Appellate Briefs - November 2012: Does a motion for rehearing delay the time in which an appeal must be filed?


I spent the last few weeks tallying the most frequently asked question I received for use here.  It seems, however, the two that tied – “who do you think will win the election?” and “can you believe it is already almost Thanksgiving?” – are not about appeals!  So we are left to the historical record, where we find another common issue trial lawyers routinely face and ask about: does a motion for rehearing delay the time in which an appeal must be filed?  The answer, of course, is “it depends.”
Generally, if an order is final, and the motion for rehearing is timely filed, then the time in which to appeal does not start until the motion is resolved.  This outcome only applies for parties seeking rehearing; an aggrieved party who does not timely file a motion for rehearing of a final order must appeal within 30 days, even if another party has timely sought rehearing.  And an untimely motion does not delay the start of the 30 day time clock.  Also, if an order is not final, a motion for rehearing does not suspend or delay the 30 day deadline for appealing, assuming review is available. 
As always, there are variations on these themes and specific facts and circumstances may lead to different results.  So, if in doubt, contact your trusted appellate advisor to be sure.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Marie Tomassi is Florida Bar Board Certified in Appellate Practice. She has been an attorney with Trenam Kemker since 1988 and serves on the firm's three person Management Committee. She can be reached at or 727-820-3952.