Roy Kalman Altman
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:
Fort Lauderdale Division
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
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?
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?
Contact CRD/JA first
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.
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?
Email the Proposed Order in Word format to Chambers at [email protected]
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?
Send all proposed orders via email in Word to [email protected]
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
Only send in Word Format
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
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?
Suppression hearings will be scheduled before Judge Altman.
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?
The Plea will be referred to the paired Magistrate Judge for the division in which the case is filed. If needed, the District Judge will take the plea.
If you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge, what circumstances would permit the parties to have a plea hearing before you?
The parties shall request the change of plea hearing be held with the District Judge.
Do you have a regular plea deadline?
If YES, when is that deadline?
The Plea deadline will be the date of the Calendar Call.
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.?
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?
If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time?
No set date and time
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
The parties shall request by motion for all telephone appearances and telephonic hearings.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
The deadline will be 3 weeks prior to the calendar call and will be listed in the scheduling order.
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?
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
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?
No procedure, but requires settlement conferences.
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?
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
To be discussed at the calendar call
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 pretrial conferences?
Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Submit all proposed voire dire questions by the calendar call.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Alternate between parties and no back strikes.
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?
Do you allow back striking during jury selection?
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
If YES, what are the time limits?
To be discussed at the calendar call.
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?
All questions should be written down and reviewed by the Judge and parties first.
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
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?
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
Do you require sentencing memos from the parties?
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
Yes, contact the Courtroom Deputy.
If you are considering an upward departure under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, do you provide notice orally or in writing?
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?
All final hearings of Supervised Release will be heard in front of Judge Altman.
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?
Confer with each other and try to work out the case.