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Procedures/Preferences

SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS (PRO SE) AND ATTORNEYS MUST SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS

Self-Represented Litigants (Pro Se) can sign up for email notifications through https://hover.hillsclerk.com/ and e-file though https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/


STARTING AUGUST 2, 2021, THE COURT WILL HAVE IN PERSON HEARINGS

  1. USE OF REMOTE VIDEO TELECONFERENCING

    Pursuant to the administrative orders issued by both the Florida Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, the Court is holding in person hearings are being held in courtroom 304.


    The following matters MUST be held in person at the courtroom:

    1. Pretrial hearings
    2. Evidentiary hearings, (including final hearings)
    3. Non-Jury Trials
    4. Jury Trial

    The following matters MAY be held via remote video teleconferencing technology:

    1. Non-evidentiary motion hearings
    2. All matters previously scheduled as a remote hearing

    In matters that were previously scheduled to be held via remote video teleconferencing, parties may have an in person hearing by filing an amended hearing notice, as well as sending that notice to all parties, and emailing the amended notice to the Court’s division email at CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG, no less than five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing.


    Parties may request to attend a hearing using remote video teleconferencing, but such a request must be in writing and must be reasonably noticed to all other parties. Any party wishing to appear at a hearing using remote video teleconferencing must do so using both audio and video capabilities. A party who appears at a remote video teleconferencing hearing without the use of both video and audio capabilities during the hearing, must give good cause for failure to use both audio and video during the hearing. The Court may continue a hearing for parties who fail to comply with these requirements.


  2. THE COURT’S ZOOM ADDRESS

    The Court is using Zoom for remote teleconferencing hearing. In order to join the Court’s Zoom Meeting, user can use the following link https://zoom.us/j/4205308406 with the Meeting ID: 420 530 8406. If a party wishes to attend the hearing telephonically, on a smart phone, the user can use the “One tap mobile” feature by tapping the following number +17866351003,,4205308406# US (Miami), or +16465588656,,4205308406# US (New York).


    Or the party can dial directly using a dial key pad telephone and call the following number,


    +1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)


    and when prompted, input the meeting ID


    Meeting ID: 420 530 8406


    There is no password for the meeting.


    The use of dial-in telephone is discouraged; parties should connect using the zoom application and use both video and audio capabilities. A party who appears at a hearing using remote video teleconferencing technology but does not use both video and audio capabilities during the hearing, must give good cause for failure to use both audio and video during the hearing. The Court may continue a hearing for parties who fail to comply with these requirements.


    Participants should use headphones with a microphone, be courteous, and treat the hearing as if it were taking place in the courtroom; however, business casual attire is acceptable.


    Participants must keep themselves on mute when not speaking; the Court will mute disruptive parties, which may result in the party not being heard. To mute or unmute, the user can use the Zoom application, or if the user is attending telephonically, the user can push “*6” on the dial pad. Parties are responsible to review and follow the Court’s procedures.


    For more information, please go to https://zoom.us/  

     

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  4. SCHEDULING HEARINGS
    1. Scheduling trials
      1. Jury Trial and Non-Jury Trial Weeks

        The Court has designated one week a month for non-jury trials and one week a month for jury trials. Parties scheduling either non-jury or jury trials must also schedule the designated final pretrial conference one month prior to the trial date. Attendance to the pretrial conference is mandatory and in person.


      2. Unused jury trial or non-jury trial weeks

        Any “non-jury trial” or “jury trial” week whose trials have been cancelled, may be used for any type of motion, small claims, or landlord/tenant hearing, with appropriate scheduling and notice. Parties are encouraged to check with the division for cancellations.


      3. The procedure for scheduling a trial

        In order to schedule a jury trial or non-jury trial date, parties must send an email to the division’s email, CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG, requesting final pretrial and trial dates. ALL PARTIES MUST BE INCLUDED IN ANY EMAIL SENT TO THE COURT. The parties shall submit the desired trial month, and the judicial assistant (JA) will provide dates for the final pretrial hearing and the date of week for either the jury trial or non-jury trial. After the parties have selected the final pretrial and jury trial or non-jury trial dates, they will notify the JA via email of the agreed upon date. It is the responsibility of the parties to ensure that all JAWS notifications, hearing notices, trial orders, and any other paperwork are properly filed; and failure to do so may result in the trial hearing being stricken. The first day of the trial week at 9:00 a.m., should be the date and time used for all notices, subpoenas, trial orders, and any other documentation relating to scheduling the trial. On the first day of the trial week at 9:00a.m., the Court will hold a “trial call.”

