Shoulda Woulda Coulda: Avoiding Missed Deadlines to Appeal Orders Entered in Probate or Guardianship Cases

The Briefs, a publication of the Orange County Bar Association, May 2015 & Presentation to Osceola County Bar Association, May 2015

Possibly no type of civil case presents so many opportunities to appeal orders entered than probate and guardianship proceedings. In most civil cases, the question of whether to appeal arises only upon entry of a summary or final judgment. The rest of the case simply builds to one of those conclusions, with most orders entered along the way being non-final and non-appealable until entry of a judgment at the end.

Preservation of Error for Appeal: The Evidence Slice

The Briefs, a publication of the Orange County Bar Association, November 2012

Over the last year, the Appellate Practice Committee of the Orange County Bar Association has been writing and publishing, for your education and (let’s face it) malpractice protection, a series of articles about the preservation of error for appeal.  Each article has addressed different slices of the litigation pie: pre-trial error, jury selection, and jury instructions/verdict forms.  Here, the focus is upon evidentiary errors.  Still to come are articles on preservation of error in opening and closing arguments and in post-trial proceedings.

When it Counts: Taking an Immediate Appeal of an Order Regarding Immediate Possession of Property

The Briefs, a publication of the Orange County Bar Association, May 2009

Your case has only just begun, you have prepared your client for the long litigation road ahead, and an appeal is nowhere on your radar screen when suddenly the court issues a non-final order that denies your client immediate possession of the property at issue.  Your client certainly does not want to wait until the end of an eventual trial to get it back.  What can you do now, when it counts the most?

I’m Taking it All the Way Up! But How Do I Get There? Jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court

The Docket, a publication of the Sarasota County Bar Association, February 2007

Imagine this: You had your day in court and won, but the other side then appealed to a district court and obtained a reversal.  You and your attorney believe the district court ruled in error.  What are you going to do?  For many people, this is the end of the road.  That is because the Florida Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is limited to a degree that Florida’s five District Courts of Appeal are generally considered the “courts of last resort” for most litigants.  In fact, in recent years, the five District Courts have annually received a total of approximately twenty-four thousand cases, while the Florida Supreme Court has received approximately twenty-five hundred cases.  Nonetheless, if you are one of the lucky few, you can aim to take your case “all the way up,” provided it falls within the Court’s jurisdiction.

Volunteer Board Members are Protected by Federal & State Laws

The Docket, a publication of the Sarasota County Bar Association, September 2005

The phase “no good deed goes unpunished” is well known and, thankfully, ignored by countless citizens who volunteer their time and services to nonprofit organizations.  Such volunteers perform a multitude of capacities, including in leadership roles as board members.  Many likely are uncertain of their own civil liability for acts or omissions while performing volunteer services, but they volunteer nonetheless.