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The Florida Bar Journal
December, 2017 Volume 91, No. 10
Too Little, Too Late? Trial Court Motions for Rehearing and Their Appellate Implications

by Jared M. Krukar and Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik

Page 24


On its face, Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.530(a) allows a party to raise practically anything for the first time in a motion for rehearing. But in practice, questions abound: What can be raised? What must be raised? Will a newly raised argument or evidence be preserved for appellate review? Conversely, will failure to raise an issue on rehearing waive appellate review? The answers to those questions lie in the particulars of each case: the facts, the procedural posture, and sometimes, the district court to which it will be appealed.

The history of the rehearing rule, and its interpretation and application over time, reveals several key conflicts that create potential traps for trial practitioners.

The Origination of Rule 1.530(a)
Our modern rule on rehearing began to take shape in 1952, when the Supreme Court amended 1950 Common Law Rule 41(a)1 to first incorporate the concept of “rehearing”:

“A new trial may be granted in an action tried without a jury on grounds that heretofore were grounds for a rehearing in a suit in equity; and in such cases the court may open the judgment, if one has been entered, take additional testimony, and direct the entry of a new judgment.”2

When the Supreme Court created the 1954 Florida Rules of Civil Procedure,3 it incorporated Common Law Rule 41(a) as Fla. R. Civ. P. 2.8(a).4 Then in 1962, the Supreme Court added a reference to summary judgment:

“(a) Jury and Non-Jury Cases. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or a part of the issues. On a motion for a rehearing of a summary judgment or of matters heard without a jury, the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony and enter a new judgment.”5

In 1966, the rules were formally reorganized into the framework with which we are all familiar today.6 That version of the rehearing rule still stands today, numbered as Rule 1.530(a):

“(a) Jury and Non-Jury Actions. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or a part of the issues. On a motion for a rehearing of matters heard without a jury, including summary judgments, the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony and enter a new judgment.”7

The Standard of Review and Preservation of Error
The Supreme Court provided early guidance as to the rule’s application on rehearing in Blue v. Blue, 66 So. 2d 228, 229-30 (Fla. 1953). The court recognized that trial courts were vested with broad discretion in determining whether to grant or deny a motion for rehearing, holding “[i]t is well settled that an [a]ppellate [c]ourt will not disturb the order of a lower [c]ourt in the exercise of its [j]udicial discretion unless an abuse of this discretion is clearly shown.”8

The court also recognized that this discretion was not without limits. The Blue court applied those limits to the case before it, reversing the trial court’s denial of a petition for rehearing and holding that the trial court had abused its discretion in refusing to consider newly discovered — and potentially material — evidence that could not have been discovered earlier.9 That said, trial courts have rarely been reversed for granting a motion for rehearing and reopening a case, absent there being some jurisdictional bar (such as the timeliness of the motion).10 As demonstrated in Wynocker v. Wynocker, 500 So. 2d 555 (Fla. 2d DCA 1986), a trial court may choose to reopen a case and allow the parties to raise new arguments or present new arguments on practically any issue, should the trial court so decide. Thus, the abuse-of-discretion standard unsurprisingly weighs heavily in favor of the party that succeeds on rehearing in the trial court.

When rehearing is denied, however, the standard of review plays a unique — and sometimes uncertain — role in the determination of whether arguments or evidence raised for the first time on rehearing are preserved for appeal. For example, the Fifth District in Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 381 So. 2d 1164 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), expressly refused to even review the contents of affidavits filed in support of a motion for rehearing because it determined the trial court had properly exercised its discretion in refusing to consider them itself.11 In other words, the Coffman court held that the evidence and arguments contained therein were unpreserved for appellate review.

