Florida House Bill 7061 and Florida Senate Bill 1384 propose to raise the jurisdictional amount in controversy limit for county courts from $15,000 to $50,000. Not only does this change expand county court jurisdiction at the trial court level, it also means that circuit courts, rather than district courts of appeal, will have jurisdiction over appeals in cases up to $50,000. Currently, it almost never makes economic sense to appeal a county court decision because the amount in controversy is so low at $15,000. As such, Circuit Courts are rarely called upon to decide appeals.  However, if the amount in controversy limit is raised to $50,000, circuit courts will undoubtedly see many more appeals from county court decisions. As a result of the expanded appeals jurisdiction and appeal case load of the circuit courts, appeals practitioners will effectively have opinions from twenty active appeals circuits to reconcile when handling a county court appeal. Keep in mind that circuit court judges are less equipped to handle the expanded appeals case load as they already carry massive trial court case loads and do not have law clerks like appeals judges to perform the research and writing tasks required for appellate work.

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W Mason is an partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP. W practices in Fox Rothschild’s Litigation department in West Palm Beach, Florida. W is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar Association. W focuses his practice on construction and commercial litigation throughout Florida. You can reach W at (561) 804-4432 or wmason@foxrothschild.com.