After the JCC in the case of Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Miller, No. 1D19-2826, 2019 (1st DCA Sep. 20, 2019) denied the E/C’s motion to enforce a settlement, the E/C appealed to the First DCA. The Court then issued a show cause order requiring the E/C to explain why the appeal should not be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, as the order on appeal was not a “final order.”
The Court noted that Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.180(b) addresses its jurisdiction over appeals in workers' compensation proceedings and limits that jurisdiction to final orders as well as just three specified types of nonfinal orders: those that adjudicate jurisdiction, venue, and compensability (but only if the order on compensability includes certain specified provisions). It further explained that “final order” is one that "constitutes the end of the judicial labor in the cause, and nothing further remains to be done by the Court to effectuate a termination of the cause as between the parties directly affected.”
The Court held that, because orders denying a motion to enforce a settlement agreement, result in the potential for additional judicial labor — the very antithesis of finality – such orders are not “final” and thus not subject to review by the First DCA.
A distinction was drawn between orders enforcing a settlement, which may be appealed, since such orders do end the case and foreclose any additional claims. However, if the JCC denies a party’s motion to enforce, whether it was filed by the claimant or EC, the order cannot be appealed and the case will remain open at the JCC level.