Other districts have similarly held they would not, or could not, review arguments or evidence raised for the first time on rehearing. The Fourth District held in Trinchitella v. D.R.F., Inc., 584 So. 2d 35 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991), “We cannot consider the issues raised for the first time in a motion for rehearing in the trial court,” and recently reaffirmed that stance in Best v. Education Affiliates, Inc., 82 So. 3d 143, 146 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).12 The Second District likewise stated, “We cannot consider the issues concerning the validity of the resolutions imposing water and sewer impact fees by appellee Pinellas County Commission, since appellant raised these issues for the first time in its motion for rehearing in the trial court,” in School Board of Pinellas County v. Pinellas County Commission, 404 So. 2d 1178 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981).13

Again, the trial court’s discretion to deny a motion for rehearing is not unbridled. District courts occasionally reverse denials of motions for rehearing when the party has raised a new argument or evidence therein. To reverse, the appellate courts must typically consider those new arguments and evidence, as is seen in the cases cited below.14

The History of Rehearing from Summary Judgment
Review of orders denying rehearing on summary judgment is a longtime source of confusion on the principles of discretion and preservation. It started in 1966, while the Supreme Court was reorganizing the rules. At that same time, the court issued its landmark decision in Holl v. Talcott, 191 So. 2d 40 (Fla. 1966). While Holl is most recognizable for its analysis of the burdens on a motion for summary judgment, the opinion also discussed the procedures and considerations on rehearing in a summary judgment setting.15

In Holl, the plaintiff opposed a motion for summary judgment by relying on an affidavit the trial court ultimately struck for legal insufficiency, contemporaneously granting summary judgment for certain defendants.16 The plaintiff “moved for rehearing or, alternatively, to reopen the judgment to permit the submission of additional affidavits designed to cure any defects in the first one.”17 The trial court denied the motion.18

The case ultimately traveled to the Supreme Court.19 The Supreme Court held the defendants had not met their legal burden as movants for summary judgment, and that the plaintiff’s original affidavit should not have been struck.20 For these reasons, the Supreme Court did not have to reach the question of whether rehearing should have been granted — but it chose to do so anyway in what it acknowledged was obiter dictum.21 The court stated:

“Not only should the [respondent’s] papers be liberally read and construed, as opposed to a strict reading of the movant’s papers, but this same favorable weighting of the balance should have attended action on the petitioner’s subsequent motion for rehearing and motion to vacate the summary judgment and receive the new affidavit which petitioners urged would correct any deficiencies of the first one.

“The granting or denial of rehearing is a matter within the sound discretion of the trial court, but it is never an arbitrary discretion. As indicated above, when the motion is filed by one against whom a summary judgment has been entered, the discretion not to grant is narrowed and every disposition should be indulged in favor of granting the motion. Only after it has been conclusively shown that the party moved against cannot offer proof to support his position on the genuine and material issues in the cause should his right to trial be foreclosed.”22

The interpretation of this obiter dictum became the basis for a conflict among the districts. In National Properties, Inc. v. Ballenger Corporation, 277 So. 2d 29 (Fla. 3d DCA 1973), and then Berrol v. Concord Florida, Inc., 305 So. 2d 310 (Fla. 3d DCA 1974), the Third District applied the Holl language without limitation. It expressly rejected an appellees’ argument that the trial court had discretion “to ignore the affidavits because they were not filed prior to the hearing on the motions for summary judgment.”23

The Second District disagreed in Willis v. L.W. Foster Sportswear Co., Inc., 352 So. 2d 922, 923-24 (1977), stating that the Third District “holdings go too far, and are based on an erroneous interpretation of . . . Holl.” Willis and Ballenger were similar in that the respondent had not made an attempt to file an affidavit until rehearing.24 The Second District noted this fact distinguished Holl, in which the respondent had filed a legally insufficient affidavit before summary judgment and sought to correct the error on rehearing.25 The court said, “It is one thing for a court to receive an amended or supplementary affidavit on a motion for rehearing; it is quite another to allow a nonmovant to initially create an issue of fact at this late stage.”26

The Second District, thus, concluded that the Third District’s interpretation of Holl would erroneously permit “a nonmoving party to sit back, review the entire proceedings, and not attempt to negate the nonexistence of a material issue of fact until rehearing.”27 It held that a trial court maintained discretion to deny a motion for rehearing based on a new affidavit creating a disputed issue of material fact unless the motion for rehearing demonstrated “exigent circumstances” to persuade the trial court to allow the new evidence at such a late date.28

