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Procedures/Preferences

AT A GLANCE PREFERENCES

How to Notify Judge of an Emergency Motion Providing Judges with Lengthy Documents in Support of Hrg. Using JAWS for Electronic Signature Providing Copies of
Motions & NOH

File w/clerk and email motion to JA at CIRCIVDIVF@fljud13.org

Email (under 20 pages) or deliver hard copy at least 48 hours prior to hearing

Yes, Submit in PDF format Copies required. Email or  deliver hard copies of the Motion & NOH to JA within 72 hours of scheduling hearing or the hearing will be cancelled.

 for additional "At a Glance" Scheduling on JAWS  Click Here

***When emailing the Judge's chambers please copy all parties.**

*****If you try and are unable to find appropriate time on JAWS, please email the JA at the division email address CIRCIVDIVF@FLJUD13.ORG,  copying all sides, with a case name or number, amount of time needed and motion to be heard.***** 

****Hearings are held in hearing room 526 unless the Judge specifies otherwise.****

 

You can view documents filed in your case at the Clerk of Circuit Court Hillsborough Online Viewing of Electronic Records (HOVER) site. There is no fee to registerClick here to go to the HOVER site.


MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE:  UNLESS A PRE-TRIAL OR JURY TRIAL ARE REQUESTED THE PARTIES SHOULD CONTACT THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT (CIRCIVDIVF@FLJUD13.ORG) TO REQUEST TRIAL TIMES.

Click here for Mortgage Foreclosure Procedures


TELEPHONIC APPEARANCE

*The use of CourtCall® (or another comparable telephonic court appearance program) for telephonic hearings is mandatory unless excused by the court. CourtCall® is used by the court because the court has limited incoming call capability and coordination of multiple callers and calls on one or more cases can be a challenge. In addition, permitting counsel to appear by phone is a convenience to counsel and the litigant. The cost of counsel appearing in person at a hearing greatly exceeds the reasonable expense of CourtCall®. Nevertheless, the court will consider a request to be excused from using CourtCall® should such use be a hardship. An attorney or party asking to be excused from using CourtCall® must make a written request detailing why either counsel or counsel’s client are unable to participate in the CourtCall® program.

ORDERS - FORMAT AND PROCEDURE:

  1. All orders must state the subject matter of the order in the title. The text of the order must state the date on which the matter was heard by the court.
  2. No order should be submitted containing on the last page only the "Ordered at..." paragraph and signature line.
  3. Orders should comply fully with Administrative Order Number S-2016-061
  4. All uncontested orders should be submitted through JAWS using PDF format ONLY.  Word orders should only be submitted to chambers when instructed by the court. 
  5. In our continuing effort to go paperless, contested orders may be uploaded into JAWS only if they include a cover letter stating the objections by opposing counsel.

If uploading an order please make sure to include all parties e-mail addresses in the cc: section of the order. 

AFFIDAVITS IN PROOF OF CLAIM:

  1. Affidavits must comply with Fla. Stat. 90.803(6) and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.510(e) which states that sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in the affidavit must be attached.

MOTION PRACTICE:  

  1. Short Motions. (Uncontested or 6 minute hearings) See UNIFORM MOTION below. 
  2. Long Motions. (Arguments that will exceed 6 minutes) Use our online scheduling JAWS for 15 or 30 minute hearings. Hearings exceeding 30 minutes must be set through the Judicial Assistant by e-mailing her at CIRCIVDIVF@fljud13.org. Please include in the request: the case number, motion to be heard, and amount of time needed to complete the hearing.

DAILY HEARINGS (15 & 30 MINUTES)

  1. ONLY one hearing block may be reserved per case per day. DO NOT book back-to-back hearing blocks or the case will be removed from calendar.
  2. Send a copy of the motion and the notice of hearing to JA via email at CIRCIVDIVF@fljust13.org.
  3. No cross-noticing without prior approval by opposing counsel.
  4. For hearing time to exceed 30 minutes contact JA via email CirCivDivF@FlJud13.org.
  5. DO NOT schedule 15 minute hearing in a 30 minute time slot.

