Somogyi v. Nevai, __ So.2d __ (Fla. 4th DCA Feb 22, 2006) In the probate context it is not unusual to have multiple orders entered prior to completion of the estate administration that are subject to appeal under Florida Probate Rule 5.100 and Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.110(a)(2). The Committee Note for the 1996 amendment to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.110(a)(2) recognizes this reality, and addresses it head on, stating in part as follows:
The addition of new subdivision (a)(2) is a restatement of former Florida Rule of Probate Procedure 5.100, and is not intended to change the definition of final order for appellate purposes. It recognizes that in probate and guardianship proceedings it is not unusual to have several final orders entered during the course of the proceeding that address many different issues and involve many different persons. An order of the circuit court that determines a right, an obligation, or the standing of an interested person as defined in the Florida Probate Code may be appealed before the administration of the probate or guardianship is complete and the fiduciary is discharged.
So every time the probate court issues an order, the attorney needs to immediately ask him or herself whether that order is subject to appeal under the special rule applicable to probate proceedings. The answer is not always clear (when in doubt, the prudent approach is to file the appeal and let the appeallate court determine the issue). In this case the question was whether an order denying a motion to dismiss was subject to appeal. The Fourth DCA said NO in the following one-paragraph opinion:
PER CURIAM. We grant appellee’s motion to dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The “Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Petition for Revocation of Portions of Will and Related Relief” does not finally determine a right or obligation of an interested person under Fla. R.App. P. 9.110(a)(2), where it merely denies a motion to dismiss and does not revoke the probate of the will. See Sanchez v. Masterhan, 837 So.2d 1161 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003). Dismissed.