The same year, the Fourth District issued its decision in Hatmaker v. Advance Mortgage Corporation, 351 So. 2d 728 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977). It adopted the Third District’s interpretation and applied its black-letter test, reversing the denial of a motion for summary judgment merely because an affidavit filed for the first time on rehearing “clearly established the existence of genuine issues of fact.”29 A few years later, the Fifth District entered the fray with its opinion in Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 381 So. 2d 1164, 1166-67 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), aligning itself with the Second District.30 It noted that the Third and Fourth districts’ interpretation would allow parties to violate the summary judgment rule, which required counter-affidavits to be served before a hearing on a motion for summary judgment.31

The Supreme Court took up the conflict between Hatmaker and Coffman in Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 413 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1982). It unceremoniously resolved the dispute by issuing a two-sentence opinion that disapproved Hatmaker and adopted the Fifth District’s Coffman opinion as its own.32 Thus, discretion was returned to the trial courts to refuse to review new affidavits in denying motions for rehearing.

The Modern Applications of Rehearing from Summary Judgment
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s Coffman decision, the Fourth District in Lennertz v. Dorsey, 421 So. 2d 820 (Fla. 4th DCA 1982), affirmed the denial of a motion for rehearing when “the trial court found an absence of any compelling reasons or exigent circumstances which might excuse the tardiness of the affidavits.” Thus, although Coffman did not necessarily go so far as to expressly approve it, Florida courts began to accept, develop, and apply the Second District’s Willis decision that recognized both the broad discretion of the trial court and the “compelling reasons” or “exigent circumstances” limitation upon that discretion.33

What qualifies as “compelling reasons” or “exigent circumstances” that will limit a trial court’s discretion to deny a motion for rehearing is not set in stone, though. In Willis, the Second District had said:

“We can envision circumstances where the exigencies of the situation may persuade a trial judge to allow affidavits to be first presented on a motion for rehearing. An example of this might be where, through no fault or lack of diligence by the nonmoving party, proof may not become available until after the motion for summary judgment is heard. However, such a case would be the exception and not the rule, and the trial judge should require a convincing showing of exigent circumstances.”34

Negligent or incompetent representation in defending against summary judgment is one oft-cited reason for reversing a denial of a motion for rehearing. In Fernandes v. Boisvert, 659 So. 2d 412, 413 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995), the Second District explained:

“We are, thus, confronted with the question of whether the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to rescue [the appellant] from the apparent incompetence of her lawyer. We recognize the broad discretion of the trial court in matters of this kind. While we do not know the underlying reasons which compelled the attorney to pursue this matter in the way he did, it is apparent to us that something has gone awry. Therefore, in light of the unique circumstances presented here, we determine that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to consider [the appellant’s] affidavit on rehearing.”

The First District in Petrucci v. Brinson, 179 So. 3d 398 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015), similarly reversed the denial of a motion for rehearing because “something went ‘awry’ and where [a]ppellant, through no fault of his own, had summary judgment entered against him based upon the apparent incompetence of his attorney.” The Third District held that “compelling or exigent circumstances” existed in AC Holdings 2006, Inc. v. McCarty, 985 So. 2d 1123, 1126 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008), in which original counsel was incompetent, a disputed issue of material fact existed even before rehearing, and the affidavit filed in support of rehearing “merely explicated the issues that previously had been raised.”

Courts have also held new argument may be raised on rehearing, as well as evidence. In Young v. Naples Community Hospital, Inc., 129 So. 3d 456 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014), the Second District rejected the respondent’s argument that the trial court was without discretion to consider a new imputed notice argument raised on rehearing. The First District did the same in Fitchner v. Lifesouth Community Blood Centers., Inc., 88 So. 3d 269, 278-79 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), holding that to disallow a retroactivity argument first raised on rehearing would result in “an unnecessary triumph of procedure over substance.” Some uncertainty in this law exists. The Fourth District in Best35 and Bennett v. Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co., 124 So. 3d 320, 321 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013), refused to consider on appeal arguments raised for the first time on rehearing, and the opinions do not indicate the court considered the “exigent circumstances” exception.

