Judge reading opinion from the bench.

In Arch Insurance Co. v. Lender Processing Services, Inc. (Fla. 1st DCA Aug. 29, 2019), the First District Court of Appeal rejected a party’s attempt to appeal a previously-rendered order by obtaining a new order on the same motion.

In 2016, the trial court entered an order ruling that there was no valid settlement agreement between the parties. Under the 2016 rules of appellate procedure, the court’s order was nonfinal and not appealable.

However, Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 was amended in January of 2019, adding a new provision authorizing appeals of nonfinal orders determining that, as a matter of law, a settlement agreement is unenforceable, set aside, or never existed.

In an attempt to bring an appeal under the new rule, the appellant filed new motions raising the same issues on the same facts, resulting in the court rendering a partial summary judgment in 2019 that repeated the same rulings from 2016.

The First DCA dismissed the appellant’s appeal of the 2019 order. It held that the 2019 order was a mere republication of the trial court’s 2016 ruling, and did not provide a new opportunity to file an interlocutory appeal under the new appellate rule. Under Florida law, the rendition of a new order materially the same as a prior order that was not appealed does not open a new appeal window.

The opinion also notes that a party can seek review of nonfinal orders in the plenary appeal following a final judgment.

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