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West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

Uncategorized • Jul 26, 2020
post about West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

What is a petition for certiorari? How are petitions for certiorari different than appeals in Florida? When can you file a petition for certiorari in your Florida probate lawsuit? What must you demonstrate to invoke the relief of certiorari in a trust and estates lawsuit? When should you seek certiorari review in a West Palm Beach trust case?

Certiorari Review and Florida Estate Lawsuits

During Florida trust litigation, or during a probate lawsuit, you may disagree with a trial court’s order.Can you do anything about the order while the lawsuit is still going on, or do you have to wait to file an appeal? Generally, you can only appeal final orders. However, there are exceptions.

In limited circumstances, your Florida trust lawyer can seek certiorari review of an order from the appellate court. Certiorari review only becomes an option when, during litigation, the trial court “departs from the essential requirements of law.”

There are three requirements that must be demonstrated to invoke the relief of certiorari: 1) you have to establish a departure from the essential requirements of the law 2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the case 3) the injury can’t be corrected on post-judgment appeal.

Basically, you must prove that the trial court made a legal error that caused irreparable harm and, therefore, you need a remedy for it now.

Invoking the Relief of Certiorari

Invoking the relief of certiorari is difficult and your Palm Beach probate lawyer should be experienced and knowledgeable about the process. You may want to consider hiring a West Palm Beach law firm with both skilled trial lawyers and experienced appellate attorneys.

Although filing a petition for certiorari relief is different than filing an appeal, it’s helpful to have an appellate attorney involved in the case. Particularly, it is beneficial to have an appellate attorney who is familiar with navigating the District Courts of Appeal, and who is comfortable with the judges and procedures at the Florida appeals courts.

A partner at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board-Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice since June 1, 2009. This designates Mr. Hauser as an expert and specialist in Florida appeals.

Petition for Certiorari Review in a Florida Trust Case

If you are involved in a Florida estate or trust lawsuit at the trial level, and you need help from the appellate court right away, you should consider reading Hett v. Barron-Lunde. This January 22, 2020 opinion is from the Second District Court of Appeal (DCA).

Here, a Florida trustee seeks certiorari review of a discovery order compelling the disclosure of personal financial information, nonparty trust records, and attorney-client privileged information.

The appellate court explains that “an order compelling the production of documents by a nonparty is reviewable by certiorari because he or she has no adequate remedy by appeal.” Also, certiorari is an appropriate method for seeking review of an order compelling information that is allegedly protected by attorney-client privilege.

The trial court in this Florida trust case departed from the essential requirements of law when it ordered the disclosure of a nonparty’s financial information without considering any evidence regarding its relevance. The trial court did not hold an evidentiary hearing to determine the relevancy of the trust documents.

Also, the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law when it ordered the disclosure of documents, that the trustee and her lawyers claimed to be privileged, without conducting an in camera inspection. The in camera inspection should have been done to determine whether privilege applied.

If you believe that the trial court in your Florida probate or trust lawsuit has departed from the essential requirements of law, talk to your Palm Beach inheritance lawyer about a petition for certiorari.

If you would like to interview an experienced probate litigator or appellate lawyer for your Florida civil lawsuit, call (561)514-0900 Ext.101.