Grace and Isaiah proceeded to a non-jury trial in Florida. Grace did not prevail at trial and appealed the judgment to the appellate court without first filing a motion for rehearing in the trial court. Is this acceptable?

In Florida, an appeal may be filed after a non-jury trial even if the petitioner has not filed a motion for rehearing first.

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The key element in this question is the fact that Grace and Isaiah faced off in a non-jury trial.

Typically, Florida's rules of procedure require an issue to be heard by the trial court first. An issue that hasn't been heard by the trial court won't be heard by the...

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The key element in this question is the fact that Grace and Isaiah faced off in a non-jury trial.

Typically, Florida's rules of procedure require an issue to be heard by the trial court first. An issue that hasn't been heard by the trial court won't be heard by the appellate court. Consequently, motions for rehearing or new trial are common in order to ensure that all the issues a party wants to appeal are heard by the trial court—and are thus eligible to be heard by the appellate court, too.

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, however, create an exception for appeals based on the sufficiency of the evidence. Rule 1.530(e) states:

When an action has been tried by the court without a jury, the sufficiency of the evidence to support the judgment may be raised on appeal whether or not the party raising the question has made any objection thereto in the trial court or made a motion for rehearing, for new trial, or to alter or amend the judgment.

What the fact pattern here does not address is whether Grace is filing an appeal based on sufficiency of the evidence or for another reason. If Grace appeals the trial court's verdict based on the sufficiency of the evidence, Rule 1.530(e) permits her to do so without filing for rehearing first.

(Here, an appeal based on "sufficiency of the evidence" would typically be one that seeks to argue that the opposing party did not meet their burden of proof, but the judge ruled in their favor anyway. If this is a typical civil case, the burden of proof is by preponderance of the evidence. Grace's argument on appeal would be "even though Isaiah didn't prove it was more likely than not I was liable, the judge ruled against me.").

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