Effective March 17, 2020, the Supreme Court has prohibited any in-person hearings except for essential and critical trial court proceedings. Hearings in the civil division do not qualify as essential or critical. Therefore, all in-person hearings in Division AE are suspended immediately.
There are important changes to the procedures for setting and conducting remote hearings in Division AE. The Chief Judge has recently amended Administrative Order No. 12.510-05/2020.11 – In Re Mitigating Measures In Response to COVID-19. AO No. 12.510-05/2020.11 now provides in part:
Non-essential proceeding outlined in section III.(1), below, will be held remotely and may not proceed in-person until further order of the Court. The Circuit has purchased Zoom licenses for judges and court staff, which allow the Court to host remote hearings via Zoom at no cost to the parties. Therefore, for the sake of consistency, all remote proceedings will be conducted via Zoom unless the litigants request otherwise.
In compliance with AO No. 12.510-05/2020.11, remote hearings shall now be conducted by Zoom, subject to a request from the litigants*. Please note that Zoom does not require a video appearance. While a video appearance is available, Zoom also allows participants to participate using only the audio feature.
All hearings, UMC and special set hearings shall be scheduled using Online Scheduling and Services System (OLS). All procedures and requirements concerning the setting of hearings remain in effect, including standards for reasonable notice and compliance with Local Rule 4. Your documents pertaining to scheduled hearings are to be uploaded thru E-courtesy using online service or by mail. Division AE does not accept emailed documents for hearings to the divisional e-mail.
Until further notice, remote hearings are mandatory. No party may object to the setting of a remote hearing because of a desire to conduct an in-person hearing at a later time.
Procedures for Remote Appearance at Hearings
- UMC hearings shall be conducted via Zoom. When a hearing is scheduled for UMC using Online Scheduling (OLS), a Zoom meeting ID will be automatically created by OLS and displayed on your OLS confirmation screen. Parties are to use this Zoom meeting ID to connect to the remote UMC hearing. There will be one Zoom meeting for all UMC hearings scheduled for the day (please make sure your microphones are muted until the Judge calls your case up). The party scheduling the hearing shall place the meeting identification information into their Notice of Hearing and shall take reasonable steps to insure that all parties are provided notice of the Zoom ID.
- Special Set Hearings (Evidentiary and Non-Evidentiary) shall be conducted via Zoom. When scheduling a special set hearing using Online Scheduling (OLS), the OLS system will automatically generate a Zoom meeting ID. The parties will use this ID to participate in the hearing at the scheduled time. The party scheduling the hearing shall verify that the box labeled "Schedule Zoom Meeting for this Hearing" is checked. The scheduling party shall also be responsible for providing all parties with the Zoom ID to allow participation in the hearing. Particular care should be given to make sure that pro se parties are provided accurate meeting information.
- Non-Jury Trials and Matters Set by the Court shall be conducted via Zoom. For any non-jury trial, or other matter set by the Court, the Court's Judicial Assistant will provide the parties with a Zoom ID for the scheduled trial or event by e-mail to all e-registered parties of record.
Oaths for any evidentiary hearing or non-jury trial shall be administered remotely in accordance with Supreme Court Administrative Order No. AOSC20-16.
*Parties wishing to appear remotely for any hearing using a video or telephonic service other than Zoom should shall send a request by e-mail (CAD-DivisionAE@pbcgov.org) at least 48 hours in advance of their hearing to the Court's Judicial Assistant for detailed instructions and may refer to the list of Court Approved Vendors.
Members of the press and other persons who are interested in listening to or monitoring remotely scheduled court events may contact the Court's Public Information Office, Debra Oats, at 561-355-4495 or 561-644-0054 to obtain access information.
Changes for Submittals of Orders
In compliance with the Florida Supreme Court’s November 1, 2019 Administrative Order (AOSC 19-74), all orders shall be signed electronically by the court. Division AE does not accept hard copies/emailed copies of Orders. Please resubmit your documents using the online services system for the Judge to review.
Emails to the Court
Division AE does NOT accept email transmission of copies of motions, memoranda, proposed orders, or other correspondence. Exceptions may be made when the Court specifically requests such a transmittal.
Division AE email address: CAD-DIVISIONAE@PBCGOV.ORG.
Do not submit orders to the divisional CAD email.
Please upload Orders for the Courts review through the online services system:
UMC/Special Set Hearings (scheduled online AND hearing dates are to be coordinated with all parties of record) We allow 15 - 60 minute specially set hearings in Division AE
Changes to Divisional Instructions and Order Setting Hearing
The Divisional Instructions for Division AE have been revised. There are several substantive changes to the Divisional Instructions. Attorneys and pro se litigants with cases pending in Division AE are urged to review the revised Divisional Instructions. Among other changes, the one special set hearing at a time requirement has been eliminated.
Additionally, significant changes have been made to the standard order setting specially set hearings. The order has been changed to reduce the volume of documents provided to the Court in advance of hearings. To the greatest extent possible, the parties are to avoid the filing of voluminous notebooks. In this regard, the parties are directed as follows:
- counsel may use the courtroom computers to complete and upload the order or
- counsel may submit the order through the online services system from their office within 24 hours after the hearing.
- ALL orders/dismissals/judgments, etc. should be submitted through the online services system without a signature line, as the orders will be signed electronically and will be e-filed and e-served. If the order being submitted is regarding a hearing held in open court, the date of that hearing and the parties in attendance must be included in the first sentence of the order. All orders/judgments are to be reviewed by all counsel of record prior to submission. Do not submit any orders in advance of an upcoming hearing.
- Orders submitted for cases involving pro se litigants must include language that the moving party will be serving the pro se party with a copy of the order via US Mail.
- NOTE: When setting a hearing online, the Order Setting Hearing is immediately uploaded for signature (be sure to hit the submit button 2 times). DO NOT DO A NOTICE OF HEARING FOR A SPECIAL SET HEARING. The online scheduling system does not allow you to hold dates, so you must be sure the date is coordinated with all parties prior to setting the hearing. All motions must be filed and docketed with the Clerk prior to scheduling a special set hearing. All orders must include the motion filing date.
- Orders/dismissals/judgments, etc. must be in WORD FORMAT with the case style & case number on the left margin. Do not use tables or macros with the case style or attorney names.
- To submit your order/judgment: Click the online services button at the top.
- Do not provide copies of cases cited in the pleadings. The court will review relevant case law in advance of the hearing electronically.
- If depositions are relied upon in connection with a motion, response or reply, only the relevant portions of the deposition should be supplied to the court, not the entire deposition. Affidavits supporting or opposing motions may be supplied in their entirety.
- Avoid the unnecessary attachment, or filing, of documents that are only tangentially related to the issue to be decided.
This is divisional news only. See the Divisional Instructions for more detailed information.
Emergency Hotline for the PBC Courthouse
The hotline number is (561) 355-6744 and is available during weather/emergency situations to provide information regarding courthouse closures.
Division AE does not post suspension dates. All UMC and special set hearings are scheduled online on available dates.