Florida Supreme Court: Motion to Compel Appraisals Now Immediately Appealable Under Amended Appellate Procedure Rules
Jun 4, 2009
By Maria Elena Abate, Esq., Shareholder
Entitlement to appeal an order compelling an appraisal pursuant to a Florida insurance policy is now tantamount to a party’s entitlement to appeal an arbitration order under revised Rules of Appellate Procedure adopted by the Florida Supreme Court on January 30, 2009.
Although the right to immediately appeal had been made available in the past by lower courts in various related cases, a 2002 Florida Supreme Court decision that appraisals were not the functional equivalent of an arbitration proceeding led to intermediate appellate courts refusing to accept jurisdiction. Allstate Insurance Company v. Suarez, 833 So.2d 762 (Fla. 2002).
In a 2006 footnote to such a dismissal in Burnett v. Clarendon Select Insurance Company, 920 So.2d 188 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2006), Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recommended that “The Appellate Rules Committee of The Florida Bar may wish to consider the advisability of an amendment to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 that would authorize non-final appeals of orders that determine the entitlement of a party to appraisal.”
In its 2004 dismissal of a similar case, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal had described Rule 9.130(a)(3)(C)(iv) as “designed to reduce the number of appealable pretrial orders and to discourage piecemeal review.” The First DCA went on to explain that, “Given this objective, the courts have narrowly construed the scope of the rule so that it applies only to the orders it identifies as appealable orders.” Cotton States Mutual Insurance v. D’Alto 879 So.2d 67 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004)
With the 2009 revision, Rule 9.130(a)(3)(C)(iv) now includes the insurance appraisal-specific language to clarify that a non-final order determining a party’s entitlement to an appraisal pursuant to an insurance policy is immediately appealable.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Maria Elena Abate at Colodny Fass.
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