A Jay Cristol
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:
Southern District of Florida
Location of Chambers:
51 SW First Ave., #1412, Miami, FL
Communication with Chambers
Do you permit contact with chambers regarding questions of procedure?
If YES, what do you require?
Yes. Continuances for hearings on motion calendars may be requested by an agreed motion for continuance filed with a proposed order. If the parties do not agree, the motion for continuance will be set for hearing. Continuances for specially set matters will not be continued absent extraordinary circumstances, and such continuances will not be granted ex parte without a hearing even if agreed. Pretrial conferences for adversary proceedings are permitted only one continuance, and such continuance will not be granted ex parte without a hearing even if agreed. An agreed enlargement of time will be granted unless it interferes with a hearing or trial date. See Local Rule 5071-1.
Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers for published cases?
Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers for unpublished opinions?
If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies that have portions highlighted by counsel?
When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling?
For which matters is the use of negative notice acceptable?
See Local Rules 3007-1(C), 4001-1(C), 6004-1(B), 6007-1(B)(1), and 9013-1(D).
What is your preferred method for a party to request a hearing date?
In most cases, upon the filing of a motion, parties will be notified of a hearing by a court-generated notice or order. In emergency situations, the courtroom deputy will contact counsel by telephone, and counsel will be instructed to provide notice by telephone and fax to all interested parties.
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)?
An evidentiary hearing is one in which there is a fact in dispute. Typically, the initial hearing on a motion will not be evidentiary but rather preliminary. Evidentiary hearings or motions that will take in excess of fifteen minutes must be specially set and will not be heard during motion calendar. It is the responsibility of the party setting the hearing to determine the availability of the parties. The courtroom deputy will not act as a middleman to clear dates for parties who do not confer with each other. Failure of counsel to confer with one another before setting hearings may result in the hearing not going forward as scheduled.
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
Telephonic appearances are permitted for routine matters but are not permitted for evidentiary hearings or for matters on a Chapter 13 calendar. Requests to appear at a hearing by telephone should be made exclusively by calling the courtroom deputy at least two business days prior to the hearing. Permission to appear by telephone is granted on a case by case basis. If the courtroom deputy receives multiple requests for a telephone hearing in a particular matter, then the parties may be required to arrange an "800" number conference call so that more than one party can participate. Telephone hearings during a motion calendar may be heard at the end of the calendar, after all other matters [scheduled at that time] are heard.
Under what circumstances do you require the debtor's attendance at a hearing?
All hearings when the debtor is pro se (except for hearings on reaffirmation agreements which may be heard by telephone); all evidentiary hearings; when the debtor is subpoenaed, and for significant hearings in Chapter 11 cases.
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?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
Motions in limine should 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?
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
Do you require trial briefs?
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"?
I do not entertain any 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. At the hearing on a motion, be prepared to present an order on the motion for entry by the Court should the Court grant the relief requested. 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/time if your motion has not 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. Remember that Local Rule 9019-1 adds certain requirements when you seek approval of settlements on negative notice. Specifically, you must either attach a copy of the settlement to the Certificate of No Response or describe the basic terms of the settlement in the Certificate.