The Mavrick Law Firm provides excellent appellate advocacy for clients in Florida and Federal courts. The Firm has successfully argued both federal and state appeals. The Firm has won reversals on behalf of appellants and won affirmances on behalf of appellees. The Firm has successfully represented clients in direct appeals, appeals of non-final orders, and in appellate proceedings involving extraordinary writs, including writs of certiorari and writs of prohibition.
“Effective presentation to a federal court of appeals, or to any Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, court, requires a blend of talents not necessarily found in the typical trial lawyer. is, in short, a specialty all to itself.” , 11 App. Advoc. 3 (1998). “Persuading juries takes different forensic and analytical skills than persuading judges.” Id. The lawyers of Mavrick Law Firm are experienced with appellate law, litigation, and advocacy.
Appealing a Final Order and Standard of Review
A party can generally appeal any final trial court order (orders completely disposing of the case), as well as certain other types of orders, to the appellate court with mandatory (direct) jurisdiction over the trial court. Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.030(b)(1)(A)-(B). Some non-final orders (orders that do not completely dispose of the case) are appealable, including orders on the following: motions concerning venue; motions granting, continuing, modifying, denying, or dissolving an injunction; motions determining an entitlement to arbitration; and motions concerning the appointment of a receiver. Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.130 (a)(3)(A)-(D). Appealable orders entered by a County Court may be appealed to the Circuit Court’s Appellate Division. Appealable orders entered by the Circuit Court may be appealed to the corresponding Florida District Court of Appeal. For example, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court orders are appealable to the Third District Court of Appeal, while Broward County and Palm Beach County orders are appealable to the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Depending on the issue brought by the appellant (the party filing the appeal), the appellate court either applies an “abuse of discretion” standard (clear error in judgment by the trial court) or a “de novo” standard (as though it was a new proceeding). A de novo standard of review permits the appellate court to reconsider the matter without putting any weight on the trial court’s determination. , 226 So. 3d 774 (Fla. 2017) (invoking the de novo standard to the issue of whether referral sources were a protected legitimate business interest). The abuse of discretion standard of review does not permit the appellate court to reconsider the matter, but only to examine the reasonableness of the trial court’s decisions based on its factual findings. , 252 So. 3d 28 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).
The party appealing the order would naturally prefer a de novo standard of review over an abuse of discretion standard of review. Effective advocacy of the parties can assist the appellate court in applying the correct standard of review to the issues on appeal. For example, if a trial court refuses to grant a motion for a temporary injunction because the trial court finds that a non-compete agreement is not reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, then the parties will likely contest which standard of review applies. An employer may argue that the trial court incorrectly interpreted the contract or statute, which would qualify for de novo review. An employee may argue that the trial court’s decision was correctly based upon a factual finding regarding the protection of the legitimate business interest, which would require an abuse of discretion standard of review. See e.g. , 918 So. 2d 431 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006) (applying a de novo review despite the appellate court weighing the evidence and finding that the employer did not have a legitimate business interest); , 287 So. 3d 699 (Fla. 4th DCA 2020) (reviewing several aspects of a trial court’s order denying an employer’s motion for a temporary injunction under the de novo standard even though the issues were partly evidentiary in nature).
Appellate Attorney’s Fees
If the matter being appealed concerns a contract that entitles the prevailing party to attorneys’ fees or there is otherwise a statutory basis for attorneys’ fees, the party that is successful on appeal can request an award of its appellate attorneys’ fees from the appellate court. A motion for attorneys’ fees must be served no later than the service of the reply brief. Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.400(b). As an example,
In addition to appeals of trial court orders, Florida’s Courts of Appeal may also issue extraordinary writs. Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.030 (b)(3). An extraordinary writ is a type of appellate court order, where the court exercises its discretionary power to make remedies available which are not regularly within the lower courts’ powers. If the act occurs in the Circuit Court, the petition for extraordinary writ will typically be filed with the appropriate District Court of Appeal. Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 9.030(b)(3) provides that “District courts of appeal may issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and common law certiorari, and all writs necessary to the complete exercise of the courts’ jurisdiction.” The essential function of each of these writs is simply to review with the appellate court, the particular actions taken by government officials. Article V, § 2(a), of the Florida Constitution prohibits the dismissal of a cause merely because the remedy was mislabeled. See 9.040(c). A court may treat a case as if the proper remedy had been sought rather than dismiss it. , 85 So.3d 517 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012).
