By: Terrie L. Didier If counsel failed to make an argument prior to entry of judgment, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 can be a lifeline to preserve the issue for review on appeal. Lack of preservation will be excused only in very limited circumstances, i.e., denial of due process or the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.
Rule 1.530 is also available to address a deficient order or judgment. If the matter was tried before a judge without a jury, a motion for rehearing to challenge the findings as not supported by competent, substantial evidence is not necessary. However, when a case is tried to a jury, any such challenge must be preserved through a motion for directed verdict and/or a motion for new trial.
Beware, though, even in a case tried before a judge without a jury, where the case involves multiple bases on which the trial court might have premised its decision, and the trial judge does not indicate during the hearing or in the order the basis for its decision, the appellate court may be unable to review the decision. The appellate court is likely to deem effective review impossible and remand the case for findings, even if such findings are not mandated by rule or statute. Such procedure delays resolution of the case and increases costs for the client. Keep in mind that some statutes require specific findings.