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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org


Robert N Scola Jr.
District 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: Southern District of Florida
Location of chambers: Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse, 400 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33128
Assigned courtroom: 12-3
Phone: 305-523-5140
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions): scola@flsd.uscourts.gov

CHAMBERS

Staff:
Judicial Assistant/Secretary: None
Phone:
Email address:

Courtroom Deputy: Jacob Hasbun
Phone: 305-523-5140
Email address: jacob_hasbun@flsd.uscourts.gov

Court Reporter: Joseph Millikan
Phone: 305-523-5148
Email address: joseph_millikan@flsd.uscourts.gov

Docket Clerk: none assigned
Phone:
Email address:

Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls: Richard Schevis, Permanent Law Clerk, Florida International University College of Law, 305-523-5143; Eddie Kirtley, term ending July 31, 2013, University of Miami School of Law, 305-523-5142; Michelle Munoz-Durk, term ending September 28, 2012, Stanford Law School, 305-523-5141

Communication with chambers:

Do you permit contact with chambers

      regarding questions of procedure? Yes

      regarding the status of pending matters? Yes

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

      on procedural matters? Yes

      on the status of pending matters? Yes

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? No

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

*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)? No

Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents? Follow CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, however, a courtesy copy does not need to be provided for chambers.

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits be filed as separate docket entries (instead of filing them as attachments to the document they support)? No

When filing documents with multiple attachments, 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.) Yes

Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits and depositions be filed conventionally as well as on CM/ECF? No

      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? email in MS Word format (.doc)

Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable? email in MS Word format (.doc)

Comments:


Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases? No

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?

Do you require the defendant to be present at status conferences? Yes

      If YES, do you have the same policy for defendants in custody and for defendants on bond? yes

Do you conduct suppression hearings or do you refer them to a Magistrate Judge? Time permitting, I conduct my own suppression hearings

Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever? No

Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge? Except for exceptional circumstances, I conduct plea hearings

If you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge, what circumstances would permit the parties to have a plea hearing before you? n/a

Do you have a regular plea deadline? No

      If YES, when is that deadline?

      If NO, is a plea deadline set at pretrial conferences? Yes

What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas? would consider on a case by case basis

Do you have any special procedures regarding plea agreements for individuals who are cooperating with the government, e.g., sealed plea agreements, etc.? sealed agreements are disfavored

What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations? I routinely accept plea agreements with sentencing recommendations and I give serious consideration to the recommendations

Comments:

PRETRIAL PROCEDURE (CIVIL)

Do you issue a standard pretrial order? (Please attach a copy at the end of this survey.) Yes

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16? No

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules, as to motions for extension of time or motions for continuance? No

      If YES, what do you require?

Other than as required by Local Rules, do you prefer that the moving parties submit proposed orders along with non-dispositive motions? No

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders? no

Do you generally hear preliminary injunction motions? Yes

      If YES, do you permit evidence to be introduced? Yes

      If NO, do you routinely refer preliminary injunctions for report and recommendation by a Magistrate Judge?

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

      copies of published cases? No

      copies of unpublished opinions? No

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

Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions? No

      If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time? Hearings are set in accordance with the court's trial schedule

Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? Whenever requested

What is your practice concerning oral arguments on dispositive motions? If I feel oral argument will assist the court in reaching the correct legal ruling, oral argument will be set by the court.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes

      If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? the time period is set forth in the scheduling order

Comments:

Other than those discovery schedules contained in Local Rules, do you have special discovery deadlines or procedures for certain types of cases (ERISA, FLSA, etc.)? Yes

      If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures? ERISA denial of benefits cases have a specialized track. FLSA and ADA cases are typically placed on an expedited track. The Court's Initial Order and Scheduling Order for these cases set forth the deadlines and procedures

Do you routinely refer discovery matters to a Magistrate Judge? Yes

When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call your chambers or the Magistrate Judge's chambers (depending on whether the case has been referred for discovery) to seek an immediate ruling? No

Comments:


What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation? mediation is mandatory in all civil matters

Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation? No

Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences? Any request for referral will be honored.

Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases? yes

Comments: Counsel must submit a detailed explanation of the settlement and detail how the settlement funds are to be distributed between the plaintiff(s) and the attorney

TRIAL

Do you automatically set civil cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for trial? Automatic

Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)? No

      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)? I will give counsel reasonable notice which may be one hour or one week notice depending on a variety of factors

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? case will be reset during next trial docket unless the parties agree to a different trial period

Do you conduct pretrial conferences? Yes

      If YES, and you have a standing order regarding pretrial conferences, please attach a copy at the end of this survey.

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? none

Do you require trial briefs

      in jury trials? No

      in bench trials? No

If you require trial briefs, when are they due?

Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?

Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire? Yes

      If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire? none

      If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?

            If YES, when should such questions be submitted? set forth in Scheduling Order

What are your peremptory challenge procedures? plaintiff announces first on all odd-numbered jurors and defendant announces first on all even-numbered jurors; challenges for cause will not be addressed until a particular juror is reached

In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges? No

      If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared? yes

Do you allow back striking during jury selection? No

Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements? No

      If YES, what are the time limits?

Can exhibits be used in opening statements? Yes

Do you allow plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements? No

Do you permit jurors to

      take notes? Yes

      ask questions? No

      If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?

What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? No speaking objections

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions? Set forth in Scheduling Order

Should jury instructions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes

When standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions?

Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials? Yes

      If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed? Set forth in Scheduling Order

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

Comments:

SENTENCING

Do you require sentencing memos from the parties? No

      If YES, what is the deadline for filing a sentencing memo?

      If NO, may parties file a sentencing memo? Yes

If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court? If the sentencing hearing is expected to last more than 30 minutes, which should be very rare, the court must be notified so that sufficient time is set aside

If you are considering an upward departure under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, do you provide notice orally or in writing? no

In a proceeding for a violation of supervised release conditions, do you personally conduct the admissions/findings of fact hearing or do you refer this to a Magistrate Judge? generally refer to a Magistrate Judge

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”? Answer the Court's questions

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.


Courts Initial Order Civil.pdfCourts Initial Order Civil.pdfCourts Scheduling Order Civil.pdfCourts Scheduling Order Civil.pdfInitial Order Civil Cases Scola.docxInitial Order Civil Cases Scola.docxScheduling Order Civil Cases Scola.docxScheduling Order Civil Cases Scola.docx


Survey last modified on 08/24/2012

[Revised: 09-18-2012]