RJ Divisional Instructions

Updated 6/30/2020

Please be advised, due to COVID-19 parties must upload proposed orders electronically, please do not send them in the mail. In addition, parties are encouraged to upload any hearing materials to the Court via e-courtesy or email.

In accordance with the Florida Supreme Court's Administrative Order dated March 17, 2020, and this Circuit's Administrative Order 12.510, Division RJ is NOT able to conduct any face to face hearings until further notice. All jury trials previously scheduled on the July trial docket have been cancelled. Orders resetting jury trial have been entered on all cases that are still open and pending.

Division RJ continues to hold non-essential Motion Hearings at this time. Online Scheduling remains open and dates are available for scheduling. Hearings that are currently scheduled in Division RJ will only be conducted remotely. Persons who are interested in listening to the court events may contact the Court's Public Information Office, Debra Oats, at 561-355-4495 or 561-644-0054 to obtain an access line.

FOR ALL CASES (UPDATED 6/30/2020):

  • For hearings (UMC and Special Set 15, 30 min) set using OLS, you will be provided ZOOM information upon setting the hearing in OLS. It is the scheduling party's responsibility provide this information to appear remotely to all parties. PLEASE BE ADVISED: THIS ONLY APPLIES TO UMC HEARINGS SET TO BE HEARD ON OR AFTER AUGUST 4, 2020 AND SPECIAL SET HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2020.
  • For UMC hearings SET TO BE HEARD PRIOR TO August 4, 2020 OR Special Set Hearings SCHEDULED prior to JULY 1, 2020, parties will receive an Order (approximately 1 week prior to the hearing date) with directions to appear remotely.
  • For ALL Non-Jury Trials and other hearings set by the Court, parties will receive an Order (approximately 1 week prior to the hearing date) with directions to appear remotely.

DURING THE CURRENT STATE OF EMERGENCY,

MOTIONS TO APPEAR TELEPHONICALLY ARE NOT NECESSARY.

Until further notice, the Court is unable to hold face to face Small Claims Pretrials and Mediation. Please check your case's docket and refer to the following information:

  • For cases that the Defendant has been SERVED and Proof of Service is DOCKETED at least 7 days prior to Pretrial date: The case will be set for remote mediation and pretrial through Court Order. Directions to appear remotely will be provided in the Order.
  • For cases that are NONSERVED: Plaintiff must request a new summons through the Clerk of Court in the ordinary course.
  • For SERVED cases that proof of service was not timely filed: Plaintiff should submit the appropriate motion and proposed order to have the pretrial reset.

Proposed Orders

ALL PROPOSED ORDERS (in Word format) along with the motion shall be submitted to the 15th Judicial Circuit Online Services through the Online Scheduling. Any supporting documents for the Court to review should be efiled with the clerk and then submitted as attachments to the order.

All Memorandum of Law, Briefs, Responses, copies of case law, courtesy copies of Notices of Hearings/Motions, etc., for the Judge's review should be either mailed to the Judge's office or hand-delivered to the 1st floor drop box of the Main Courthouse, at least 5 business days in advance of the scheduled hearing date/trial date. OUR OFFICE DOES NOT ACCEPT ANY COURTESY COPIES OF THE FOREGOING VIA E-MAIL.

 Online Scheduling

Hearings

New hearing dates are uploaded to On-Line Scheduling on the first working day of each month.

Hearings requiring less than 10 minutes are set on the Court's Uniform Motion Calendar, held Tuesdays and Thursdays (unless otherwise suspended) at 9:00 am, through On-Line Scheduling. Hearings can be set with 5 business days notice including courtesy copies of the motion and notice to the Court through On-Line Scheduling. FOR A SINGLE CASE - 1 UMC SLOT (MAX OF 2 MOTIONS/10 MINUTES TOTAL) IS PERMITTED.

Hearings requiring 15 to 30 minutes are specially set on the Court's calendar through On-Line Scheduling. Only after you have confirmed that there are no available 15 and/or 30 minute timeslots available through On-Line Scheduling, should you contact the Judicial Assistant by email at CAD-DivisionRJ@pbcgov.org for alternative hearing times.

Hearings requiring more than 30 minutes and ALL Motions for Attorney Fees should be set by contacting the Judicial Assistant by email at CAD-DivisionRJ@pbcgov.org

ANY POST JUDGEMENT MOTIONS NEED TO BE EMAILED TO THE COURT AFTER FILING. THE COURT WILL DECIDE IF A HEARING IS NECESSARY.

The motion(s) must be filed and docketed with the Clerk of Court prior to requesting a hearing date and time. In keeping with professional courtesy, any party scheduling a hearing shall make a good faith attempt to resolve the matter, undertake reasonable efforts to contact the opposing party/counsel for availability or scheduling conflicts. Send a courtesy copy of the notice and motion to the Court through On-Line Scheduling at least 5 business days before any scheduled hearing.

FOR ANY OTHER QUESTIONS REGARDING SCHEDULING A HEARING PLEASE REFER TO LOCAL RULE 4.

Local Rule 4

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 hearing dates by contacting the Judicial Assistant by email at CAD-DivisionRJ@pbcgov.org.