UNIFORM MOTION - Begins at 9:00 a.m.
No Discovery Disputes   

  1. No UMC hearing should be set on less than 48 hours notice.
  2. Motions will be allowed 3 minutes per side, not to exceed 6 minutes per case. No Discovery, Contempt or Evidentiary hearings on the UMC docket.
  3. Use JAWS to schedule hearings at times noted above.
  4. The original Notice of Hearing and Motion must be filed with the clerk. You must send a courtesy copy to the Judicial Assistant at CIRCIVDIVF@fljud13.org.
  5. It is not necessary to telephone the Judicial Assistant with the date chosen for UMC; please, however, notify the Judicial Assistant of cancelled a UMC hearing.
  6. Counsel or self-represented parties may appear by telephone for Uniform Motion Calendar hearings without a motion seeking permission so long as the opposing party or counsel does not object and the notice of hearing advises the court and the service list of the appearance by phone. 
  7. Telephone hearings. Generally, only out of circuit attorneys may appear telephonically by contacting *CourtCall® (888) 882-6878. If you are in circuit and need to appear by telephone and opposing counsel or opposing party does not object contact *CourtCall® (888) 882-6878.  
  8. Upon arriving for a UMC hearing please wait to be escorted to the hearing room by the bailiff. 
  9.  NO witnesses permitted.

UNIFORM DISCOVERY MOTIONS 

  1. No Discovery Motions should be set on less than 48 hours notice.
  2. Discovery related matters only.
  3. Motion hearings must be scheduled with JAWS.
  4. Motion hearings should not exceed 6 minutes (3 minutes per side equally between each party). Discovery motions requiring a hearing longer than 6 minutes must be set with Long Motions and the time requested via email to the Judicial Assistant at CIRCIVDIVF@fljud13.org.
  5. Telephone hearings. Generally, only out of circuit attorneys may appear telephonically by contacting *CourtCall® (888) 882-6878. If you are in circuit and need to appear by telephone and opposing counsel or opposing party does not object contact *CourtCall® (888) 882-6878.
  6. The Original Notice of Hearing and Motion must be filed with the clerk. Please send a courtesy copy to the Judicial Assistant via email at CIRCIVDIVF@fljud13.org.   

JURY AND NON-JURY

  1. Trial and Pre-trial dockets are available under the schedule tab of the Judge’s webpage, pre-trial times are available in JAWS. Once you have cleared the date and time please upload into JAWS the Order Setting Trial and Pre-Trial (Jury or Non-Jury) with the pre-trial date and time included. The form must be entirely completed or it will be rejected.  The Uniform Order Setting Trial and Pre-Trial must be received within 7 days of the scheduling of the pre-trial in JAWS or the matter will be removed from the court's docket.
  2. Counsel must sign a Joint Stipulation setting trial and state the number of days it will take to try the case, or schedule trial by Order after hearing.
  3. CONTINUANCE(S):  To continue a trial, the parties must comply with Rule 1.460, Fla.R.Civ.P., and schedule a hearing with the court.  Even if all parties stipulate to a continuance, a hearing must be set on the UMC docket.
  4. ALL MOTIONS IN LIMINE SHOULD BE FILED AND HEARD PRIOR TO THE PRETRIAL.  The time allotted for Pretrial conference does not allow enough time to argue anything but an uncomplicated motion in limine. As with all Motions in Limine in this division, the Parties are required to confer before the hearing to see if agreement can be reach on some, many or all of these evidentiary matters.  As with all Motions in Limine in this division, the Parties are required to confer before the hearing to see if agreement can be reach on some, many or all of these evidentiary matters. 
  5. SETTLEMENTSWritten notification must be provided to the Court when a case settles before the parties are excused from appearing at pretrial and/or trial.
  6. TRIAL EXHIBITS:  Trial Exhibits

* Beginning January 18, 2016, the use of CourtCall® (or another comparable telephonic court appearance program) for telephonic hearings is mandatory unless excused by the court. CourtCall® is used by the court because the court has limited incoming call capability and coordination of multiple callers and calls on one or more cases can be a challenge. In addition, permitting counsel to appear by phone is a convenience to counsel and the litigant. The cost of counsel appearing in person at a hearing greatly exceeds the reasonable expense of CourtCall®. Nevertheless, the court will consider a request to be excused from using CourtCall® should such use be a hardship. An attorney or party asking to be excused from using CourtCall® must make a written request detailing why either counsel or counsel’s client are unable to participate in the CourtCall® program.

THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL BENCH BAR SURVEY

1. Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding questions of procedures on pending matters? 
Yes, you may contact my Judicial Assistant. However, attorneys and legal staff should review the Division "F" webpage on the 13th Judicial Circuit website ( www.fljud13.org) and Division "F" procedures prior to calling. 
2. Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding the status of pending matters? 
Yes. If a matter has been taken under advisement and has been pending a ruling for an extended time, you may call my Judicial Assistant to see when the court may be ready to issue the ruling.
3. What can an attorney do to call attention to a pending motion of a particular importance to expedite a ruling? 
If a matter is believed by counsel to be of such importance as to require an expedited ruling, it should be brought to the court's attention in the motion itself or at the time of the hearing on the motion (if a hearing is conducted). If a matter is viewed as extremely important, a separate pleading can be filed notifying the court of this, explaining the significance and requesting an expedited ruling on the matter. 
4. How far in advance of a hearing should memoranda be forwarded to Chambers? 
Attorneys should apply a "thickness gauge." The more voluminous the materials the attorney wants the court to review, the greater the time period in advance of the trial or hearing the materials should be submitted. In any event, papers should arrive in chambers no later than two business days prior to a hearing. Pre-trial memoranda should be submitted 3 days prior to the Pre-Trial. Copies of key cases cited in a memorandum are appreciated. 
5. Should courtesy copies of pleadings, motions and attachments be forwarded to Chambers and, if so, how far in advance? 
Courtesy Copies of pleadings should be submitted with the notice of hearing. See answers to questions 4 above, as to when copies should arrive in chambers. 
6. Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to Chambers? 
Yes. See question 4 as to when copies should arrive in chambers. Cases cited to support a general proposition of law and not considered to be key cases, need not be submitted. 
7. Do you object to cases printed in Westlaw, Lexis Nexis or CD-ROM format rather than copied from a reporter? 
No, I do not objection. 
8. Is it appropriate to cite unpublished opinions in motions or memoranda? 
Yes, however, copies of such opinions must be provided to the court and opposing counsel. Also, counsel should indicate whether these opinions are final or under further appellate consideration. 
9. If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies which have portions highlighted by counsel? 
Yes. 
10. Is it appropriate to send notices, motions, memoranda, and draft orders via fax? 
Yes, as qualified hereafter. Only fax short motions and notices (approximately 5 pages or less.) Contact my Judicial Assistant for procedures and the correct fax number. 
11. Do you allow telephonic hearings and, if so, what is the maximum length? 
I allow telephonic hearings as authorized by the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration primarily for out of circuit attorneys. If you practice in the 13th Circuit and have a compelling reason why you need to appear by telephone, contact my Judicial Assistant to discuss the matter. 
12. Do you have any special procedures for handling emergency motions? 
Emergency motions may be submitted to my judicial assistant for review by the court. However, Emergency Motions filed with the clerk will be brought to the Judicial Assistant along with the file. If the motion requests, and is appropriate for, an ex parte order, the proposed order should accompany the motion. If the motion requests an emergency hearing, do not schedule the hearing until after the court has reviewed the motion and my judicial assistant contacts you. 
13. Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial and, if so, how far in advance should they be filed? 
To the extent possible, motions in limine should be filed and heard prior to the pretrial conference. Motions in limine not disposed of in this manner will be addressed at the pre-trial conference. 
14. In connection with temporary 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? 
On a temporary injunction, the court follows the procedures set forth in Rule 1.610(a), Fla. R. Civ. P. If an evidentiary hearing is conducted in accordance with Rule 1.610(a), the procedures applicable to a bench trial will be followed. 
15. What is your policy/practice regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution? 
All cases must be mediated prior to trial. 
16. Under what, if any, circumstances will you grant trial dates certain? 
Bench trial s are scheduled on the court's regular calendar for a date certain. Such requests should be made by motion and will be addressed on a case by case basis. 
17. If the case is not reached during the scheduled trial term, will the trial date be automatically rescheduled on your next trial docket? If no, what is your practice or procedure regarding rescheduling trials which were not reached on the trial docket? 