    2. Procedure for Day of Trial

      After the parties have announced their intention to go to trial at the mandatory final pretrial date, the Court will hold a “trial call” during the morning of the first day of the non-jury or jury trial week. Attendance at the “trial call” is MANDATORY. Parties not at “trial call” will have the trial stricken from the trial calendar and may face other sanctions. At the “trial call,” the Court will take note of the parties ready for trial. The Court will call the parties, starting from earliest filed case and proceed to the latest filed case. Parties with older cases should expect to have their case tried first and shall be ready to try the case at the start of the trial week. All other parties may be on stand-by status, and do not have to remain at the courthouse after “trial call”, but must give the JA their cellular phone numbers, and they must be ready to be at the courthouse within 45 minutes or risk having their trial passed over. The JA will call the parties for the proceeding trial as soon as closing arguments have started in the previous trial. Witnesses do not to attend the “trial call”, however, witness are expected to be ready to testify when they are called by their respective parties. Any case that is scheduled for a trial week but does not get tried during that trial week, will be continued to the following trial period.


    3. Hearings other than trials
      1. Hearings are to be scheduled through Judicial Workflow Automated System (JAWS)

        Attorneys are encouraged to use the JAWS system to schedule hearings with the Court. Parties are discouraged from contacting the Court’s judicial assistant to set hearings. Parties without access to JAWS may contact the Court’s judicial assistant, according to procedure, to schedule a hearing. Parties must agree on a time and date prior to setting a hearing in JAWS.


      2. 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, & 1 hour hearings

        Attorneys:  All matter requiring 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 1 hour must be scheduled through JAWS. If additional dates are needed, please email the Judicial Assistant (JA) and include ALL parties.

        Pro se Litigants: E-mail the JA with opposing side copied or call the Judicial Assistant if email is not available.


      3. Hearings exceeding 1 hour

        All hearings in excess of one (1) hour must be approved by the court. Please email your request to the JA with opposing counsel copied, as indicated in the Court’s procedures, or file a motion. The JA can be reached at the Division’s email, which is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG.


      4. Notice of Hearing

        The moving party must file a notice of hearing within forty-eight (48) hours of calendaring a hearing in JAWS. For any hearing that is calendared less than forty-eight (48) hours from the scheduled hearing time, a notice of hearing must be filed immediately, and the moving party must email the Court and the non-moving parties a copy of that notice. Failure to comply may result in the hearing being stricken.


      5. Scheduling of hearings within thirty (30) days of  filing

        Any motion that requires a hearing, the moving party must calendar the hearing within thirty (30) days of filing the motion, although the hearing does not need to take place within thirty (30) days, only the act of scheduling must be done within thirty (30) days. If no hearing has been scheduled after the thirty (30) days from the motion being filed, the Court may presume that no hearing is needed. Additionally, thirty (30) days after the motion has been filed, the Court may presume that the non-moving will not file a response, and the Court may rule on the motion or otherwise the Court may strike the motion for lack of prosecution

      6.  

      7. Parties cannot agree on heating date  and Unilateral scheduling
        1. Parties cannot agree on heating date

          If after the parties have exhausted all efforts to agree to a hearing date and time, the parties may email the Court’s JA with opposing counsel copied, as indicated in the Court’s procedures, to inform the JA that the parties cannot agree upon a date and time and that they are in need of the Court to set a date and time for the hearing. The Court will set the hearing at its own convenience.


        2. Unilateral Scheduling
          1. Unilateral scheduling of a hearing by one party is permitted. Before unilaterally setting a hearing, the moving party must make at least three (3) documented attempts to communicate with the non-moving party in order to coordinate a date and a hearing time with the non-moving party.
          2.  

