During the Florida 2019 legislative session, changes were made to the jurisdictional amounts for matters in controversy applicable to both county and circuit courts in Florida state courts. On May 27, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed H.B./S.B. 337 into law but its effects won’t be felt until January 1, 2020.
Currently, the county court has exclusive jurisdiction of all actions at law, except those within the exclusive jurisdiction of the circuit courts, in which the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum of $15,000.00. Effective January 1, 2020 the sum will be increased to $30,000.00 for county court on all matters filed on or after January 1, 2020. However, this is not the end of the jurisdictional amounts in controversy changing. On January 1, 2023, the sum will increase again to $50,000.00.
So, what does this mean? Simply put, as of January 1, 2020, unless the circuit court has exclusive jurisdiction of a matter, the damages alleged in Complaints or admitted to in discovery will have to be more than $30,000.00 for the circuit courts in Florida to have jurisdiction. If not, then the county court will have jurisdiction. Similarly, on January 1, 2023, the damages alleged in Complaints or admitted to in discovery will have to be more than $50,000.00 for the circuit courts in Florida to have jurisdiction. This will require your attorney to appreciate the effect of these changes and understand the importance in defending your case in both the pleading and discovery phases of your case.
These details will ultimately determine which court has jurisdiction and who your judge will be in your case. Equally important, it could be a basis to move to dismiss or event limit the damages before the case even begins to move forward.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision. You need an attorney who is up to date on the current laws and rules of the courts and paying attention to these types of details when representing you in the state courts of Florida. The attorneys at Andrews, Crabtree, Knox & Longfellow, LLP are prepared to represent you in your case.