Beth Francine Bloom
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:
Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse, 400 North Miami Avenue
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
Law Clerk phone number(s), only if you permit law clerk(s) to receive calls:
Please call main line to be transferred: 305-523-5690
Use of Cell Phones, Laptops, and Other Electronics in Court
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)?
Motion to Strike needs to be filed and the redacted pleading should be filed
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
All sealed documents must be filed with the Clerk's Office
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?
Both are required
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
Proposed order should be submitted in Word format
Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
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 conduct these hearings
Do you take the plea or do you regularly refer plea hearings to a Magistrate Judge?
I take the plea
If YES, when is that deadline?
Friday before 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)
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?
Stipulations, preparation for trial, motions in limine
If YES, what do you require?
If a motion for extension of time is opposed, the certificate of conferral should briefly state the basis of opposition
Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
When requested in advance
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
When requested, if the Court deems necessary
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
At least one week in advance of calendar call
If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures?
The deadlines and procedures are listed in each case's scheduling order
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Mediation is required in all cases
Do you have a procedure for counsel to request referral to a Magistrate Judge for settlement conferences?
Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases?
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?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
On a case-by-case basis
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?
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations?
Equipment is available for use in the courtroom, but if the parties wish to use their own equipment, an motion to allow electronic equipment must be filed
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Proposed questions should be submitted before trial
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Following the calendar call
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?
Instructions provided to jury in advance
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
No speaking objections; only legal basis should be given
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
After the calendar call
Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials?
If counsel anticipates a contested or extensive sentencing hearing, should counsel notify the court?
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?
I conduct the proceedings
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?
Take time to get to know the courtroom and the technology available before your trial or hearing
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners: