The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org


Catherine Peek McEwen
Bankruptcy Judge

The following information was provided in response to a survey prepared by the Federal Court Practice Committee of The Florida Bar. This information is not binding on any judge or court official and may not be relied upon for precedential purposes. Further information may be found in the attachments (sample orders, etc.) referenced at the end of this Guide entry or on the court's website noted below.

JUDGE
Court: Middle District of Florida
Location of chambers: Chambers 8B, 801 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Assigned courtroom: 8B
Phone: 813-301-5082 (main line)
Email address (only for proposed orders):

CHAMBERS
Staff:

Judicial Assistant/Secretary: Julie Stafford/Laura Stevenson (non case-related matters)
Phone:
Email address:

Courtroom Deputy: Denise Garcia (scheduling matters), phone 813-301-5083
Phone:
Email address:

Court Reporter:
Phone:
Email address:

Docket Clerk:
Phone:
Email address:

Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:

Communication with chambers:

Do you permit contact with chambers

      regarding questions of procedure? Yes

      regarding the status of pending matters? No

May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s)

      on procedural matters?

      on the status of pending matters?

Comments:

USE OF CELL PHONES, LAPTOPS, AND OTHER ELECTRONICS IN COURT

Other than procedures adopted by the U.S. Marshal's Service relating to access to a federal courthouse, do you have any additional procedures to be followed for the use of cell phones, laptops, or other electronics?

Is there a designated court staff person to contact relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs?

*Always verify with the Clerk of Court or the U.S. Marshal's Service as to any procedures relating to the use of cell phones or other electronic devices at the courthouse.

CM/ECF PROCEDURES
(in addition to Local Rules or CM/ECF procedures applicable in the District)

Do you have a preferred method for counsel to correct an electronically filed document that inadvertently contains personal information (as prohibited by Fed.R.Civ.P. 5.2)?

Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits be filed as separate docket entries (instead of filing them as attachments to the document they support)?

When filing documents with multiple attachments (e.g., the petition and schedules), do you prefer that the document be filed such that it is displayed with bookmarks within the PDF image? (This question only applies if such filing is available as a format for filing attachments in your District.)

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits and depositions be filed conventionally as well as on CM/ECF?

      If YES, do you require more than one copy to be filed?

Do you prefer to have proposed orders (other than those required to be filed in the case) submitted as an attachment to documents filed in CM/ECF, or do you prefer to receive them by email or another method?

Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?

Comments:

PRETRIAL PRACTICE

When other parties have consented to a motion, do you prefer that the consent is stated in the motion or do you prefer a separately filed notice of consent?

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or any Local Rules, as to motions for enlargement of time or motions for continuance?

      If YES, what do you require? Do not assume that a motion for continuance filed at the last minute will be granted absent consent of all parties. Refer to M.D. Fla. L.B.R. 5071-1 prior to filing your motion for continuance. A motion for continuance must recite that you have discussed the proposed continuance with opposing counsel and whether there is any objection to the continuance.Remember to submit a proposed order along with your request for a continuance. Also, if it is a last-minute request, call and let the Courtroom Deputy know before filing the motion that you are seeking a continuance.

Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?

      copies of published cases? No

      copies of unpublished opinions? Yes

If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies that have portions highlighted by counsel? Yes

What is your practice or policy when counsel fails to serve opposing parties with motions within the times set forth in the rules or your orders? I will take what action is appropriate based on the issue. Generally, the deadlines for filing and responding to summary judgment motions (relative to the hearing date) will be treated as firm. If a proposed order is not timely submitted in compliance with an order or published policy, the matter at issue may be denied based on that noncompliance.

What do you consider to be an emergency matter? Situations involving an imminent loss of rights; the motion or application should state what harm would occur if the hearing is not scheduled as an emergency.Also, expedited hearings will be scheduled on matters falling under the Court's Administrative Order Establishing Initial Procedures in Chapter 11 Cases Filed in the Tampa and Ft. Myers Divisions, Administrative Order TPA-2005-2 (AO 2005-2). See attachment section, below.

How does one request emergency relief? Follow M.D. Fla. L.B.R. 9004-2 for emergency matters. If an emergency hearing is appropriate under the circumstances, the Courtroom Deputy will inform the movant, who will be directed to provide notice telephonically, electronically, and by facsimile.With respect to expedited matters falling under AO-2005-2, the case manager will alert the Courtroom Deputy, who will schedule the hearing and direct how notice should be given.