          3. A notice of hearing must be filed, and it must contain a designation as a unilaterally set hearing and a description of the nature of the scheduling communication between the moving party and the non-moving party.
          4.  

          5. The Court will not hear unilaterally set hearings prior to ninety (90) calendar days from the filing of the notice of hearing.

     

  5. CANCELLING HEARINGS
    1. Cancelling hearings within 24 hours of hearing

      The moving party wishing to cancel a hearing must e-file the Notice of Cancellation. Next, the party should remove the scheduled hearing from JAWS, and email the JA a copy of the Notice of Cancellation. (PLEASE NOTIFY THE COURT ASAP IF HEARING TIME IS NOT NEEDED SO THAT THE TIME MAY BE UTILIZED FOR ANOTHER CASE). The Judicial Assistant can be reached at the Division’s email, which is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG .

    2.  

    3. Cancelling hearings prior to 24 hours before the hearing

      The scheduling party can cancel through JAWS. If hearing was scheduled via e-mail, notice of cancellation must be emailed. The Division’s email is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG .

    4.  

    5. Who may cancel hearings

      A litigant may cancel a hearing that they set according to the procedure. A litigant may not cancel a hearing set by another party without a Court order or mutual agreement of the parties. Litigants SHALL NOT CANCEL any hearing noticed by the Court without a Court order. Parties are expected and required to attend all hearings noticed by the Court unless otherwise ordered, and failure to do so may result in sanctions. Once set, trials and final hearings are not to be cancelled or continued without leave of court.

    6.  

    7. Trials/final hearings will not be cancelled or continued without a written order from the court.

      If a party wishes to continue a trial or final hearing that has been previously set, the party requesting the continuance must confer with the opposing party. The party shall then file a motion detailing the reasons for the continuance and a written proposed order, which includes the date for the new proposed trial or final hearing date for the Court’s consideration, the trial or final hearing will remain on the Court’s calendar, until the Court signs the order continuing the trial. Orders that do not include language that the parties conferred about the continuance and the outcome of that conference, the old date of trial, and the proposed new date of trial will be rejected. MOTIONS TO CONTINUE A TRIAL OR FINAL HEARING FILED WITH FORTY-EIGHT (48) HOURS OF THE TRIAL OR FINAL HEARING MUST HAVE A HEARING PRIOR TO THE CONTINUANCE BEING GRANTED.

    8.  

    9. Cancelling trial and pre-trial due to settlement 

      If the case has settled, one of the parties must e-mail the JA with the documentation and upload an order of cancellation to the e-portal system.

     

  6. PROCESS FOR EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS VIA VIDEO CONFERENCING:

    Evidentiary Hearings via video conferencing technology is not permitted without leave of Court and good cause for evidentiary hearings set before August 2, 2021.

    1. All documentary/ photographic exhibits must be scanned and submitted to the e-filing portal, and emailed to the Court and opposing counsel five (5) days prior to the hearing. The submission shall be in .pdf format, and the submitter may submit multiple, clearly labeled exhibits in a single filing, or in multiple filings. All documentary/ photographic exhibits must be labeled with the party’s designation and either the exhibit number or letter, i.e. “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 1 or Defendant’s Exhibit A.” The Division’s email is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG.
    2. All video evidence must be submitted via email to the Court and opposing counsel five (5) days prior to the hearing. The file should be named with the case name and case number and party’s designation and exhibit number or letter, i.e. “19CC12345 JONES v Smith Plaint Ex 2”. The Division’s email is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG. A notice of filing shall be filed to the e-filing portal, containing the exhibit’s designation and the file name.
    3. If the file size is over is “10MB,” the sender may submit the file using a “cloud service” like “dropbox” to the Court’s email address.
    4. Parties must file an exhibit list and witness list. The witness list must have the names of the witnesses who will testify; generic witness lists will not be accepted.
    5. Witnesses who plan to testify, must appear at the hearing through video, and must be prepared to present government issued identification that has the witness’s name and photo.
    6. Any party who wishes to introduce physical evidence must coordinate with the Court and the opposing party five (5) days prior to trial.
    7. Failure to comply may result in exclusion of witnesses or evidence, or may result in resetting the hearing.
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  8. COMMUNICATION WITH THE COURT

