AF Divisional Instructions

Important Changes:

There are important changes to the procedures for setting and conducting remote hearings in Division AF. 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 clarifications and provisions set forth below UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. 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, including Uniform Motion Calendar ("UMC") hearings and all 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 and by mail. Those documents MUST ALSO be mailed to the Court in order that the Court receives them five (5) business days before the scheduled hearing. On rare exceptions the Division will accept e-mailed copies of documents, however, you must obtain permission prior to sending documents in that fashion.

Please continue reading for further details and instructions.

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.

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.


The Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) for Civil Division "AF" will only be held Tuesday - Thursday at 8:30am - 9:30am. There will be no Monday UMC docket and no UMC docket on calendar call days;  9/25/2020; 11/03/2020; 12/16/2020.


Delivery of Documents

All paperwork for the Judge's review (courtesy copies of notice of hearings, memos of law, briefs, responses, case law, etc..) must either be sent to the Judge's office via U.S. regular mail, FedEx, UPS, or via hand-delivery (to the 1st floor drop box) in the main courthouse. All courtesy copies to be reviewed by the Court,  has to be received in-house no later than 5 business days before the hearing scheduled. Our office does not accept the foregoing via e-mail. (If the Court does not receive courtesy hard copies in Chambers for the hearing scheduled, the hearing WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.)

Civil Division "AF" online scheduling is for UMC Hearings and SPECIAL SET HEARINGS ONLY (15 or 30 minute hearings). Please visit the the Online Services to schedule a special set hearing. Beginning April 15, 2020 ALL UMC hearings (5 minutes or less) are TO BE scheduled via the online scheduling system.

On rare exceptions the Division will accept e-mailed copies of documents, however, you must obtain permission prior to sending documents in that fashion.

UMC Hearings

STARTING 4/15/2020- ALL UMC HEARINGS ARE TO BE SCHEDULED THROUGH THE 15th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT'S ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM (OLS) and conducted via ZOOM - PLEASE READ BELOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Judge Kastrenakes' Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) is Tuesday - Thursday and begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 9:30 a.m. All hearings are held in Courtroom 9D.

All non-evidentiary motions, uncontested motions, etc.. can be set for a 10 minute hearing (5 minutes per side) that DO NOT require testimony. UMC hearings are scheduled through the 15th Judicial Circuit's Online Scheduling System by the moving party, picking any Tuesday - Thursday that the Court is not suspended and that the parties (opposing counsel and/or pro se party) agree on. The attorney/moving party setting the hearing should ALWAYS clear the date chosen with opposing counsel/opposing party and immediately notify opposing counsel and/or the pro se party and Judicial Assistant if the hearing is cancelled and/or reset. (If the Court does not receive courtesy hard copies in Chambers for the hearing scheduled, the hearing WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.)

The original Motion and Notice of Hearing must be filed at least 5 working days in advance of the UMC hearing date, with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, MUST be uploaded when setting hearing and a courtesy hard copy MUST be sent to opposing counsel and Judge Kastrenakes' Judicial Assistant (send to the Judicial Assistant via U.S. regular mail - courtesy copies must be sent U.S. regular mail, NOT e-mail). The Judicial Assistant will NOT be printing documents for parties unless otherwise ordered by the Judge.

If a matter has been scheduled on the UMC docket and it was resolved, re-set or cancelled, Parties need to make sure to cancel the Hearing Online. If no one appears at a scheduled UMC hearing, the Court assumes that the issue was resolved between the parties or a conflict exists, and that the Motion will be reset for hearing if need be. Please DO NOT CALL the Judicial Assistant to Cancel the UMC for you. However, please do contact the Judicial Assistant to advise that the hearing has been resolved/ reset or cancelled.

The judicial assistant strongly encourages you to check Judge Kastrenakes' suspension dates before scheduling any UMC hearing. View the Suspension Calendar.

Please be advised that motion for attorney's fees; motion for summary judgment and any evidentiary motion should not be set and/or addressed with the Judge at uniform motion calendar. These types of motions must be set for a special set hearing.

Motions that Require a 15 or 30 Minute Hearing

Online Scheduling

These are special set hearings that MUST be scheduled through the 15th Judicial Circuit's Online Scheduling System (OLS).

