Andrea Miles Simonton
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.
Court: Southern District of Florida
Location of chambers: U.S. District Court
Phone: (305) 523-5930
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Courtroom Deputy: Alicia Williams
Phone: (305) 523-5293
Docket Clerk: (assigned to District Judge)
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? Yes
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s)
on procedural matters? Yes
on the status of pending matters?
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, 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?
PRETRIAL PROCEDURE (CRIMINAL)
At bond hearings, do you permit the government to proceed by proffer or do you require a government agent to be present to testify? Government may proceed by proffer; where PTD is sought, government must have agent as witness to verify proffer to be available for examination by defense counsel.
If a proffer is permitted, can the defendant’s counsel call the government case agent and cross-examine him/her? No
If a proffer is permitted, do you prefer that defense counsel present the family of the defendant as witnesses by proffer instead of calling individual witnesses? Yes
What criteria do you apply in determining whether to impose a financial assessment on a defendant for the services of appointed counsel?
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
Do you require the defendant to be present at status conferences?
If YES, do you have the same policy for defendants in custody and for defendants on bond?
Do you have a regular plea deadline?
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? Do not permit.
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?
PRETRIAL PROCEDURE (CIVIL)
Do you issue a standard pretrial order? (Please attach a copy at the end of this survey.)
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? Sometimes.
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?
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?
Do you hear preliminary injunction motions?
If YES, do you permit evidence to be introduced?
Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?
copies of published cases? Yes
copies of unpublished opinions?
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? No
If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time?
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions? Generally hold argument.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? Prior to pre-trial conference, generally with pre-trial stipulation.
Do you receive referrals on discovery matters from a District Judge? Yes
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.)? No
If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures?
When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call your chambers (if the case has been referred for discovery) to seek an immediate ruling? Yes
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation? Require mediation in consent cases.
Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation?
Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases?
Do you automatically set consent cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for 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)? All trials are specially set.
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? Will be specially set.
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? Advise Court and opposing counsel proir to use - resolve issues before jury is called in for the day.
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? Stay behind the lectern
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions? Yes
If YES, when should such questions be submitted? At pre-trial conference.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures? Assuming there are at least 3 preemptory challenges per side left after challenges for cause, each side alternates in eliminating jurors until a panel of eight jurors remain.
In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges?
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared? Depends on case.
Do you allow back striking during jury selection? Yes
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?
Do you allow plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements?
Do you permit jurors to
take notes? Yes
ask questions? Yes
If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? Stand and give legal basis, no speaking objections. Resolve objections which can be anticipated while jury is out of the courtroom - before trial or during a break.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions? The date is set in the scheduling order
Should jury instructions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
When standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions? No
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? The date is set in the scheduling order
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes
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”?
Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you? If you are seeking emergency or expedited relief, serve opposing counsel by hand-delivering or facsimile. Call Chambers prior to sending a facsimile to Chambers.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners:
Sample orders (please include a sample of any scheduling orders), biography, etc.
ORDER DIRECTING PARTIES TO MEDIATION.pdf
ORDER FOLLOWING STATUS AND SCHEDULING CONFERENCE.pdf
ORDER REQUIRING COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL RULE 16.1.pdf
PROPOSED TIME SCHEDULE.pdf
ORDER SETTING PRETRIAL AND TRIAL DATES AND PRETRIAL PROCEDURES.pdf