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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org


Patricia Ann Seitz
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: 400 North Miami Avenue, Courtroom 11-4, Miami, Fl 33128
Assigned courtroom: 11-4
Phone: (305) 523-5530
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions): seitz@flsd.uscourts.gov

CHAMBERS

Staff:
Judicial Assistant/Secretary:
Phone:
Email address:

Courtroom Deputy: Linda Webb
Phone: (305) 523-5534
Email address:

Court Reporter: David Ehrlich
Phone: (305) 523-5537
Email address:

Docket Clerk:
Phone:
Email address:

Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls: 305-523-5530

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? Linda Webb

*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)? 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? If exhibits are lengthy, counsel is asked to provide a courtesy copy to chambers.

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? Prefer email

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

Comments:


Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases? Yes

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference? See Criminal Pretrial Conference Checklist.

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? All motions requiring evidentiary hearings are referred to the Magistrate Judge.

Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever? Yes

Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge? I take the plea.

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

Do you have a regular plea deadline? No

      If YES, when is that deadline?

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

What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas? Will accept an Alford plea if the Government agrees.

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

What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations? Advise the defendant that the recommendation is not binding on the Court or U.S. Probation.

Comments:

PRETRIAL PROCEDURE (CIVIL)

Do you issue a standard pretrial order? (Please attach a copy at the end of this survey.) No

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16? Yes

      If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings? Pending motions, case management plans, and any special issues noted in parties' Joint Scheduling Report. See Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report - Standard.

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? Yes

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders? Ex parte hearings disfavored.

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? No

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

Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions? Yes

      If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time? 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. daily as scheduled by the Court.

Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? When video conference is not available, a short hearing, and only one person is on the phone.

What is your practice concerning oral arguments on dispositive motions? If it appears that (a) it is complex or (b) there are specific questions that need to be answered, the Court will schedule an oral argument and notify the parties of the issues to be addressed.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes

      If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? Motions in limine should be filed with the Pretrial Stipulation. Each motion and response should be no longer than one page. See Order Setting Trial Date.

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? See Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report in FLSA Actions; Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report in Fair Debt Collections Act Actions; and Order Requiring Joint Scheduling Report with Attached Requirement of Certificate of Counsel Regarding Any Prior Filings Under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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? Yes

Comments:


What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation? Mediation is required in all civil cases.

Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation? Yes

Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences? No.

Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases? Yes. All FLSA cases are referred to the Magistrate Judge for a settlement conference.

Comments:

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? Counsel proposes

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

      If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain? In criminal cases over three weeks long, or when there are special circumstances.

      IF NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)? Advise the parties of their position on the trial docket at the calendar call. Therefore, notice can be as short as 24 hours.

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? Try to find another judge to try case during trial calendar. If cannot, case rolls to next trial calendar.

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? Need to advise other side prior to trial. On depositions to be used during trial, need to pre-designate pages. Parties must develop a stipulation as to the non-contested information in the deposition and read only those portions of the deposition relevant to the disputed issues in the case.

Do you require trial briefs

      in jury trials? No

      in bench trials? No

If you require trial briefs, when are they due? N/A

Do you have any requirements for trial briefs? If filed, should be very succinct, focused on key legal, factual or evidentiary points, and cite on point 11th Circuit case law.

Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire? Yes

      If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire? 10 minutes per side to ask follow up questions (after the Court's voir dire and the jurors oral biographical responses to questions.) See instructions attached to Civil/Criminal Pretrial Conference Checklist.

      If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions? Yes

            If YES, when should such questions be submitted? Noon the Friday before the start of trial.

What are your peremptory challenge procedures? No backstrikes except in diversity cases governed by Florida law.

In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges? Yes

      If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared? In civil cases, yes, unless parties have unity of interest.

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? Within reason. The maximum time used to date has been 3 hours. Most opening statements are in the 15 to 35 minutes range.

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? Yes

      If YES, under what constraints and restrictions? Will permit written questions in civil cases. Jurors put questions in writing, at the conclusion of the witness' testimony, the questions are collected and discussed at sidebar, and if not objectionable are posed to the witness.

What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? Must stand and cite the Federal Rule of Evidence. No speaking objections. Sidebars disfavored. If an evidentiary issue might require a sidebar, it must be brought to the Court's attention before the start of the trial, at the end of the trial day or at the lunch break to avoid breaks in the flow of evidence.

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions? Proposed joint instructions must be filed prior to the pretrial conference in civil cases. Final instructions are due noon the Friday before start of a Monday trial. Otherwise twenty-four hours before the start of trial. Government is responsible for preparing proposed instructions in criminal cases. Defendants are to provide ex parte any theory of defense instructions prior to trial.THE COURT INSTRUCTS THE JURY PRIOR TO CLOSING ARGUMENT AND PROVIDES EACH JUROR WITH A COPY OF THE INSTRUCTIONS AND VERDICT FORM AT THE TIME OF INSTRUCTION.

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? Yes

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? Draft proposed factual findings and legal conclusions due at Pretrial Conference. Final proposed findings and conclusions are due at noon the Friday before start of trial (unless the case is complex, then I will provide the due dates at the pretrial conference.)

      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?

If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court? Yes.

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? Personally conduct.

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”? Failure to consult with opposing counsel in a good faith effort to resolve the dispute prior to filing the motion; failure to read and/or follow orders, the Rules of Procedure, and the Local Rules; lack of professionalism / ad hominum attacks.

Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?
Get to know your opposing counsel as a human being; treat them as you would like to be treated; be a problem solver; maintain perspective -- what is really important in life --if nobody died, it probably can be fixed.

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.


CIVIL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE CHECKLIST.pdf

CRIMINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE CHECKLIST.pdf

EXAMPLE ORDER REQUIRING JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT - ADA.pdf

EXAMPLE ORDER REQUIRING JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT - FLSA.pdf

EXAMPLE ORDER REQUIRING JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT - STANDARD.pdf

EXAMPLE ORDER REQUIRING JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT- FAIR DEBT COLLECTION.pdf

EXAMPLE TRIAL ORDER.pdf

Survey last modified on 12/22/2010

[Revised: 06-30-2010]