Cancellations

To cancel UMC hearings please do so through the On-Line Scheduling system, you do not need to notify the Judicial Assistant.

To cancel any Special Set hearings please email CAD-DivisionRJ@pbcgov.org the reason for cancellation. Your hearing is not cancelled until you receive confirmation back from the Judicial Assistant. Opposing counsel should be contacted prior to the Judicial Assistant.

FOR ANY CANCELLATION DUE TO SETTLEMENT OR DISMISSAL: Please email an EFILED copy of either a Notice of Settlement or Dismissal to the divisional email at CAD-DivisionRJ@pbcgov.org.

Telephonic Appearances

Telephonic appearances are permitted with the approval of the Court and if there is no objection by the opposing party. A motion and order must be provided for each request to appear telephonically. Telephonic appearances are coordinated through a telephonic service provider of the attorney or litigant's choice. Arrangements with the telephonic company must be made 24 hours in advance of the hearing. If the telephonic company cannot accommodate an untimely request, the party will have to appear in person.

The Court is aware of the following vendors who schedule and provide telephonic link for attorneys and litigants for telephonic appearances. The Court takes no position as to whether one vendor is better than another vendor, and attorneys/litigants are free to seek out other vendors.

CourtCall

CourtScribes

All proposed orders to appear telephonically must include which service provider is being used and all call-in information, phone numbers, pins, etc. That the court will need to participate in the telephonic meeting. It is the attorney or litigant's responsibility that all correct and pertinent call-in information is provided to the court on the proposed order to appear telephonically

Please be advised that you cannot appear by telephone at the following matters: Calendar Call, Pretrial Conferences, Case Management Conferences or Evidentiary Hearings.

Interpreters for County Civil Cases

The Court does not provide interpreters for County Civil cases. It is the responsibility of the party needing an interpreter to bring to court an interpreter who is certified, language skilled, provisionally approved or who is registered with the Office of State Court Administrator as required by Rule 2.560 and Rule 2.565 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. For further information or for assistance locating an interpreter, please visit Court Interpreters. Persons unable to obtain an interpreter must bring someone to assist. The Court will determine if they are qualified to interpret the proceedings.

PIP Pre-trial Procedures

View important changes to PIP pretrial procedures.

Small Claims

Pre-trial hearings are set on Thursdays at 1:00 pm. 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 e-signed and e-served to you then the hearing is cancelled. If the Order is not signed, parties may have to appear at the hearing unless told otherwise.

Landlord/Tenant

Landlord/Tenant hearings are set and noticed by the Court for Thursdays afternoons after review of motions sent to the Court or when the Court decides mediation is appropriate. Mediation is provided at no charge for Residential Mediation and only $60 per side for Commercial Mediation.

Dismissals

Small Claims and Landlord/Tenant cases - If your case has resolved and is no longer at issue please file a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and advise the Judicial Assistant via telephone or email. A filed Dismissal will remove any future hearings for that case on the Judge's calendar.

Notice of Voluntary Dismissal

Trials

All non-jury trials are set by the court with a pre-trial procedure order. Jury trials will be set for Calendar Call and Case Management conferences.

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.

Agreed Waiver of Appearance at Pretrial Conference and Stipulation Invoking the Rules of Civil Procedure:

  1. Prior to submitting an Agreed Waiver of Appearance at Pretrial Conference and Stipulation Invoking the Rules of Civil Procedure through the dedicated portal, counsel for the defendant must file their Notice of Appearance with the Clerk of Court.
  2. Generic stipulations to waive appearance at the pretrial conference and to invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure will no longer be accepted unless it substantially complies with the following form. Submissions not substantially complying with the form provided or containing insertions or omissions not approved by the Court will be rejected and appearance at the pretrial conference will not be waived.
pdf icon Download PDF of the form. word icon Download Word document of the form.
  • Upon submission of the proposed Joint Waiver and Stipulation as instructed, the submitting party will be prompted to generate a proposed Order on Agreed Waiver of Appearance at Pretrial Conference and Stipulation to Invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court will review both submittals for compliance. Where applicable the proposed Order on Agreed Waiver of Appearance at Pretrial Conference and Stipulation to Invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure will be signed by the Court and will be served electronically. pdf iconView/download a sample of the order. A scheduling order will also issue simultaneously.
  • Effective March 19, 2018 in the Main Judicial Complex and April 6, 2018 in the South County Annex, any stipulation or waiver must be approved and made an order of the Court. No PIP case shall proceed under the Rules of Civil Procedure without signed judicial consent. It is no longer sufficient alone to file with the Clerk of Court any joint stipulation to invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure and to waive appearance at the pretrial conference.
  • Submittals: View/download instructions for preparing and submitting the Agreed Waiver of Appearance at Pretrial Conference and Stipulation to Invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure. Do not file the Agreed Waiver with the Clerk of Court. Caution: Submissions other than a proposed Agreed Waiver will not be accepted. Any submissions for the Court to review in Chambers and arising from the normal course of litigation or as directed by the Judge should be submitted pursuant to division instructions.