    Parties must be mindful to avoid ex parte communication or other type of one party communication with the Court. Direct communication with the Court is primarily for scheduling purposes. The Court or the JA CANNOT give legal advice. The preferred method of communication with the Court is through email, at the Division’s email address, CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG Parties are not to communicate with the Court outside the presence of the opposing party, unless authorized by law or a previous court order. Parties emailing the Court must include the opposing party in the email, unless authorized by law or previous court order. Telephonic communication is reserved primarily for emergencies, and litigants without access to JAWS or the e-portal system. Parties who wish to communicate substantive issues must do so by filing a motion of other pleading and providing notice to other interested persons.


    Parties may contact the Clerk of Court for questions regarding document filing at 813-276-2029.


  9. MATERIALS FOR THE COURT’S CONSIDERATION:
    1. Parties are encouraged to submit legal authority or any other material that will aid the Court. These materials have traditionally been mailed to the Court in a “binder.” Instead of mailing the material to the Court’s chambers, parties should email “binders” to the Court in .pdf format, and upload the “binder” into the e-portal system.
    2. Any party, who wants the Court to consider any information, must submit that information to the e-portal, or submit it to both the Court and the opposing party, unless the Court has directed otherwise. The Division’s email is CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG .
    3. The Court will consider any submission that is submitted five (5) days prior to the hearing. Any submission that is sent to the Court less than five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing, may not be considered by the Court, and may be stricken.
    4. The Court will not consider submission submitted within twenty-four (24) hours of the scheduled hearing without prior Court approval. If the file size is over “10MB,” the sender may submit the file using a “cloud service” like “dropbox” to the Court’s email address.
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  11. SUBMISSION OF PROPOSED DOCUMENTS (PROPOSED ORDERS)

     

    1. PROPOSED DOCUMENTS (PROPOSED ORDERS)

      Due to the volume of case that this division receives, the Court requires the parties to submit PROPOSED ORDERS, to the Court through the statewide e-portal https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/. Both attorneys and self-represented litigants (pro-se) may use the statewide e-portal system to file. For more information, please visit https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/authority/trainingvideos.html.

    2.  

    3. AGREED PROPOSED DOCUMENTS (PROPOSED ORDERS) AND EX-PARTE PROPOSED DOCUMENTS (PROPOSED ORDERS)

      Unless otherwise stated, ALL PROPOSED ORDERS MUST BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY VIA the statewide e-portal, IN .PDF FORMAT, attorneys must mail conformed copies to any pro se Litigant who is not on the email list. All PROPOSED ORDERS submitted to the Court must be ready for signature unless otherwise directed by the Court. The Court will presume that any submitted PROPOSED ORDER is ready for signature.

    4.  

    5. DISPUTED PROPOSED ORDERS

      In the event that, after a hearing, the parties cannot agree upon single PROPOSED ORDER to submit to the Court via the e-portal system, the parties may send separate, disputed PROPOSED ORDER to the Division’s email at CIVDIVL@FLJUD13.ORG. The subject line of the email should include the words, “DISPUTED PROPOSED ORDER” with the case caption and case number. Disputed PROPOSED ORDERS should be submitted in “word” format. All emails to the Court must be sent to all parties involved. PROPOSED ORDERS submitted to the e-ported are presumed to be agreed upon by all parties.

     

  12. ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES:

    Parties may stipulate to a motion. E-file the motion and upload an AGREED ORDER to the work queue through the statewide e-portal.


    If both sides agree, uncomplicated and/or discovery motions may be e-filed with the clerk as well as a response and argument without hearing.


    Parties may agree to waive appearance at initial pre-trial hearing by e-filing a stipulation and uploading an order approving same to the statewide e-portal. Failure to abide by these procedures may result in a default judgment or an order of dismissal for lack of prosecution.


    **TELEPHONIC APPEARANCE IS NOT PERMITTED FOR FINAL PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE PRIOR TO TRIAL OR DISMISSAL DOCKET.