What are your procedures concerning ex parte temporary restraining orders? Follow Rule 7065, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. For guidance, refer to Rule 4.05 of the Local Rules of the Middle District of Florida. A good "how to" resource is retired Judge Corcoran's article "Preliminary Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders: How to Get Them Effectively and Efficiently," The Cramdown, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, Winter 2003, pp.4-5. See attachment section, below.

When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling? Yes

For which matters is the use of negative notice acceptable? See M.D. Fla. L.B.R. 2002-4. Upon request I will consider applying negative notice to other matters.

What is your preferred method for a party to request a hearing date? In most instances, upon filing of a motion, parties will be notified by a court-generated notice or order setting a hearing. In the case of an emergency hearing, the Courtroom Deputy will contact movant's counsel; counsel is typically instructed to provide notice by telephone, email and facsimile.

When you schedule a hearing, do you state whether the hearing will be evidentiary (if Fed.R.B.P. 9014(e) has not been implemented)?

Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? Telephonic appearances are permitted for non-evidentiary hearings only. Generally, telephonic appearances are reserved for counsel who are outside of Hillsborough County. Telephonic participants may not use cellular or speaker telephones, as they compromise the quality of the record and fade out at times. Please call my Courtroom Deputy, Denise Garcia, at 813-301-5083 to schedule telephonic appearances. She will place the call to you at the time of the hearing. However, if there are more than three attorneys appearing for one hearing, the fourth requesting party will be asked to set up a conference call with a call-in number.

Under what circumstances do you require the debtor's attendance at a hearing? All hearings when the debtor is pro se; hearings on reaffirmation agreements when debtor's counsel has not signed the agreement; all evidentiary hearings involving an interest of the debtor; initial status conference in Chapter 11 cases. I may add others as I develop this policy.

Do you grant pro hac vice admission on oral request at hearings?

What is your practice or policy when counsel fails to provide opposing counsel with copies of proposed exhibits prior to hearing or trial? It depends on potential prejudice, which may result in a continuance and possible imposition of sanctions, such as exclusion of those exhibits.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes

      If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? As far in advance as possible and appropriate.

What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation? I encourage mediation (but not non-binding arbitration). In appropriate cases and proceedings, I will require it.

Do you refer settlement conferences to another Bankruptcy Judge?

Comments:

TRIAL

Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)? Yes

      If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?

      If NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)?

What is your practice or procedure regarding rescheduling trials that are not reached on a trial docket (e.g., will the trial date be automatically rescheduled on your next trial docket)?

Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial? Yes

What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations? Call the Courtroom Deputy no later than 48 hours prior to trial or final evidentiary hearing to coordinate electronic presentations. Stand-alone trial graphics (posters) are not helpful unless the print is very large; a paper version that I can view at the bench is more helpful. I have not yet formulated a policy on the handling of depositions.

Do you prefer opening statements? No

Do you require trial briefs? No

If you require trial briefs, when are they due?

Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?

Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?

      If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?

Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?

Comments:

GENERAL ADVICE

What should lawyers avoid at all costs when appearing before you (other than the obvious: don't be late, do be courteous, etc.), i.e., do you have any “pet peeves”? Practice pointers (not peeves):Help me by coming prepared with legal arguments in support of your position and cases you want considered. Submitting them in advance is most helpful.Call the Courtroom Deputy when a matter is settled so that Chambers staff and I can work on preparing for something else.Mark your exhibits in advance in compliance with M.D. Fla. L.B.R. 9070-1. It makes the trial run more smoothly and aids the Courtroom Deputy tremendously.Speak clearly and slowly when making your appearance so that we record your name correctly on proceeding memos.Settlement and social conversations in the courtroom's well and gallery areas may be distracting to all seated at the bench, which may cause one of us to miss something. Also, digital recording equipment may sometimes pick up remote conversations, which can cause problems in generating accurate transcripts. Therefore, while the Court is in session and you are waiting for your case to be called, please hold your settlement discussions outside the courtroom so as not to interfere with a colleague's hearing. For other practice pointers, see the attached practice memos.

Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?

LINKS

Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners:

ATTACHMENTS
Sample orders (please include a sample of any scheduling orders), biography, etc.

Attachments:
ADMIN ORDER ESTABLISHING INITIAL PROCEDURES IN CHAPTER 11 CASES.pdf
MEMOS REGARDING PRACTICE POINTERS.pdf
CTC ARTICLE.pdf

Survey last modified on 06/23/2009

[Revised: 07-01-2005]