These are motions that cannot be heard on the Uniform Motion Calendar because they require testimony and are longer than 10 minutes in duration. The moving attorney shall coordinate a mutually agreeable date and time with opposing counsel/pro se party and shall prepare the appropriate Notice of Hearing for said hearing. The original Motion and Notice of Hearing must be filed at least 5 working days in advance of the special set hearing date, with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, and a courtesy copy MUST be sent to opposing counsel and Judge Kastrenakes' Judicial Assistant (send to the Judicial Assistant via U.S. regular mail - courtesy copies must be sent U.S. regular mail, to be received in Chambers 5 business days before the special set hearing, NOT e-mail). If courtesy copies are not received by the court at least 5 days before the hearing date, the motion scheduled will be DENIED by the Court. On rare exceptions the Division will accept e-mailed copies of documents, however, you must obtain permission prior to sending documents in that fashion.

You CANNOT cancel a special set hearing once the hearing date and time has been secured. The ONLY way a special set hearing can be cancelled (absent an extreme emergency) is if the Motion has been RESOLVED and/or WITHDRAWN with Prejudice. The judicial assistant can cancel a special set hearing ONLY after the appropriate motions for continuation/ cancellation have been heard by the court. If the special set motion has been resolved and/or withdrawn with prejudice, then you MUST call the judicial assistant to request to cancel the special set hearing. If a 60 minute Special Set Hearing is required please contact the Judicial Assistant for availability.

Motions that Require 60 Minute or More Hearing Time

The online scheduling system will only allow you to schedule a hearing for a 30 minute maximum time limit. Do not schedule 60 minute hearings without contacting the Judicial Assistant first. If the motion requires 60 minutes, please contact the Judicial Assistant for dates and times available, since they are calendared in a specific time slot. If your motion requires more than 60 minutes of hearing time, the moving party is required to send the Judicial Assistant, a cover letter with a copy of the Motion, indicating to the Judge how much hearing time they are requesting. Upon Judge Kastrenakes' review, he will then determine how much time will be alloted for said Motion. Please be advised that lengthy motions are put on a trial docket with a calendar call date and time to be provided to the parties, via Court Order. Telephonic appearance is not permitted.

Procedures for Remote Appearance at Hearings

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING HEARINGS

  1. ALL UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR ("UMC") HEARINGS SHALL BE CONDUCTED VIA ZOOM UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE commencing on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. When a hearing is scheduled for UMC using OLS, a Zoom meeting id will be displayed on the confirmation screen. Parties are to use the Zoom meeting id to connect to the remote UMC hearing. There will be one Zoom meeting for all UMC hearing scheduled for the day. The party scheduling the hearing shall place the meeting identification information in the Notice of Hearing and shall take reasonable steps to insure that all parties are provided notice of the Zoom id.
  2. SPECIAL SET HEARINGS (Evidentiary and Non-Evidentiary) SHALL be conducted in the manner agreed upon by the attorneys (either by phone or via Zoom). If the hearing is evidentiary in nature and requires the Court to make credibility determinations, the hearing MUST be conducted via Zoom. Otherwise, the agreement between counsel controls. When scheduling a special set hearing using OLS, the OLS system will ONLY automatically generate a Zoom meeting id if the "Schedule Zoom Meeting" option is check at the time of scheduling. 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" 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. If the Zoom Meeting is not selected at the time of scheduling, the Court will assume parties will be coordinating their own remote appearance (either by Zoom or telephonic).
  3. 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.

Oaths for any evidentiary hearing or non-jury trial shall be administered remotely in accordance with Supreme Court Administrative Order No. AOSC20-16.

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.

Agreed Orders

If a Motion(s) is resolved, an Agreed Order on that Motion(s) can be submitted to the Judge's office and the Order must say "Agreed Order on Motion (Title of Motion)". The Agreed Order MUST be sent to be uploaded via OLS, NOT via e-mail or U.S Mail. Please be sure to include a cover letter/cover sheet and Motion to the Judge indicating the all parties have reviewed and agreed to the language of the proposed Agreed Order. The names and addresses of all persons receiving copies must appear in the Agreed Order, pursuant to Administrative Order 2.306.

