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You are here: Judicial Directory > Martha J. Cook > Procedures/Preferences

Procedures/Preferences

DAILY 15 & DAILY 30 MINUTE HEARINGS

  1. Hearings must be scheduled through JAWS. Court will review file online prior to the hearing.
  2. Telephonic appearances are only permitted for out of circuit attorneys with prior approval from the JA. The maximum length for telephonic appearances is 30 minutes.
  3. Do not cross notice a hearing without first obtaining the permission of the scheduling attorney; cross noticed hearing will only be heard if time permits.
  4. In order to cancel a hearing please file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and email a copy of the notice to divisiong@fljud13.org
UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR DOCKET (UMC)
  1. Hearings must be scheduled through JAWS.
  2. Attorneys may not appear telephonically on UMC calendar unless out of county and call has been arranged with JA.
  3. No evidentiary matters will be heard.
  4. No testimony will be taken.
  5. The UMC hearings are limited to approximately 5 minutes.

COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE

  1. Hearings must be scheduled through JAWS.
  2. Attorneys may not appear telephonically.

TRIAL & PRETRIAL DATES (PRETRIAL) (see schedule tab)

  1. Set by joint stipulation or by order of the Court.
  2. Pretrial conferences will be heard in chambers, Edgecomb Courthouse, Room 511 beginning at 9:15 a.m. and will be held at fifteen (15) minute intervals.
  3. Pretrial conferences can be scheduled and canceled through JAWS
  4. After the pretrial conference is scheduled please complete and submit the Uniform Order Setting Case for Trial and Pre-Trial (Jury Trial) (Revised 9/22/14) or Orders should be submitted through JAWS to the judge.
  5. All motions must be filed and heard prior to the pretrial conference.
  6. As to trial continuances, the parties must comply with Rule 1.460, Fla. R. Civ. P. and schedule a hearing with the Court even when all parties stipulate to a continuance. These hearings should be set on a UMC docket.

OTHER

*Please do not call JA regarding status of orders.

If you wish to set a hearing that requires more than 1 hour, please call JA.

It is not necessary to contact the JA when canceling a case unless the cancellation is less than 24 hours to the scheduled hearing; if within the 24 hour window, please email a Notice of Cancelation to divisiong@fljud13.org All cancellations should be filed through JAWS and copy of the cancellation notice sent to the Clerk of Circuit Court.
You may check and confirm a hearing through JAWS, it is not necessary to call JA.

GENERAL PREFERENCES

  1. Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding questions of procedures on pending matters?
  2. Yes, if the question pertains to a procedure that is not addressed in the applicable rules of procedure or administrative orders.
  3. Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding the status of pending matters?
  4. Yes, if a matter has been pending a ruling for 30 days or more, it is appropriate to request a status conference. Prior to contacting Chambers, please verify docketing for the most current case information through the Clerk of Circuit Court at www.hillsclerk.com
  5. What can an attorney do to call attention to a pending motion of a particular importance to expedite a ruling?
    The request for an expedited ruling must be made in the written motion, with specificity, or at a hearing on the motion.
  6. How far in advance of a hearing should memoranda be forwarded to Chambers?
    At least 48 hours (2 business days).  INCLUDE CASE LAW with PLEADINGS
  7. Should courtesy copies of pleading and motions be forwarded to Chambers and if so, how far in advance?
    No, the Court reviews all files online.
  8. Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to Chambers?
    Only if there is an accompanying memoranda of law.
  9. Do you object to cases printed in Westlaw of digital format rather than copied from a reporter?
    No.
  10. Is it appropriate to cite unpublished opinions in motions or memoranda?
    Yes, however copies of any unpublished opinion should be provided to the court and opposing counsel.
  11. If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies which have portions highlighted by counsel?
    Yes, provided that the copies provided to opposing counsel are also highlighted.
  12. Is it appropriate to send notices, motions, supporting memoranda and draft orders via fax?
    No, so not send any facsimiles to the Court.
  13. Do you allow telephonic hearings and if so, what is the maximum length?
    Yes, as provided for in the Rules of Judicial Administration please call JA to obtain pre-approval; the maximum length for hearing is 10 minutes. No telephonic hearings are permitted on the regular Uniform Motion Calendar docket unless counsel is out of county and obtained permission.
  14. Do you have any special procedures for handling emergency motions?
    A copy of the emergency motion with supporting affidavits, and attachments must be submitted to my chambers for consideration. If the motion is deemed an     emergency, a hearing will be scheduled within 3-7 days, calendar permitting.
  15. Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial and, if so, how far in advance should they be filed and set for hearing?
    Yes, motions in limine may be filed and heard at or before the pre-trial conference.
  16. In connection with preliminary injunctions, do you limit the hearing to argument of counsel; and if not, what are your procedures for the receipt of evidence during hearing on a preliminary injunction?
    Hearings on preliminary injunctions, with notice, are not limited to argument of counsel. Any evidence that conforms to the evidence code may be admitted.
  17. What is your policy/practice regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution?
    Mediation is required prior to any trial and it may not be waived by the parties. Only the Court may excuse the requirement to attend mediation.
  18. Will the Court grant trial dates certain?
    Trials are only set during a trial term, which may be one or two weeks.
  19. If the case is not reached during the scheduled trail term, will the trial date be automatically rescheduled on your next trial docket? If no, what is your practice of procedure regarding scheduling trials which were not reached on the trial docket?
    No. A new trial date is scheduled based upon the Court's trial schedule and the availability of counsel and the parties.
  20. Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
    No.
  21. Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
    No.
  22. What are your requirements for trial briefs?
    If trial briefs are submitted, they should include legal argument and copies of cases cited.
  23. When are trial briefs due?
    Trial briefs shall be filed at least 48 hours (2 business days) prior to the      commencement of the trial.
  24. Do you require prepared findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials? If yes, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
    No, they are not required. However, in many cases they are helpful to the Court. Proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law should be filed at least 48 hours (2 business days) prior to the trial.
  25. When do you require parties to file proposed jury instructions?
    Proposed jury instructions shall be filed on the Friday preceding the first day of jury trial.
  26. In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges?
    Yes, unless the parties stipulate to a lesser number of peremptory challenges.
  27. In connection with opening statements, do you have any standard time limits imposed upon counsel? If yes, what are the time limits? It depends on the case, but in most cases 30 to 45 minutes is sufficient.
  28. Can exhibits be used in opening statements? A limited number of demonstrative aids may be used in opening statements, with the Court’s prior approval.
  29. Do you allow Plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements? No.
  30. Do you conduct evidentiary hearings on experts prior to trial? Yes, upon motion of a party.
  31. What, if any, procedural requirements do you have relative to the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions and demonstrative aids?
    The use of these items is governed by the civil rules of procedure, rules of evidence and local rules of this circuit.
  32. What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
    No speaking objections are permitted.
  33. Do you permit jurors to ask questions either orally or in writing?
    Jurors may submit written questions which are then reviewed by the Court and all counsel. No oral questions are permitted.
  34. Do you allow jurors to take notes during trial?
    Yes.
  35. Should jury instructions also be submitted to Chambers on a USB?
    A hard copy and computer USB of the jury instructions should be provided to the Court on the first day of trial.
  36. Should findings of fact and conclusions of law filed in connection with a civil bench trial also be submitted to Chambers on a computer disk?
    Yes.
  37. When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call Chambers to seek an immediate ruling?
    Yes, if the dispute constitutes an emergency; otherwise file a motion.
  38. Do you have any special procedures during voir dire? No.
  39. Do you have any special procedures for back striking?
    Back striking of potential jurors is allowed until the jury is sworn.