When appealing an agency order, the appealing party typically has a choice of where to file the appeal: the District Court of Appeal where the agency is headquartered or the District Court of Appeal where the party resides. § 120.68(2)(a), Fla. Stat. With most agencies headquartered in Tallahassee, most administrative appeals are heard by the First District Court of Appeal.
As is common with most legal matters, certain exceptions exist to this general venue rule. For example, orders issued by worker’s compensation judges must be appealed to the First DCA. § 440.25(5), Fla. Stat.; Fla. R. App. P. 9.180(b). Other exceptions also exist, which makes it important to check the statutes governing an agency before appealing the agency’s order.
If an exception does not apply, then having the right to choose where to file the appeal can potentially be advantageous. The First DCA could have precedent more favorable to your case, or the DCA where you reside could have better precedent.
Either way, before filing the appeal, it is important to navigate through the court decisions to determine whether one court provides more beneficial precedent than the other. Once the DCA is selected for the appeal, the notice of appeal is filed with both the agency and the DCA. Fla. R. App. P. 9.110(c). And the filing fee is submitted to only the DCA. Id.
Jonathan Taylor is an associate attorney with The Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. Mr. Taylor concentrates in the areas of Florida tax appeals and general administrative appeals. Mr. Taylor also volunteers with Guardian ad Litem to handle appellate matters. Mr. Taylor can be reached at 954-234-2884 or email@example.com.