Rule 9.410. Sanctions

(a) Court’s Motion. After 10 days’ notice, on its own motion, the court may impose sanctions for any violation of these rules, or for the filing of any proceeding, motion, brief, or other document that is frivolous or in bad faith. Such sanctions may include reprimand, contempt, striking of briefs or pleadings, dismissal of proceedings, costs, attorneys’ fees, or other sanctions.

(b) Motion by a Party.

(1) Applicability. Any contrary requirements in these rules notwithstanding, the following procedures apply to a party seeking an award of attorneys’ fees as a sanction against another party or its counsel pursuant to general law.

(2) Proof of Service. A motion seeking attorneys’ fees as a sanction shall include an initial certificate of service, pursuant to rule 9.420(d) and subdivision (b)(3) of this rule, and a certificate of filing, pursuant to subdivision (b)(4) of this rule.

(3) Initial Service. A copy of a motion for attorneys’ fees as a sanction must initially be served only on the party against whom sanctions are sought. That motion shall be served no later than the time for serving any permitted response to a challenged document or, if no response is permitted as of right, within 20 days after a challenged document is served or a challenged claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is made at oral argument. A certificate of service that complies with rule 9.420(d) and that reflects service pursuant to this subdivision shall accompany the motion and shall be taken as prima facie proof of the date of service pursuant to this subdivision. A certificate of filing pursuant to subdivision (b)(4) of this rule shall also accompany the motion, but should remain undated and unsigned at the time of the initial service pursuant to this subdivision.

(4) Filing and Final Service. If the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately
corrected within 21 days after initial service of the motion under subdivision (3), the movant may file the motion for attorneys’ fees as a sanction with the court (a) no later than the time for service of the reply brief, if applicable, or (b) no later than 45 days after initial service of the motion, whichever is later.

      The movant shall serve upon all parties the motion filed with the court. A certificate of filing that complies in substance with the form below, and which shall be dated and signed at the time of final service pursuant to this subdivision, shall be taken as prima facie proof of such final service.

    I certify that on . . . . .(date). . . . . , a copy of this previously served motion has been furnished to …..(court)….. by …..hand delivery/mail/other delivery source….. and has been furnished to …..(name or names)….. by …..hand delivery/mail/other delivery source……

(5) Response. A party against whom sanctions are sought may serve 1 response to the motion within 15 days of the final service of the motion. The court may shorten or extend the time for response to the motion.

Committee Notes

      1977 Amendment. This rule replaces former rule 3.17. This rule specifies the penalties or sanctions that generally are imposed, but does not limit the sanctions available to the court. The only change in substance is that this rule provides for 10 days notice to the offending party before imposition of sanctions.

      2010 Amendment. Subdivision (b) is adopted to make rule 9.410 consistent with section 57.105, Florida Statutes (2009).

Rules Blog Notes

Updated with both sets of rule changes effective January 1, 2019. See In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure-2017 Regular-Cycle Report, 256 So. 3d 1218, 1219, No. SC17-152 (Fla. Oct. 25, 2018) [.pdf] and In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, 257 So. 3d 66, 69 (Fla. 2018), reh’g denied, SC17-882, 2018 WL 6074437 (Fla. Nov. 20, 2018) [.pdf]. For more information about these changes, check out the Florida Appellate Procedure Blog.

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