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County and circuit Court jurisdiction changes to begin in January

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The portal will generate the new civil cover sheet and include it in the submission

Civil Court ChangesOn January 1, changes in Florida state law and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure will go into effect, changing where a variety of court actions are heard.

On the first day of 2020:

• County court jurisdictional thresholds increase to $30,000 on January 1, 2020, and to $50,000 on January 1, 2023.

• Small claims cases on January 1, 2020, will include cases up to $8,000.

• Filers will be required to include a civil cover sheet specifying the dollar amount in dispute in cases exceeding $8,000 in value.

• The new law maintains current rules that limits the provision of subsidized court mediation services to county court cases with an amount in controversy up to $15,000.

• State law provides that on January 1, 2020, appeals of county court orders or judgments with an amount in controversy greater than $15,000 will be heard by the district courts of appeal until January 1, 2023, when the provision repeals.

Carolyn Weber, program manager for the e-filing portal, said the civil cover sheet is currently automatically generated for circuit civil cases.

“We will expand that effective January 1 to include county civil,” Weber said. “All the attorney needs to do is fill in the claim amount or amount in controversy as they go through the case information page when creating a new case.  The portal will then take the information and generate the new civil cover sheet and include it in the submission.  The attorney will not need to create a paper civil cover sheet and add to the submission.”

The cover sheets will allow court administrators to track the changes and report the impact to lawmakers by February 1, 2021.

The Office of State Courts Administrator has launched a Know Your Court website at www.flcourts.org/Know-Your-Court and has rolled out a series of informational videos to alert members and the public to changes. Bar President John Stewart, along with various judges and clerks, appear on the videos to explain what to expect. The Bar is also posting the educational videos on its website and sharing them via its social media platforms.

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