It is unclear what other circumstances may satisfy the exigent circumstances exception — the cases do not provide an exhaustive list, so the facts of each particular case will control. What is clear is that a trial court’s discretion to grant rehearing, and to consider new argument or evidence, is somewhat broader than its discretion to deny rehearing, and that the right argument on exigent circumstances will limit the trial court’s choices.

Some appellate courts appear to have conflated the issue of preservation for appeal with the breadth of a trial court’s discretion and appellate review of the same. As the Supreme Court explained in Reynolds v. State, 934 So. 2d 1128, 1150 (Fla. 2006) (quoting Archer v. State, 613 So. 2d 446, 448 (Fla. 1993)), “[F]or an issue to be preserved for appeal, . . . it ‘must be presented to the lower court and the specific legal argument or ground to be argued on appeal must be part of that presentation if it is to be considered preserved.’” By this definition, an issue presented to the trial court on a Rule 1.530(a) motion is preserved. The appellate court may then review it, but must apply the proper scope of review, determining whether the trial court abused its discretion in considering or refusing to consider the issues on rehearing.

Rehearing to Address Errors on the Face of a Judgment
Another significant facet of rehearing is that, generally, a party must move for rehearing to preserve an error that appears for the first time on the face of a judgment.36 The absence of required written findings in particular types of cases is a frequent error that appears on the face of a judgment. Dissolution of marriage cases, for example, require express findings of fact to support rulings on alimony37 or child support, without which, a judgment is “facially erroneous.”38

The failure to move for rehearing requesting the trial court to make such findings of fact is a failure to preserve the error for review.39 As the First District explained in New Hampshire Indemnity Company v. Gray, 177 So. 3d 56, 59 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015), the trial court should have “an opportunity to rectify the error.”40 This preservation rule is often strictly applied — in Bank of America, N.A. v. Ribaudo, 199 So. 3d 407, 408 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016), the appellate court affirmed due to lack of preservation, despite appellee’s concession of error when the appellant had not raised the issue by rehearing in the trial court.

As with summary judgments, the courts have likewise crafted an exception to this preservation rule. In Broadfoot v. Broadfoot, 791 So. 2d 584, 585 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001), a case in which the appellant failed to call “the need for statutory findings” to the trial court’s attention by way of a motion for rehearing, the Third District held:

“Where, as here, the basis for the award is reasonably clear and supported by the record, we decline to reverse on account of the absence of statutory findings. We do, of course, reserve the right to reverse on account of an absence of findings (whether the point was raised in the trial court or not) if the absence of the statutory findings frustrates this court’s appellate review.”

The Fifth District in Mathieu v. Mathieu, 877 So. 2d 740, 741 n.1 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004), adopted the Broadfoot holding as “sensible,” similarly declining to address an issue regarding the absence of findings issues that are unpreserved by a motion for rehearing unless “the court determines on its own that its review is hampered, we may, at our discretion send the case back for findings.”41

From the perspective of a party litigating in the trial court, it would be difficult to know whether a future reviewing appellate court will determine its review is frustrated. Thus, best practice is to move for rehearing on any error that appears on the face of a judgment, to ensure the error is preserved. Failing that, the courts have left an opening to obtain a reversal of a judgment even when the lack of findings is unpreserved — by demonstrating the absence of those factual findings frustrates the appellate court’s review on other preserved issues on appeal.

Conclusion
These are but a few examples demonstrating some of the intricacies of the rehearing rule as applied to the trial court’s discretion and the preservation of trial issues for appeal. The distinct takeaways are few, but important.

Trial practitioners should always move for rehearing of an error that appears on the face of the judgment, else risk waiving an issue for appeal. There is no harm in moving for rehearing to present a new valid argument or new evidence. The trial court’s decision to reopen a case to consider new arguments or evidence is seldom disturbed, and depending on the posture of the case and the district court of appeal, a successful motion may preserve an additional issue for appeal. Further, there remain opportunities to establish new and different exigent circumstances in addition to those discussed above to persuade a trial court to reopen a case.

Appellate practitioners should diligently research the law of the particular district in which their case is located, and the particular type of case and argument that is at issue. The opinions on rehearing are numerous, varied by both district and topic, and nuanced. The vastness of the law here has resulted in confusion before, and will likely do so again. Appellate practitioners should be prepared to move for rehearing on appeal if an unclear or inconsistent opinion arises — but that is a different article entirely.


1 See Historical Notes, Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.530.

2 See 1950 Common Law Rule 41(a).

3 See Order Adopting and Promulgating 1954 Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to Govern Litigants in Suits of a Civil Nature and All Special Statutory Proceedings in the Courts Therein Named (Fla. Mar. 15, 1954).

4 See Historical Notes, Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.530.

5 See id.

6 See In re Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1967 Revision, 187 So. 2d 598, 630 (Fla. 1966).

7 See id.

8 Blue v. Blue, 66 So. 2d 228, 229-30 (Fla. 1953); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v. Greyhound Rent-A-Car, Inc., 586 So. 2d 482 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991) (“The trial court has wide discretion in non-jury matters to grant rehearing and in its discretion, consider new evidence.”).

9 Blue, 66 So. 2d at 229-30.

10 See, e.g., Catsicas v. Catsicas, 669 So. 2d 1126 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) (reversing the grant of a motion for rehearing that was untimely filed).

11 The Fifth District issued this opinion in Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 381 So. 2d 1164 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), which the Supreme Court later adopted as its own. See Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 413 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1982).

12 See also Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. v. Staples, 125 So. 3d 309 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013) (on review of an order granting a motion to disqualify counsel, rejecting an issue involving the existence of an indemnity agreement that was not raised until rehearing).

13 The Second District’s one-paragraph opinion did not indicate whether the trial court had first considered and rejected the appellant’s argument raised on rehearing.

14 The appellate court must typically conduct a harmless error analysis before reversing, even when an error is apparent on the face of a judgment. See, e.g., Jericka v. Jericka, 198 So. 3d 661 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015) (noting that appellate courts must conduct a harmless error analysis in appeals of alimony awards). Reversing without reviewing the evidence and arguments lodged in support of the motion for rehearing would run afoul of this requirement.

15 Holl v. Talcott, 191 So. 2d 40, 46-47 (Fla. 1966).

16 Id. at 42.

17 Id.

18 Id.

19 Id.

20 Id. at 43-46.

21 Id. at 46.

22 Id. at 46-47 (internal citation omitted).

23 Nat’l Props., Inc. v. Ballenger Corp., 277 So. 2d 29, 30-31 (Fla. 3d DCA 1973).

24 Willis v. L.W. Foster Sportswear Co., Inc., 352 So. 2d 922, 922-24 (1977).

25 Id. at 924.

26 Id.

27 Id.

28 Id.; see also Gulewicz v. Cziesla, 366 So. 2d 507 (Fla. 2d DCA 1979) (affirming when “[t]he lower court denied appellant’s motion for rehearing for failure to assert exigent circumstances excusing the failure to submit the expert’s affidavit at or prior to the original hearing on the motion for summary judgment”); The First District took an approach similar to Willis as early as 1967 in Buchanan v. Gulf Life Ins. Co., 286 So. 2d 223, 224 (Fla. 1st DCA 1967). There, it affirmed the denial of a plaintiff’s motion for rehearing where she had sought to “change[] her course [180] degrees” without ever having sought to amend her pleadings. Id. The court held “[s]he was ‘a day late and a dollar short[.]’” Id.

