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The Honorable Vivian T. Corvo

COVID-19

Pursuant to Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order No.AOSC20-13, Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order No. AOSC20-15, and Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Administrative Order 2020-19,the following procedures will be implemented, effective immediately, in the Probate, Guardianship and Trust division in order to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the courts, court participants and the general public

  1. ALL probate, guardianship and trust proceedings shall be conducted by either teleconference, including those with witness testimony, or by written submission of memorandum. The party scheduling the hearing shall be responsible for setting up the teleconference with all parties, litigants and witnesses. All witness testimony shall be sworn, thus counsel will need to arrange for a notary public to be present with any witness testifying via teleconference.

  2. If a party or counsel do not wish to proceed as outlined above, or do not have the technical ability to do so, the proceeding shall be continued until after April 20, 2020 at the earliest, as this is a fluid situation and an unprecedented situation requiring modifications as new challenges arise.

  3. Hearings on Petitions for the Appointment of Emergency Temporary Guardians, Baker Act proceedings and hearings on Petitions for Emergency Temporary Injunctions for Protection Against Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults are authorized to proceed in person; however, it is the Court’s preference that these hearings also be considered for teleconference if possible.

  4. Telephonic hearings shall be scheduled one day per week, on Thursdays, from 9 am through 5pm in order to minimize the daily traffic in and out of the courthouse by the court and staff .This shall continue until further order of the court.

  5. If you currently have a hearing scheduled through April 20, 2020, you will be notified by email that your hearing has been cancelled and needs to be rescheduled pursuant to these new procedures.

  6. The court will continue to review and sign proposed orders uploaded to JAWS as per usual. Many probate, guardianship and trust matters that are routinely scheduled as in-person court proceedings can be avoided  altogether by providing the court and any opposing counsel, with electronic submission of documents required to enter an order on the matter, to the division email (probatediva@fljud13.org  ) The court will review the documentation, court file, objections, if any. And either reject the proposed order and request the matter be set for telephonic hearing or request counsel to upload the order to JAWS for signature.

 

On a personal note, I thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation during this unprecedented crisis. I recognize there may be situations requiring a modification to these procedures as we determine what does and does not work.

Ultimately my number one priority during this crisis is the health and well-being  of our court family, lawyers ,litigants, and witnesses.