Caryl Emerson Delano
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 M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse, 801 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33602-3899
Tina Mason, Case Management Team Supervisor
Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:
Dana Robbins - 813-301-5196, [email protected]
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?
Courtroom Deputy, Lisa Mills
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)?
Motion to redact.
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
It depends on the circumstances. Please contact the law clerk to coordinate filing.
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?
For the procedure regarding submission of proposed orders, please go to http://www.flmb.uscourts.gov/procedures/. Please be sure to reference the docket number of the underlying motion, and if the motion was set for hearing, include the date and time of the hearing in the order.
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
If requested by the Court, proposed orders should be submitted in a format which can be edited.
Non-trial exhibits need be filed as separate docket entries only if they are numerous.
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?
Any one of five methods: 1) File an agreed or joint motion signed by both parties; 2) File a motion in which one party represents that the party's counsel has obtained consent of the other party; 3) File a consent by the opposing party; 4) Submit an agreed order signed by both parties (endorsement under a legend stating "Approved as to form and content" or "Agreed for entry"); or 5) Submit an order that recites in the preamble that by submitting the order, you are representing that the other parties have agreed to the form and content of the order: "By submission of this order for entry, the submitting counsel represents that the opposing party consents to its entry."
If YES, what do you require?
A first request for continuance where the opposing party consents will typically be granted ex parte, depending on the nature of the continuance being sought. A second request may be set for hearing, again depending on the nature of the continuance being sought. Importantly, a motion for continuance must recite that counsel has discussed the proposed continuance with opposing counsel, and whether there is any objection to the continuance (see Local Rule 5071-1). Remember to submit a proposed order along with your request for a continuance. Also, if it is a last-minute request, call and let the courtroom deputy know before filing the motion that you are seeking a continuance.
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?
It depends on the circumstances, including the specific rule involved.
What do you consider to be an emergency matter?
Situations involving imminent loss of property rights or irreparable injury; first-day motions in chapter 11 cases.
How does one request emergency relief?
In accordance with the local rules. Submit a motion and certificate of necessity, and the Judge will review them. See M.D. Fla. L.B.R. 9004-2. You will then be contacted by the Courtroom Deputy.
What are your procedures concerning ex parte temporary restraining orders?
The Court will consider ex parte temporary restraining orders if they are in compliance with Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For guidance, the Middle District of Florida's rules to be very comprehensive and encourage attorneys to follow them when seeking temporary restraining orders. U.S. Dist.Ct.Rules M.D. Fla., Rules 4.05 and 4.06.
For which matters is the use of negative notice acceptable?
The use of the negative notice procedure is highly encouraged. The Court's list of papers that may be filed using negative notice is maintained on the Court's website, www.flmb.uscourts.gov.
What is your preferred method for a party to request a hearing date?
In most instances, upon filing of a motion, parties will be notified by a court-generated notice or order setting a hearing. In the case of emergency hearings, the courtroom deputy will contact movant's counsel; counsel is typically instructed to provide notice by telephone, email, and fax.
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
See my Policy on Telephonic Appearances, posted at www.flmb.uscourts.gov.
Under what circumstances do you require the debtor's attendance at a hearing?
All hearings when the debtor is pro se; hearings on reaffirmation agreements when debtor's counsel has not signed the agreement; all evidentiary hearings; and significant hearings in Chapter 11 cases. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 debtors' attendance at significant hearings is highly recommended.
What is your practice or policy when counsel fails to provide opposing counsel with copies of proposed exhibits prior to hearing or trial?
It depends on potential prejudice, which may result in a continuance and possible imposition of sanctions. The Court may also deny admission of exhibits in some circumstances.
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
As far in advance as possible and as appropriate.
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Mediation (but not non-binding arbitration) is encouraged. I will readily grant motions by either party and, at times, order mediation sua sponte.
Preliminary hearings are generally non-evidentiary. Pro hac vice admission requested will be granted on an interim basis to be followed by written motion pursuant to Local Rule 2090-1(c)(1).
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Call the Courtroom Deputy no later than 48 hours prior to trial or final evidentiary hearing to coordinate.
If you require trial briefs, when are they due?
Prior to trial
Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?
The Court recommends opening statements in complex cases. In other cases, the Court will permit opening statements if counsel believes they are necessary. Although trial briefs are not required, they are recommended in complex cases. The Court will conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial if requested.
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"?
Please call Chambers when a matter is settled. Otherwise, valuable time is expended by the Judge and Chambers staff, which is wasteful of court resources. Counsel should prepare exhibits in compliance with M.D. Fla. Local Rule 9070-1. For further guidance, see Judge Williamson's Practice Pointers for Lawyers, also posted at www.flmb.uscourts.gov.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners: