Supreme Court amends appellate rules to permit immediate appeals from punitive damage orders

Posted in Legal Alerts, Newsletters - 2022 on January 6, 2022

Today, the Florida Supreme Court issued a new rule permitting immediate appeals from trial court orders granting or denying motions for leave to amend to add a punitive damage claim.  Until now, only orders permitting punitive damage claims were appealable, but only if the trial court did not follow the statutory procedure requiring that motions for leave to amend be supported by an evidentiary proffer and proposed amended Complaint.  In other words, the appellate courts could not review the merits of the motion for leave to amend, but could only determine whether the procedural requirements were met.  As of today, the appellate courts may review the merits of any proposed punitive damage amendment, along with any procedural irregularities. 

It is important to note that if you are considering an appeal from an order granting leave to amend, you must have counsel request a stay of any punitive damage discovery to ensure that such discovery will not be compelled pending review.  If the trial court refuses a stay, that order may likewise be reviewed by the appellate courts.