RB Divisional Instructions

DIVISION RB AMENDED PROCEDURES
IN RE: MITIGATING MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Pursuant to Supreme Court and Local Administrative Order, AOSC20-12, AOSC 20-13, and AO 12.510-03/2020., all non-essential proceedings are hereby suspended for in-person appearances.

Pre-Trial Conferences set through May 1, 2020 are Suspended and will be Reset

Please file ALL proposed orders via OLS do not send in paper copies

***Effective until further notice, the following procedures apply:***

  1. For ALL non-evidentiary Special set and UMC hearings: 

    All non-evidentiary hearings must be conducted telephonically and must be pre-arranged with a telephone conference provider.

    The Moving party shall be responsible for coordinating the telephonic appearance for all parties.  This requirement applies to pro se litigants as well as attorneys. All parties must agree to the phone service to be utilized for the hearing. Telephone conference providers include Court Call (888-882-6878), CourtScribes (833-727-4237 ext 3), and Zoom (888-799-9666), but parties are free to seek out other vendors or utilize their own conference call provider if they have one.

     Please email the Judicial Assistant as soon as possible with all the phone conferencing information (please include time & date of hearing and case information in your email to CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org.

    UMC hearings can be cancelled in OLS without court approval.  Special Set hearings can be cancelled by Court Order, proposed orders must be submitted via OLS, with the motion to cancel or reset submitted as an attachment, as this will expedite the process.  

  2. For non-evidentiary hearings: all relevant papers must be filed in advance of the hearing. If a paper does not yet appear on the docket, please email a courtesy copy to CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance. Please do not mail hard copies at this time.
  3. For evidentiary hearings and trials: parties should contact the Judicial Assistant, Yvette Deas at CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org to set up a conference call to determine if the evidentiary hearing or trial can go forward.  Before the hearing and/or trial can go forward, the parties are requested to stipulate to the admissibility of evidence to the greatest extent possible. All parties must exchange evidence no later than forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the hearing/trial (if not already exchanged pursuant to the pre-trial order), and email a courtesy copy to CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org. Any party objecting to the admission of evidence shall file their specific objections and basis for same and send a courtesy copy to CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org.

    Any party calling a live witness shall ensure the witness can be connected through the same telephone or video conference. Similarly, any party ordering a court reporter shall ensure the court reporter can be connected through the same telephone or video conference.

    Pursuant to Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order, “all rules of procedure, court orders, and opinions applicable to remote testimony, depositions, and other legal testimony, … that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-video communications equipment to administer oaths remotely…, are hereby suspended” through March 27 or until further order.

  4. Note: Most filings take up to three (3) days to appear on the docket. If you do not see your filing on the docket in time for a hearing, please send a courtesy copy to the Division at CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org .

Pro Se litigants that have access to email are encouraged to fill out and file with the Clerk an email designation form. This will allow the Court to submit orders to the parties via email instead of sending in the U.S. Postal Service which will greatly reduce the time for the parties' communication with each other and the Court. Please see www.mypalmbeachclerk.com for instructions.

Please email the Judicial Assistant as soon as possible with all the phone conferencing information (please include time & date of hearing and case information in your email) to CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org.

Divisional email will continue to be monitored and responded to throughout the State of Emergency and all phone calls will be returned. Please continue to check Divisional Instructions for additional updates. 

Divisional email will continue to be monitored and responded to throughout the State of Emergency and all phone calls will be returned. Please continue to check Divisional Instructions for additional updates. 

Online Scheduling (OLS)

We participate in  Online Scheduling for UMC hearings and Short Special Set hearings for 15 minute and 30 minute blocks of time ONLY. The Court will open dates approximately 60 days in advance. Use of the system requires a user ID and password. Please see the link to the instructions on the homepage. Technical questions regarding the system should be directed to CAD-WEB@pbcgov.org. In keeping with professional courtesy, any party scheduling a hearing shall make reasonable efforts to contact the opposing party/counsel for availability or scheduling conflicts.

OLS is not permitted for Eviction (residential or commercial) related hearings/ motions nor is it permitted for Claim of Exemption Hearings on all Garnishment proceedings.  Hearings/motions on these matters must be special set by contacting the Judicial Assistant.

Proposed Orders

All represented parties and parties registered for eservice shall use the Online Scheduling System (OLS) to upload any proposed order(s). All submissions must include as an attachment the relevant and/or supporting document(s) being approved/considered, and must be formatted in conformity with Local Rules and Rules of Judicial Administration. The submission must indicate whether the order is agreed/unopposed and the date of hearing if applicable. Any order not in compliance will be rejected. If the order involves an older case where the supporting documents are not visible in the court file i.e. party is seeking a continuing order of garnishment based upon a final judgment issued in 2005, a copy of the signed final judgment should be e-filed and provided as an attachment for the court to review.

Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC)

***IMPORTANT***

Motions for Summary Judgment, Damages Hearings, Eviction matters, Claims of Exemption from Garnishment Hearings and/or any other evidentiary type matters requiring witness testimony will NOT be heard at UMC, and are subject to cancellation if they are scheduled

UMC hearings are held on Mondays at 1:00 p.m. and Fridays at 9:00 a.m. (Maximum 10 minutes). Hearings can be set with five (5) business days notice including courtesy copies of the motion and notice to the Court through On-Line Scheduling.  Please file your Motion with the Clerk of Courts and then submit a Proposed Order.  Relevant Case Law must be received by chambers at least three (3) days prior to the hearing or the hearing is subject to cancellation by the Court. All parties shall abide by Local Rule 4 to try to resolve the matter and certify the good faith attempt to resolve on the Notice of Hearing.  Hearings can be cancelled in OLS without court approval.

Emergency Motions must be filed with the Clerk of Courts before submitting to the Judge for review.

Special Set Hearings

Special Set hearings are available for 15 minute and 30 minute blocks of time through OLS. The Court will open dates approximately 60 days in advance. Hearings that will take longer than 30 minutes should be set by contacting Yvette Deas, Judicial Assistant to Judge Surber, at 561-355-7885 or CAD-DivisionRB@pbcgov.org.  Prior to setting the hearing, ALL Motion(s) must be filed with the Clerk of Courts and then submit a copy of the Motion and Proposed Order thru the On-Line Scheduling.  All parties shall abide by Local Rule 4 to try to resolve the matter and certify the good faith attempt to resolve on the Notice of Hearing.  Special Set hearings can only be cancelled by Court Order.

Motions for Attorney Fees

Since the Court utilizes a preliminary order with instructions to be followed in advance of the hearing, all Motions for attorney's fees and/or costs shall attach a document detailing the time records and requested rate(s).  The moving party shall request the time for the hearing with the Judicial Assistant via telephone or email.

Landlord / Tenant Cases

Residential Eviction hearings are set and noticed by the court for Tuesdays of each week at 10:15 and 10:30 a.m.  All hearings must be set by contacting the Court's Judicial Assistant.

Small Claims Pre-Trials

Pretrial Hearings are held on Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.  All small claims cases must go to mediation. Mediation is provided free of charge. If not resolved, the case will be set for trial. If the parties intend to waive Pre-Trial Conference, the parties should file the signed Stipulation with the Clerk of Courts and then send a copy of the signed stipulation as a "PDF" along with a Proposed Order in "WORD" format thru our On-Line Scheduling for Judge's signature. Once the Order has been esigned and eserved to you then the hearing is cancelled. If the Order is not signed, parties may have to appear at the hearing unless told otherwise.

Non-Jury and Jury Trials

Non-Jury Trials are set by the Court with attached information regarding mediation and uniform pretrial procedures. Jury Trials are set by the Court in an "Order Setting Jury Trial and Case Management Conference Directing Pretrial and Mediation Procedures". If the case settles prior to the Trial date notify the Court by contacting the JA. A written confirmation of the settlement agreement must be filed with the Court with a copy to opposing party.

Case Management Conferences

Case management conferences will be set by the court or at the request of the parties.  Telephonic Appearance is permitted, a motion and proposed order must be filed with the Court prior to the hearing.

Appearance by Telephone/Phone Calls/Emails

The procedure for telephone appearance by parties is strictly governed by Fla.R.Jud.Adm. 2.530. 

Please note that no long distance calls will be returned.  Telephonic appearance is not permitted at hearings for Lack of Prosecution.  Telephonic appearances are permitted if there is no objection by opposing party and with the approval of the Court. A motion and order must be provided for each request to appear telephonically.  Telephonic appearances for attorneys and/or parties on non-evidentiary hearings are coordinated through a vendor chosen by the party such as CourtCall, CourtScribes, or Zoom. The Court takes no position on which vendor is used.  Be advised that when there are multiple cases set at the same time such as UMC or Case Management Dockets, the Court will take parties who are present in-court before parties participating telephonically.

ALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE COURT MUST BE IN WRITING, filed with the Clerk and copied to all parties in the lawsuit. Be sure to include the case #, case name, and your telephone number, the reason for said correspondence or documents being sent and, if the case is scheduled for a hearing or trial, include the date and time.

Pro Se litigants that have access to email are encouraged to fill out and file with the Clerk an email designation form.  This will allow the Court to submit orders to the parties via email instead of sending in the U.S. Postal Service which will greatly reduce the time for the parties' communication with each other and the Court.

Cancellations

To cancel Special Set Hearings, Jury & Non-Jury Trials, etc. a Motion and proposed Order must be filed with the clerk. The Motion MUST note the reason for cancellation. To cancel a hearing set on UMC please contact the Court's Judicial Assistant via telephone or email.

Questions and Advice

Neither the Judge nor the Judicial Assistant can give you legal advice regarding how to proceed with your case. For assistance, you can contact the Self-Help Center at 561-355-6781 located on the first floor of the Main West Palm Beach Courthouse. Additionally, the Palm Beach County Bar Association has a lawyer referral and information service at 561-687-3266