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“In for a Penny, in for a Pound” is No Longer the Case for Florida Lawyers

Client Alert

On April 1, 2024, newly adopted Rule 1.041 to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedures goes into effect, which creates a procedure for an attorney to appear in a limited manner in civil proceedings. Currently, when a Florida attorney appears in a civil proceeding, he or she is responsible for handling all aspects of the case for their client. This new rule authorizes an attorney to file a notice limiting the attorney’s appearance to particular proceedings or specified matters prior to any appearance before the court. For example, an attorney can now appear for the limited purpose of filing and arguing a motion to dismiss. Once the motion to dismiss is heard by the court, the attorney may file a notice of termination of limited appearance and will have no further obligations in the case. 

The intended consequence of Rule 1.041 was to make accessing the Florida court system easier for litigants. Many individuals who could not afford to retain an attorney throughout an entire case can now pick and choose when they believe an attorney’s help will be the most beneficial. For example, a defendant in a debt collection lawsuit may choose to hire an attorney to attend mediation or handling the trial. Rather than the attorney devoting months to the case, the client hires the attorney for only a few days’ worth of work. 

A potential unintended consequence of Rule 1.041 is an increase is compartmentalization or specialization among of attorneys. The increase of specialization may be both a benefit and detriment to litigants. For instance, a number of Florida attorneys may start promoting their ability to defend any client at trial even upon short notice. An attorney such as this would rely on their knowledge of Florida Evidence Code to try to exclude evidence the plaintiff would need to prove their case. To the litigant faced with the proposition of having no attorney at their trial, or an attorney who has only a limited knowledge of their case, having an attorney who was only partially prepared would feel like a blessing. 

While some litigants will benefit from the new limited appearance rule, litigants will need to be careful in who they choose to hire for even a limited role. Going back to the example of a defendant in a debt collection lawsuit that hires an attorney to file a motion to dismiss, the litigant will assume that the limited appearance attorney will file a motion to dismiss tailored to their specific case; however, this most likely will not be what actually happens. It will be far more likely that attorneys will use form motions that only require changing the name of the defendant in a few key places. The attorney may have filed the same form motion in hundreds of cases with mixed success. Unfortunately, the current litigant will not know this without asking detailed questions of the limited appearance attorney before engaging them.

For more information or questions regarding the newly adopted Florida Rule 1.041, please contact BMD Litigation Attorney Ed Brown at or (904) 366-1516.

Corporate Transparency Act: Business Owners Must Act Now

The Corporate Transparency Act requires all reporting companies to file their Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report by year-end to avoid penalties. Companies formed before January 1, 2024, have less than six months to comply. Learn more in a client alert by BMD Member Blake Gerney.

New Medicare Billing Rules: What MFTs, MHCs, and IOP Providers Need to Know

Starting January 1, 2024, Medicare began covering services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) services. With this change, Medicare has become the primary payer for these services.

Chevron Doctrine No More: What the Supreme Court’s Ruling Means for Agency Authority

On June 28, 2024, the Supreme Court invalidated the Chevron doctrine, nearly 40 years after it first took effect.

Ohio Board of Pharmacy Update: Key Regulatory Changes and Proposals You Need to Know

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (BOP) has rescinded certain OAC rules (OAC 4729:5-18-01 through 4729:5-18-06), removing regulations on office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) clinics. The rescissions took effect on June 3, 2024. The BOP also published a new rule, OAC 4729:8-5-01, which sets explicit reporting guidelines for licensed dispensaries and became effective on June 7, 2024.

LGBTQIA+ Patients and Discrimination in Healthcare

In early April, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study outlining the challenges that LGBT adults face in the United States related to healthcare. According to the study, LGBT patients are “twice as likely as non-LGBT adults to report negative experiences while receiving health care in the last three years, including being treated unfairly or with disrespect (33% v. 15%) or having at least one of several other negative experiences with a provider (61% v. 31%), including a provider assuming something about them without asking, suggesting they were personally to blame for a health problem, ignoring a direct request or question, or refusing to prescribe needed pain medication.”