Florida Rule Change Permits Immediate Appeals on Punitive Damages

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The Florida Supreme Court has accepted a proposed rule amendment to permit interlocutory appeals of court orders on punitive damages claims. On January 6, 2022, the Florida Supreme Court approved by 6-1 an amendment to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 to allow interlocutory appeals of nonfinal orders granting or denying leave to amend a complaint to assert a claim for punitive damages. Prior to this amendment, a party could only appeal such an order by petitioning for a writ of certiorari. And in that posture, the appellate court’s review was limited only to whether the trial court complied with the procedural requirements for making such a claim.

Practically, this means Florida appellate courts will be able to immediately review trial court orders regarding punitive damages claims on both procedural and substantive grounds. With this amendment, the merits of a plaintiff’s punitive damages claim can now be appealed prior to any discovery of a defendant’s financial information. The new rule takes effect April 1, 2022.

Read the full article on the Faegre Drinker website.

About the Author: Traci T. McKee

As a product liability litigator, Traci McKee defends medical devices and pharmaceutical products that save lives and consumer products that enhance lives. She represents product manufacturers in complex, high stakes litigation such as mass torts and class actions, as well as single-plaintiff claims. With more than a decade of litigation practice, Traci has substantial experience in all phases of litigation from discovery through trial, having served as first chair and second chair in multiple jury trials. She understands the strategies and goals of the clients she represents and develops tailored litigation strategies focused on each client’s business goals.

About the Author: Erica K. Drew

Erica Drew is a Products Liability associate residing in our Indianapolis, Indiana, office. She defends pharmaceutical and medical device companies against claims involving allegations of strict liability, negligence, failure to warn or consumer protection act violations.

About the Author: Christopher J. Casolaro

Chris Casolaro is a trial and appellate litigator who delivers for clients. He has first-chair experience protecting and defending clients in every phase of product liability and commercial litigation — including investigation, regulatory, trial litigation and appeal.