Proposed Orders/Final Judgments

All proposed Orders and Final Judgments submitted for the Judge's signature must say "Order on Motion (Title of Motion) or Final Judgment". All Orders/Final Judgments MUST be uploaded with cover letter and/ or supporting attachments through OLS, NOT via e-mail or U.S mail. This is a directive of the Supreme Court AOSC19-74 (Paper Orders are no longer accepted for signature by the Court).  Please be sure to submit proposed orders electronically within 24 hrs. after the Court's ruling on the matter. The names and addresses of all persons receiving copies must appear in the Order or Final Judgment, pursuant to Administrative Order 2.306.

Notices to Set Cause for Trial

The moving party must file with the Clerk of Court, the original Notice for Trial with their estimated time of trial, and whether the case is to be set for a non-jury or jury trial. A courtesy copy of the Notice should be sent via U.S. regular mail (Do Not e-mail) to the Judicial Assistant for the setting of a trial date. To determine when Civil Division AF is currently scheduling lengthy motions, non-jury trials and jury trials, please click on the "Trial Calendar" icon on the left side of this homepage. Please note: If a courtesy copy of the Notice for Trial is not mailed and received by the Judicial Assistant, a Trial Order will not be sent.

Motions for Default Final Judgment

When submitting a proposed Default Final Judgment packet to the Judge's office for his review and entry of the Default Final Judgment, please be sure to include the following courtesy copies for the Judge's review: a cover letter, the Motion for Default Final Judgment, all Affidavits in support of the Default Final Judgment, a Non-Military Affidavit, a Affidavit of Costs and Interest, the Default that was entered by the Clerk of Court, the Return of Service, and the Complaint.

Motions to Continue Trial

A Motion to Continue Trial MUST be set for a UMC hearing (even if said Motion is agreed to by all parties). Please see the instructions above in regards to the setting of UMC hearings on Judge Kastrenakes' calendar. Judge Kastrenakes will NOT sign an Agreed Order Granting a Motion to Continue Trial.

Withdrawal of Counsel and Stipulation for Substitution of Counsel

All Motions to Withdraw must be set for a UMC hearing, with proper notice to the client, per Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.505(f)(i), and all parties/attorneys.

Stipulations for substitution of counsel: All Stipulations for Substitution of Counsel MUST have the signature of the client's consent on the Stipulation. If your client's consent is not included, all documents will be sent back to the moving party, in order for the client's consent to be obtained on the Stipulation.

Ex-parte motions to compel discovery: No hearing is necessary if the Motion is in compliance with Administrative Order 3.202. The moving attorney must submit the Motion and Order using Online Services (OLS) for electronic review and electronic signature.

Emergency Motions/Request for Emergency Hearings

File your original emergency Motion with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division. The Clerk's Office will then forward to Judge Kastrenakes, or an alternate Judge in his absence, for review and directive to determine whether an emergency hearing should be scheduled. DO NOT set an Emergency Motion for hearing unless directed to do so by the Court's Judicial Assistant.

Motions for Rehearing/Clarification and Motions for New Trial

In accordance with Local Rule No. 6, file your original Motion for Rehearing/Clarification with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, and forward a copy, via U.S. regular mail, to the Judicial Assistant for the Judge's review and directive to determine whether a hearing should be scheduled. DO NOT set a Motion for Rehearing/Clarification for hearing unless directed to do so by the Court's Judicial Assistant. Motions for New Trial should be submitted in the same manner as described above, and the Judge will determine the amount of time needed for the hearing. DO NOT set a Motion for New Trial for hearing.

Preparation of Judgments and Orders

Some portion of the text of the Judgment or Order specific to the case MUST be included on Judge Kastrenakes' signature page. PLEASE include the style of the case, the case number and the page number in the upper left-hand corner for Judgments and Orders more than one page. The Judgment or Order WILL be sent back to the moving attorney if the signature page of the Judgment or Order only includes the Judge's signature line and is not in compliance with Administrative Order 3.204.

Settlement, Dismissal or Stay of Cases

If your case settles, is voluntarily dismissed, or stayed, and there are future hearings or a trial scheduled on the Court's docket, PLEASE CALL the Court's Judicial Assistant immediately to inform her of same, so the Court can cancel all scheduled hearings and/or the trial, in order to free up hearing/trial time for other cases to be set.