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Appellate Briefs

The Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.210 sets forth the instructions and requirements for drafting appellate briefs. This article will review common appellate briefs: the initial brief, the answer brief, and the reply brief.

Initial Brief

An Initial Brief is to include the following:
  1. Cover sheet  The cover sheet of the Initial Brief shall state the name of the court, the style of the cause, including the case number if assigned, the lower tribunal, the party on whose behalf the brief is filed, the type of brief, and the name and address of the attorney filing the brief.
  2. A table of contents. The table of contents is to list the sections of the brief, including the headings and subheadings that identify the issues presented for review, with proper references to the pages on which each appears.
  3. A table of citations. The table of citations will list the cases listed alphabetically, statutes and other authorities. The table of citations will also list the pages of the brief on which each citation appears.
  4. A statement of the case and of the facts. The statement of the case and the statement of the facts is to include the nature of the case, the course of the proceedings, and the disposition in the lower tribunal. You must include references to the appropriate pages of the record or transcript in the statement of the case and facts.
  5. A summary of argument. The summary of argument is to be suitably paragraphed. The summary is to condense succinctly, accurately, and clearly the argument actually made in the body of the brief. It is important that the summary of argument not be a mere repetition of the headings under which the argument is arranged. The summary should typically not exceed two pages. It must never exceed five pages.
  6. An argument.  An initial brief must include an argument section. An argument shall be made with regard to each issue. An appellant must include citations to appropriate authorities. The argument section should also include the applicable appellate standard of review.
  7. A conclusion. The conclusion should not be more than one page. The conclusion should set forth the exact and precise relief being sought by the appellate.
  8. A certificate of service.
  9. A certificate of compliance for computer-generated briefs.

Answer Brief

The answer brief shall include the following:
  1. Cover sheet  The cover sheet of the Answer Brief shall state the name of the court, the style of the cause, including the case number if assigned, the lower tribunal, the party on whose behalf the brief is filed, the type of brief, and the name and address of the attorney filing the brief.
  2. A table of contents. The table of contents is to list the sections of the brief, including the headings and subheadings that identify the issues presented for review, with proper references to the pages on which each appears.
  3. A table of citations. The table of citations will list the cases listed alphabetically, statutes and other authorities. The table of citations will also list the pages of the brief on which each citation appears.
  4. A statement of the case and of the facts.  It is important to note that under the Appellate Rules, an Answer Brief does not need to include the statement of the case and of the facts if the statement of the case and facts set forth in the Initial Brief is deemed satisfactory. If the Initial Brief’s statement of the case and of the facts is not satisfactory, then an appellee should include a statement of the case and of the facts in the Answer Brief. If included in the Answer Brief, the statement of the case and the statement of the facts is to include the nature of the case, the course of the proceedings, and the disposition in the lower tribunal. You must include references to the appropriate pages of the record or transcript in the statement of the case and facts.
  5. A summary of argument. The summary of argument is to be suitably paragraphed. The summary is to condense succinctly, accurately, and clearly the argument actually made in the body of the brief. It is important that the summary of argument not be a mere repetition of the headings under which the argument is arranged. The summary should typically not exceed two pages. It must never exceed five pages.
  6. An argument. An initial brief must include an argument section. An argument shall be made with regard to each issue. An appellant must include citations to appropriate authorities. The argument section should also include the applicable appellate standard of review.
  7. A conclusion. The conclusion should not be more than one page. The conclusion should set forth the exact and precise relief being sought by the appellate.
  8. A certificate of service.
  9. A certificate of compliance for computer-generated briefs.

Reply Brief

The Reply Brief – which would be filed by the Appellant – will include the following:
  1. Cover sheet The cover sheet of the Reply Brief shall state the name of the court, the style of the cause, including the case number if assigned, the lower tribunal, the party on whose behalf the brief is filed, the type of brief, and the name and address of the attorney filing the brief.
  2. A table of contents. The table of contents is to list the sections of the brief, including the headings and subheadings that identify the issues presented for review, with proper references to the pages on which each appears.
  3. A table of citations. The table of citations will list the cases listed alphabetically, statutes and other authorities. The table of citations will also list the pages of the brief on which each citation appears.
  4. Argument  The Reply Brief is to include argument in response and rebuttal to arguments presented in the Appellee’s Answer Brief.
  5. A certificate of service.
  6. A certificate of compliance for computer-generated briefs.

Contact the Appellate Attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

There are numerous other requirements pertaining to the filing of briefs in appellate court. It is important to understand the appellate rules. The attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. are experienced in appeals. If you are facing an appeal or have questions as to whether you have an appeal, contact the appellate attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. today.

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