Writ of Certiorari
A party to a lawsuit may seek appellate review of an adverse ruling through a petition for writ of certiorari, even when a direct appeal is not permitted by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.030(b)(1)(B). “To support a writ of certiorari, the petitioner must demonstrate that the challenged non-final order (1) departs from the essential requirements of law, (2) results in material injury for the remainder of the case, and (3) such injury is incapable of correction on postjudgment appeal.” , 170 So. 3d 804 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014), citing to 104 So.3d 344 (Fla.2012).
Writs of certiorari are often sought to remedy improper discovery orders.
Certiorari review is appropriate when a discovery order departs from the essential requirements of law, causing material injury to a petitioner throughout the remainder of the proceedings and effectively leaving no adequate remedy on appeal. Orders improperly requiring the disclosure of trade secrets or other proprietary information often create irreparable harm and are thus appropriate for certiorari review.
, 846 So. 2d 652 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); Certiorari review “is appropriate in cases that allow discovery of privileged information. This is because once privileged information is disclosed, there is no remedy for the destruction of the privilege available on direct appeal.” 911 So.2d 277 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005); 711 So.2d 186 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998) (“Certiorari is the appropriate avenue to challenge a trial court order directing the disclosure of communications presumptively covered by the attorney-client privilege”); , 174 So. 3d 615 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (reversing trial court order for discovery when right to that discovery had not yet been established); , 743 So. 2d 41 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999) (quashing discovery order in certiorari concerning overly broad discovery order that required disclosure of attorney-client privileged communications that were not within the category of communications that were waived).
Writ of Mandamus
, 112 Fla. 200 (1933).
, 813 So. 2d 10 (Fla. 2000)., 155 So.2d 353 (Fla. 1963). For example, a trial court may be compelled through a writ of mandamus to hold a hearing and decide on an issue based on a party’s entitlement to a hearing, but it may not be compelled to decide the issue in a particular way.
Writ of Prohibition
A writ of prohibition is an order issued by a superior court to prevent a lower court or tribunal from considering matters not within its jurisdiction. , 348 So.2d 293 (Fla. 1977); Florida Constitution, Art. V, § 3(b)(4), (7); Fla.R.App.P. Rule 9.030 (b)(3).
Prohibition lies to prevent an inferior tribunal from acting in excess of jurisdiction but not to prevent an erroneous exercise of jurisdiction. In this state, circuit courts are superior courts of general jurisdiction, and nothing is intended to be outside their jurisdiction except that which and appears so to be.
, 605 So. 2d 850 (Fla. 1992).
A writ of prohibition is preventive and not to be used to correct a wrong which has already occurred. , 691 So.2d 504 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997). It may only be used to prevent damage that is likely to occur if the trial court intends to act without authority of law or in excess of its jurisdiction. , 492 So.2d 431 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986). “[I]t cannot be used to revoke an order already entered.” , 129 So.3d 1086 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014). a Writ of Prohibition. The appellate court found that the trial court improperly continued to exercise jurisdiction after dismissal, and rule in favor of the Mavrick Law Firm’s client by vacating a critical trial court order.
Florida businesses should always consider and prepare for every contingency, including potential unexpected rulings or appeals brought by the opposing party. Florida businesses can prepare for these contingencies by retaining counsel with experience in both trial and appellate courts. Mavrick Law Firm attorneys have substantial experience both in prosecuting and defending appeals before Florida's District Courts of Appeal and Federal appellate courts.