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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org


Robert Alan Mark
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: Southern District of Florida
Location of chambers: 51 S.W. 1st Avenue, Room 1404, Miami, Florida 33130
Assigned courtroom: 1406
Phone: (305) 714-1762
Email address (only for proposed orders):

CHAMBERS
Staff:

Judicial Assistant/Secretary: Marcy Gatell
Phone:
Email address:

Courtroom Deputy: Elaine Howlan
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? See Local Rules 5071-1. Please avoid the common mistake of filing a motion for continuance without indicating whether the opposing party consents. The stipulation of all parties does not always mean that the motion will be granted without hearing. Failure to state whether opposing counsel agrees will almost always result in the motion being denied or set for hearing.

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 sanction the attorney, continue the matter, and/or take appropriate steps to insure the opposing party is not prejudiced.

What do you consider to be an emergency matter? An emergency matter is one in which immediate action is necessary to provide the requested relief.

How does one request emergency relief? See Local Rule 9075-1. The Red Cover Sheet referenced in that rule is not necessary if the motion is filed electronically and, after filing the motion, you contact my chambers or my calendar clerk to request a hearing. If timing is critical and you cannot reach anyone in my chambers or my calendar clerk, you should call the calendar clerk, judicial assistant, or law clerk for one of the other Miami judges. Please note that the mere filing of a motion electronically with the title "Emergency" will not be sufficient to obtain an emergency hearing unless you notify my chambers or my calendar clerk. No scheduling will occur until the motion is filed and reviewed by the Judge. Upon receipt of time and date of hearing, the party setting the hearing must immediately provide notice to opposing counsel by phone, fax, and e-mail and file a certificate of service.

What are your procedures concerning ex parte temporary restraining orders? See Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7065, which with some modification, incorporates Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65.

When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling? No

For which matters is the use of negative notice acceptable? See Local Rules 3007-1(C), 4001(C), 6004(B), 6007-1(B)(1), and 9013-1(D).

What is your preferred method for a party to request a hearing date? Once a motion has been filed, the movant will receive a notice of hearing (either electronically or by mail) setting the motion for hearing. The movant must serve the Notice of Hearing on all applicable parties and file a Certificate of Service with the court.

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)? The Notice of Hearing will indicate whether the hearing is evidentiary or non-evidentiary.

Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? In accordance with Local Rule 9074-1.

Under what circumstances do you require the debtor's attendance at a hearing? No, except when the debtor is subpoenaed, the Court orders the debtor to appear, or appearance is necessary to provide testimony at a contested matter. Debtors must also appear in person or by telephone for hearings to consider approval of reaffirmations if counsel did not sign the agreement.

Do you grant pro hac vice admission on oral request at hearings? I will allow an attorney to appear pro hac vice at the attorney's first appearance before me. Thereafter, the attorney must file a written motion. See Local Rule 2090-1(B)(2).

What is your practice or policy when counsel fails to provide opposing counsel with copies of proposed exhibits prior to hearing or trial? I will sanction the attorney, continue the matter, and/or take appropriate steps to insure the opposing party is not prejudiced.

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? See Local Rule 9019-2. Mediation.

Do you refer settlement conferences to another Bankruptcy Judge? Yes

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)? Not applicable.

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? I have no specific procedures for such use. Arrangements should be made in advance with my calendar clerk or law clerk.

Do you prefer opening statements? Yes

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? Yes

      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”? * Except in the limited circumstances noted earlier, avoid out of court oral or ex parte communications. Do not write letters or call regarding cases. Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9003 prohibits ex parte communications with the judge by any party in interest regarding any matter affecting a particular case.* If possible, please bring proposed orders to hearings. The title of proposed orders should use the words granted or denied. Do not simply state order "on". Also, please refer to the date of the hearing in the first line of the order.* Do not contact chambers or the courtroom deputy for a hearing date and time before your motion has been filed.* Make sure you confer with opposing counsel before you notice a matter for hearing.* You should be familiar with and follow the local rules and the information contained on the court's website.* Please proofread orders which you submit to the Court. Orders with the wrong judge's name or initials, grammatical mistakes or numerous typographical errors reflect poorly on your diligence and professionalism.* Be sure Orders are in the proper formal in accordance with the Court's Guidelines, specifically Part Two: FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS, pg. 2 of 13. The Guidelines can be accessed on the Court's website.* Remember that Local Rule 9019-1 adds certain requirements when you seek approval of settlements on negative notice. Specifically, you must submit a copy of the settlement along with the Local Form "Certificate of No Response or Settlement and Request for Entry of Order" and a proposed order. If the settlement stipulation is voluminous, the basic terms may be described in the Local Form "Certificate of No Response or Settlement and Request for Entry of Order" instead of attaching copies.* When you appear in court, know the specific relief you are seeking. In addition, expect that the Court will ask broader questions about the status of the case or proceeding.* If you upload an agreed order using the e-Orders program on a motion already set for hearing, you must contact Chambers or my calendar clerk so that the hearing can be canceled if I sign the Order.

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:

Survey last modified on 06/02/2009

[Revised: 07-01-2005]