Mary S Scriven
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.
Name of Court:
Middle District of Florida
Location of Chambers:
Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Contact Clerk's Office
Communication with Chambers
Do you permit contact with chambers regarding questions of procedure?
Do you permit contact with chambers regarding the status of pending matters?
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s) on procedural matters?
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerks(s) on the status of pending matters?
The answer will always be: “The judge is aware of the pending motion and counsel will be notified as soon as an Order is docketed.”
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?
Contact 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.
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)?
Contact Clerk’s Office.
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
No. Follow Local Rule 1.09
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?
Do you prefer that (non-trial) exhibits and depositions be filed conventionally as well as on CM/ECF?
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?
Proposed orders should be attached to documents filed in CM/ECF and a Word version should be emailed to Chambers at [email protected].
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
PDF is not acceptable. Please submit proposed orders to Chambers email in Word format.
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
At the final pretrial conference, I will inquire as to the status of the case; any issues regarding witnesses, or exhibits; the estimated length of trial, pretrial motions, such as motions in limine; and scheduling matters.
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 conduct suppression hearings or do you refer them to a Magistrate Judge?
I personally conduct them, if necessary.
Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever?
Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge?
Refer to Magistrate Judge.
If you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge, what circumstances would permit the parties to have a plea hearing before you?
If there are unusual circumstances or if a Party specifically requests it.
Do you have a regular plea deadline?
If YES, when is that deadline?
The plea deadline is typically determined by the U.S. Attorney’s Office
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
Do you have any special procedures regarding plea agreements for individuals who are cooperating with the government, e.g., sealed plea agreements, etc.?
Sealed plea agreements are permitted in appropriate circumstances.
What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
Do you issue a standard pretrial order?
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16?
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?
Other than as required by Local Rules, do you prefer that the moving parties submit proposed orders along with non-dispositive motions?
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 published cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?
Should copies of unpublished cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?
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?
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
In emergencies and if counsel is out-of-town.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Counsel should file a motion for a hearing and the Court will grant, if appropriate.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
The deadline to file motions in limine is provided in the Court’s Case Management and Scheduling Order.
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.)?
If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures?
FLSA, ADA, ERISA, Patent Infringement. The deadlines and procedures are set forth in the Scheduling Orders for those cases.
Do you routinely refer discovery matters to a Magistrate Judge?
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?
Contact Magistrate Judge’s chambers.
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
The Court requires all civil cases to participate in mediation except those listed in Local Rule 9.03(a).
Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation?
Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences?
If the Parties desire to mediate with a Magistrate Judge, they should file a motion.
Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases?
Yes. The Court’s FLSA Scheduling Order describes these procedures.
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?
Civil cases are set for a trial term in the Court’s Case Management and Scheduling Order, which is typically based on the Parties’ Joint Case Management Report.
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
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)?
Counsel should be prepared to go to trial at any date during the trial term on which the matter is set absent a specially set trial date. The Court will give at least 24 hours’ notice of the date certain trial date.
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?
The matter will be rescheduled to the next trial term.
Do you conduct pretrial conferences?
Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Contact Courtroom Deputy for instructions.
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
If you require trial briefs, when are they due?
Deadline is provided in the Court’s Case Management and Scheduling Order.
Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
A single, jointly proposed set of voir dire questions must be attached to the Parties’ Joint Final Pretrial Statement. The deadline for submitting the Joint Final Pretrial Statement is provided in the Court’s Case Management and Scheduling Order.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
The Parties alternate between peremptory strikes. Back strikes are permitted, but once counsel passes on the panel, he or she can no longer strike a venire member.
In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges?
Do you allow back striking during jury selection?
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
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?
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?
Jurors may ask questions of witnesses via handwritten notes.
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
Stand and state general basis/rule for objection. Speaking objections are not permitted. If further explanation is needed, counsel may request a sidebar consultation.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
A single, jointly proposed set of jury instructions must be attached to the Parties’ Joint Final Pretrial Statement, the deadline for submission for which is provided in the Court’s Case Management and 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?
Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials?
If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
The deadline is provided in the Court’s Case Management and Scheduling Order.
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
They should be emailed to: [email protected] in Word format.
Do you require sentencing memos from the parties?
If YES, what is the deadline for filing a sentencing memo?
No later than ten (10) business days prior to the date of the sentencing hearing.
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
Yes, counsel should contact the Courtroom Deputy if the hearing is anticipated to take longer than thirty (30) minutes.
If you are considering an upward departure under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, do you provide notice orally or in writing?
No, no one has ever asked me that question. I will grant a continuance if counsel is reasonably unprepared to address a sentencing issue that arising during sentencing.
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 the hearing.
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?
Be concise in your briefing of issues. Be nice to my staff when calling chambers. Speaking to them is speaking to me.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners:
See Court's webpage via above link.