29 Hatmaker v. Advance Mortg.Corp., 351 So. 2d 728, 728 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977).

30 That the Coffman panel rejected the Fourth District’s analysis is made all the more interesting by the fact that the Coffman panel was “entirely composed of [j]udges from the Fourth District.” Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 381 So. 2d 1164, 1167, n. 3 (5th DCA 1980). The Coffman opinion issued during the infancy of the Fifth District, at which time the court was temporarily staffed by judges from other courts so that it could begin operations. See Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal, History Fifth District Court of Appeal, http://www.5dca.org/General%20Information/Courthistory.shtml. The Coffman panel’s roots are evident in the opinion where the court suggests, impossibly, that “we now recede from [Hatmaker].” Id. at 1167.

31 Id. at 1167.

32 Coffman Realty, Inc. v. Tosohatchee Game Preserve, Inc., 413 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1982).

33 Most, but not all. The Fourth District issued opinions in 1997 and 2003 that applied the Hatmaker reasoning, failing to acknowledge the Coffman decision. See Sapphire Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. Amerivend Corp., 691 So. 2d 600 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997); Bridgeport Inc. v. Rinker Materials Corp., 849 So. 2d 1193 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). The Fourth District receded from Sapphire and Bridgeport in 2005, once again acknowledging Coffman. See Pangilinan v. Broward Co., 914 So. 2d 1094 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005). Meanwhile, a 1996 Fourth District decision also seems to apply the Hatmaker logic (without citation) in reversing the denial of a motion for rehearing from an order granting an involuntary dismissal after trial, but Martin has not expressly been disavowed. See Nat’l Enters., Inc. v. Martin, 679 So. 2d 331 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996).

34 Willis, 352 So. 2d at 924.

35 Best, 82 So. 3d at 146.

36 See Phillip J. Padovano, Florida Appellate Practice §8:3 (2016 ed.) (“The preservation of error requirement applies to an error appearing for the first time on the face of a judgment.”).

37 In Parenteau v. Parenteau, 795 So. 2d 1124 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001), the court explained that findings of fact are required to support an award of alimony under Fla. Stat. §61.08 and to properly calculate special equity in compliance with Landay v. Landay, 429 So. 2d 1197 (Fla. 1983).

38 The court in Wilcox v. Munoz, 35 So. 3d 136, 139 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010) (“It is well-settled that a trial court errs by failing to make findings of fact regarding the parties’ incomes when determining child support,” and “the failure to include findings . . . renders a final judgment facially erroneous.”).

39 Gray, 177 So. 3d at 59; see also Williamson v. Cowan, 49 So. 3d 867, 867 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010) (“Because [a]ppellant never challenged the adequacy of the findings in a motion for rehearing, we determine that the issue was not properly preserved for appellate review.”).

40 In New Hampshire Indemnity Company v. Gray, 177 So. 3d 56 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015), the court held an insurance company that complained the judgment did not contain sufficient findings to warrant its joinder to a personal injury case was not preserved because it was not raised in the trial court by rehearing.

41 That said, a number of opinions exist reversing judgments for lack of factual findings without any mention of a motion for rehearing. See, e.g., Kennedy v. Kennedy, 60 So. 3d 466 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) (reversing for reconsideration of alimony due to absence of written findings); Ondrejack v. Ondrejack, 839 So. 2d 867 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) (reversing on issues of alimony and child support for lack of written findings). Whether the issue of preservation was considered by those courts and simply not addressed or dismissed without comment is unknowable from the face of the opinions.


Jared M. Krukar practices with DPW Legal in Tampa and is experienced in civil appellate practice and trial support. He holds law and master of business administration degrees from Stetson University. Krukar serves on the executive council of The Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section and is the section’s Outreach Committee Chair.

Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik is a board certified appellate and intellectual property law specialist and the founder of DPW Legal, a Tampa Bay law firm focusing on appellate practice, trial support, and intellectual property litigation and counseling. She serves as communications co-chair for The Florida Bar Appellate Section.

This column is submitted on behalf of the Appellate Practice Section, Kristin A. Norse, chair, and Brandon Christian and Thomas Seider, editors.

[Revised: 11-29-2017]