No. Trials not reached in a particular trial term are normally reset in the regular course of the court's then available trial dockets. If reset, that case will be given first priority on the reset trial docket (subject to priorities set by law.) The foregoing procedure is subject to exception upon the showing of special circumstances suggesting an earlier trial setting may be appropriate. 
18. Do you require trial briefs in bench trials? If so, what are the requirements? 
Trial briefs or memoranda should be submitted in accordance with CBP 10.1. A trial brief is most helpful if it sets out the elements of the cause of action upon which the plaintiff is proceeding, including any applicable statutory or case law; the burden of proof as to each element; a summary of the facts supporting (or opposing) each element; and a summary of the conclusions of law the party believes the court should reach. 
19. What are your requirements for trial briefs? 
No special requirement, however, key case law should be attached.
20. When are trial briefs due?
A minimum of three business days (preferably 5) prior to the trial. 
21. 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. However, in certain cases, where the court believes it will be useful, the parties will be asked at the conclusion of the trial to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusion of law, which should be submitted in printed and via e-mail in word format. 
22. In connection with opening statements, do you have any standard time limits imposed upon counsel? If yes, what are the time limits? 
The court does not have "standard time limits." This will be addressed at the pretrial conference. 
23. Can exhibits be used in opening statements? 
Yes. Specific exhibits intended for use in opening should be disclosed in advance. Sufficient time should be given to opposing counsel for possible objections and to have any objections considered and ruled on in advance of trial. 
24. Do you allow Plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements? 
No. 
25. Do you conduct evidentiary hearings on experts prior to trial? 
Only if an objection to the use of the expert is filed well in advance of trial. 
26. What, if any, procedural requirements do you have relative to the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions and demonstrative aids? 
Such exhibits and aids need to be provided to opposing counsel no later than the pretrial conference unless otherwise ordered by the court, so that any objection raised by the opposing side can be addressed well in advance of trial. 
27. What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? 
No speaking objections are permitted. Counsel should state "Objection," followed by the legal grounds stated in as few words as possible. Further argument may be made only if the court grants permission to approach the bench. Repeated speaking objections may be considered direct contempt of court. Counsel should not argue further after the court's ruling. 
28. 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, if the court has requested proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. it is preferred that they be submitted via email in word format. 
29. When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call Chambers to seek an immediate ruling? 
Yes, as further explained herein. Counsel for each of the parties to the deposition dispute should carefully review the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and the Guidelines for Professional Conduct (posted on the Florida Bar website) before placing the call. If the court is available, a brief hearing will be held. 
30. What is your policy/practice regarding JAWS? 
JAWS is available for the use of on-line scheduling of Case Management Conferences, Uniform Motions and three Attorney daily time periods available. (two 15 minutes times and one 30 minute times) 
31. What is your policy/practice re uniform motion calendar hearings? 
The court will convene a uniform motion calendar on a schedule published on the Division "F" webpage (See question 1). Uniform motion calendar is reserved for matters that can be heard in six (6) minutes or less, and disputes over the form of proposed orders. No Discovery, Contempt, or Evidentiary hearings are allowed on the UMC docket. Motions will be allowed 3 minutes per side, not to exceed 6 minutes per case. 
32. Do you have any advice for new/inexperienced lawyers? 
Become familiar with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and the Guidelines for Professional Conduct (posted on the Florida Bar website). Join an Inn of Court in your area of practice. Take advantage of any formal or informal monitoring opportunities available to you. Watch respected trial attorneys in trial so you can form good trial practice habits. Be well prepared for hearings and trial. Remember that a good reputation can be easily lost and a bad reputation is hard to overcome. Attend jury trials conducted by the judge with whom you are going to try your case so you can become familiar with the judge's procedures and personal preferences. Determine if the judge has a web page. If so, review it to learn about the judge's procedures and preferences.