction
should be a concise reference to whether the order sought to be reviewed (1) conflicts with other Florida appellate decisions; (2) affects a class of constitutional or state officers; or (3) involves a question of great public interest certified by the district court.

Subdivision (d) establishes the time for filing jurisdictional briefs and prescribes their content. If supreme court jurisdiction is based on certification of a question of great public interest, no jurisdictional briefs are permitted. Briefs on the merits in such cases are to be prepared in the same manner as in other cases. Briefs on the merits are to be served within the time provided after the court has ruled that it will accept jurisdiction or has ruled that it will postpone decision on jurisdiction.

The jurisdictional brief should be a short, concise statement of the grounds for invoking jurisdiction and the necessary facts. It is not appropriate to argue the merits of the substantive issues involved in the case or discuss any matters not relevant to the threshold jurisdictional issue. The petitioner may wish to include a very short statement of why the supreme court should exercise its discretion and entertain the case on the merits if it finds it does have certiorari jurisdiction. An appendix must be filed containing a conformed copy of the decision of the district court. If the decision of the district court was without opinion, or otherwise does not set forth the basis of decision with sufficient clarity to enable the supreme court to determine whether grounds for jurisdiction exist, a conformed copy of the order of the trial court should also be included in the appendix.

Subdivisions (e) and (f) provide that within 60 days of the date of the order accepting jurisdiction, or postponing decision on jurisdiction, the clerk of the district court must transmit the record to the court. The petitioner has 20 days from the date of the order to serve the initial brief on the merits. Other briefs may then be served in accordance with rule 9.210. Briefs that are served must be filed in accordance with rule 9.420.

It should be noted that the automatic stay provided by former rule 4.5(c)(6) has been abolished because it encouraged the filing of frivolous petitions and was regularly abused. A stay pending review may be obtained under rule 9.310. If a stay has been ordered pending appeal to a district court, it remains effective under rule 9.310(e) unless the mandate issues or the district court vacates it. The advisory committee was of the view that the district courts should permit such stays only when essential. Factors to be considered are the likelihood that jurisdiction will be accepted by the supreme court, the likelihood of ultimate success on the merits, the likelihood of harm if no stay is granted, and the remediable quality of any such harm.

1980 Amendment. The rule has been amended to reflect the 1980 revisions to article V, section 3, Florida Constitution creating the additional categories of certifications by the district courts to the supreme court enumerated in rule 9.030(a)(2)(A).

District court decisions that (a) expressly declare valid a state statute, (b) expressly construe a provision of the state or federal constitution, (c) expressly affect a class of constitutional or state officers, (d) expressly and directly conflict with a decision of another district court or the supreme court on the same point of law, (e) pass upon a question certified to be of great public importance, or (f) are certified to be in direct conflict with decisions of other district courts, are reviewed according to the procedures set forth in this rule. No jurisdictional briefs are permitted if is based on certification of a question of great public importance or certification that the decision is in direct conflict with a decision of another district court.

The mandatory appendix must contain a copy of the district court decision sought to be reviewed and should be prepared in accordance with rule 9.220.

Supreme court review of trial court orders and judgments certified by the district court under rule 9.030(a)(2)(B) is governed by the procedures set forth in rule 9.125.

Reply briefs from petitioners are prohibited, and the court will decide whether to accept the case for review solely on the basis of petitioner’s initial and respondent’s responsive jurisdictional briefs.

1992 Amendment. Subdivision (d) was amended to provide that jurisdictional briefs must conform to the same requirements set forth in rule 9.210.

Updated with rule changes effective October 1, 2017.  For more information about these changes, check out the Florida Appellate Procedure Blog.

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