RE Divisional Instructions

MARCH 24, 2020
DIVISION RE AMENDED PROCEDURES
IN RE: MITIGATING MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Pursuant to Supreme Court and Local Administrative Order, AOSC20-12 through AOSC20-16, and AO 12.510-03/2020.4*, all non-essential proceedings are hereby suspended through May 1, 2020 for in-person appearances.

All UMC and special set hearings will be conducted telephonically or through video, and the Court will be using best efforts to accommodate all requests and hear all matters efficiently and fairly.

The Court will be using Webex to conduct phone and video hearings.

The conferencing information is as follows:
1-844-621-3956 United States Toll Free
Access code: 478 417 293 (no "attendee" number needed; hit # to connect)

*Exception: Small Claims Pre-trial Conferences for April 2020 are Suspended and Will be Reset.*

Effective March 20, 2020 through May 1, 2020 or until further notice, the following procedures apply:

  1. For hearings already scheduled: all non-essential hearings will be conducted telephonically. The moving party shall ensure that all parties are notified of this information, including the conference line listed above. If the non-moving party is unable to be notified in a timely fashion, the moving party shall reset the hearing far enough in advance to send an amended notice of hearing by mail.
  2. For new hearings: all hearings (UMC and special set) can continue to be scheduled as normal using on-line scheduling. The moving party shall include the phone or video conferencing information in the Notice of Hearing using the above conference line information.
  3. 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-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance. Please do not mail hard copies at this time.
  4. For evidentiary hearings and trials: 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 pre-trial order), and email a courtesy copy to CAD-DivisionRE@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-DivisionRE@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.

  5. 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.

Pro Se litigants (appearing without an attorney) who have access to email are encouraged to notify the Clerk of their email address and consent to receive documents electronically. This information may also be sent to CAD-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org. This will allow the Court to submit orders to the parties via email, which will greatly reduce the time for the parties' communication with each other and the Court. Please see the Clerk's Website link for instructions for e-filing.

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.


Effective January 27, 2020 Judge Sarah Shullman will preside over Division RE.

General

All requests and/or motions must be filed with the Clerk's office and a copy must be furnished to the opposing party. Please make sure your phone number and correct address are included in the event the Judicial Assistant may need to contact you regarding your case. Please DO NOT send original documents to the Judge's chambers. All original documents MUST be sent/filed with the Clerk's Office.

Please be advised that court interpreters are not provided on civil cases.

Proposed Orders

1.  All Proposed Orders shall be submitted through the Online Scheduling Portal (OLS) (in Word format).

2.  All proposed orders must attach all relevant supporting documents for the Court to review (affidavits, stipulations, etc.) after e-filing with the clerk, including a motion seeking the proposed relief, and must be formatted in conformity with Local Rules and Rules of Judicial Administration.

3.  The submission must indicate whether the order is agreed and the date of hearing or ruling if applicable.

4.  Any motion that has not been expressly agreed to by the opposing party requires a hearing to be set and noticed by the moving party. Except for default or ex parte motions allowed by rule, the Court will not enter proposed orders without a hearing or agreement of the parties.

5.  Any order not in compliance will be rejected.

Online Scheduling (OLS)

Please note: Use of the online scheduling system requires a user ID and password. This can be obtained by going to Online Scheduling System and clicking on "Register a New User" to create an account.

UMC's

UMC Hearings are scheduled online as follows:

  1. Mondays at 1:30 p.m. for Telephonic Hearings (Maximum 10 minutes) - any party may appear in person or by phone.
  2. Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. (Maximum 10 minutes) - no telephonic appearance is allowed at Wednesday UMC's.

Permission of the Court is not required to set UMC's.

A courtesy copy of the Motion or Opposition, Notice of Hearing and Relevant Case Law must be mailed or hand-delivered and received by chambers at least three (3) days prior to the hearing or is subject to cancellation by the Court. For telephonic hearings with pro se parties, proposed orders and stamped envelopes must be included.

To cancel a hearing scheduled for UMC, login to the Online Scheduling System, select "Uniform Motion Calendar Scheduling" then select "Cancel Hearing" and follow the directions on the screen.

Please do not contact the Judge's Assistant to schedule or cancel a UMC hearing. PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE AND CANCEL ONLINE ANY HEARING THAT IS NO LONGER NEEDED OR RESOLVED PRIOR TO THE HEARING DATE SO THAT OTHERS MAY SCHEDULE THEIR MOTIONS.

