Should the Motion to Disqualify Be Ruled on Immediately on Presentation to the Court ?
In Fuster-Escalona v. Wisotsky, 781 So. 2d 1063 (Fla. 2000), the Court considered whether the failure of a judge to rule on a disqualification motion for more than one year provided a basis for a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.420 (e).
In beginning its analysis, this Court noted that it has always "strictly applied" the procedural requirements of rule 2.160(f).
This Court then went on to explain the meaning behind the immediacy requirement of rule 2.160(f):
The rule provisions concerning "immediate" resolution have been accorded their plain meaning, which the Court has explained requires action that is "prompt" and "with dispatch." Livingston v. State, 441 So. 2d 1083, 1085 (Fla. 1983).
Our comment on the adoption of rule 2.160 emphasizes a trial judge's responsibility to act quickly on such a motion: "We find the motion to disqualify should be ruled on immediately following its presentation to the court." Florida Bar re Amendment to Fla. Rules of Judicial Admin., 609 So. 2d 465, 466 (Fla. 1992).
When a trial court fails to act in accord with the statute and procedural rule on a motion to disqualify, an appellate court will vacate a trial court judgment that flows from that error. Id. at 1065.