***Important****

Motions for Summary Judgment, Damages Hearings, Eviction matters, Claims of Exemption from Garnishment and any other evidentiary matters will NOT be heard at UMC.

Special Set Hearings

Special Set hearings are available for 15 minute and 30 minute blocks of time through Online Scheduling. The Court will open dates approximately 60 days in advance. 

A courtesy copy of your Motion or Opposition, Notice of Hearing and Relevant Case Law must be mailed or hand-delivered and received by Chambers at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.

In order to cancel a Special Set Hearing, a Notice of Cancellation must be filed with the Clerk and a copy e-mailed to the Judge's Office (CAD-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org), so that the time may be used by other parties. Also, the Notice MUST note the reason for cancellation.

***Any party may unilaterally set a hearing if the opposing party does not respond after a good faith effort has been made in accordance with Local Rule No. 4.

Please Note: OLS is not permitted for any of the following:

  1. Eviction related hearings/motions
  2. Claim of Exemption Hearings on all garnishments proceedings
  3. Motion hearings for 30 minutes or more

Hearings Requiring More than Thirty (30) Minutes

For hearings requiring more than thirty (30) minutes, a scheduling request must be sent to CAD-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org. Prior to setting the hearing date and time, please make sure that ALL Motion(s) are filed and docketed with the Clerk of Court.

A courtesy copy of the Motion or Opposition, Notice of Hearing and Relevant Case Law must be mailed/hand-delivered and received by Chambers at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing.

Telephonic Appearances

It is the responsibility of the moving party to select the vendor, contact the vendor and pay the vendor in advance of the hearing.  Available vendors include CourtCall (888-882-6878), CourtScribes (833-727-4237 ext 3), and Zoom (888-799-9666); all parties may seek out and utilize other available options, and the Court takes no position as to whether one vendor is better than another.

UMC Hearings:

Telephonic UMC hearings are held beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays. Telephone appearance by parties at UMC hearings (10 minutes or less) is governed by Fla.R.Jud.Adm. 2.530 (b) and (c).

Parties may appear at Monday UMC's by telephone without motion and order by properly registering with a conference call vendor at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the hearing.

All Other Hearings:

Parties/witnesses wishing to appear by telephone at any hearing, other than Monday UMC hearings, must do so by filing a written motion together with uploading a proposed order through the Online Scheduling Portal (OLS) no less than five (5) days before the scheduled hearing date. Failure to submit a motion and proposed order will require the party to appear in person.

It is the parties' responsibility to coordinate telephone appearances through CourtCall, CourtScribes, or another vendor at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the hearing.

Please Note: you must in advance of the hearing provide your pleadings, proposed orders and, if ineligible for E-Service, self-addressed, stamped envelopes for the Judge's use at the time of the hearing with the order setting or notice of hearing.

Landlord/Tenant Cases

Eviction cases are heard on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. These cases are set by the Court after a review of any documents or motions or when the Court decides mediation is necessary. Mediators will be available at no charge to the parties.

Final Hearings on Eviction cases will normally be heard after mediation, but may be specially set on another date.

Small Claims Pre-trials

Pretrial Hearings for Small Claims are set every Thursday at 9:00, 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. All small claims must go to mediation and mediators are provided. If not resolved, the case will be set for trial.

Motions for Attorney Fees

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 a hearing date by contacting the Judicial Assistant by email at CAD-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org.

Trials

Trials are set by the Judicial Assistant upon request or upon the filing of a Notice for Trial once the case is at issue. A pretrial order will be sent to both parties regarding mediation and uniform pretrial procedures. Any party who has not received a pretrial order within seven (7) days of request or notice should set a UMC status hearing on readiness for trial. Jury Trials will be set for a Mandatory Calendar Call/Case Management Conference.

If the case settles prior to the Trial date please notify the Court as soon as possible by emailing CAD-DivisionRE@pbcgov.org. A written confirmation of the settlement agreement must be filed/uploaded with the Court with a copy to opposing party.

Cases set for calendar call CANNOT be continued with an Agreed Order. Any motions for continuance must be filed and set by the moving party in advance of the calendar call date.

PLEASE REMEMBER: 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 number, 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. Otherwise we will be unable to process your request.