The Florida Bar

Judicial Practice Survey

Elizabeth A Kovachevich

District Judge

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:

U.S. Courthouse - 17th Floor 801 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33702

Assigned Courtroom:




Chambers Staff

Judicial Assistant/Secretary:

Chris Brook



Courtroom Deputy:

Cindy Leigh-Martin



Court Reporter:

Sandra K. Lee



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?


Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?


Do you conduct hearings on pretrial motions to dismiss or to sever?


What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?

Take them.

What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?

Take them under advisement.

Pretrial Procedure (Civil)

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16?


If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?

Yes where required but generally No. Case management issues and deadlines

Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?

File and then contact chambers to implement, as Court so determines.

Do you hear preliminary injunction motions?


If NO, do you routinely refer preliminary injunctions for report and recommendation by a Magistrate Judge?


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Should copies of unpublished cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?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?

Generally do not allow telephonic hearings.

What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?

Resolved on paper unless Court sets hearing for oral presentation.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?


If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?

If appropriate, but generally addressed at trial. To comply with pre-trial notice, or to comply with supplemental pre-trial notice.


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.)?


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?



If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?

Rarely. Availability of military witnesses, and length of trial.

If NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)?

Depends on day of week notice is given and whether counsel can be ready to go in less than 24 hours.

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?

Discussion with counsel or parties.

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?

May require supplemental pre-trial to resolve objections, including depositions, prior to trial.

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?


Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?


Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?


If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?

Follow Court's oral instructions to them.

If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?


What are your peremptory challenge procedures?

Depends on case, whether criminal/civil and how many sides.

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?

No, decided on a case by case basis.

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?


Can exhibits be used in opening statements?


Do you permit jurors to take notes?


Do you permit jurors to ask questions?


If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?

Absolutely not.

What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?

State rule and objection. If necessary, ask for sidebar.

When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?

During beginning trial in criminal cases and at pretrial conference in civil cases.

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?

When appropriate in the given case.

General Advice

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"?

1. Be prepared. 2. Be considerate of opposing counsel, chambers staff, and, Court. 3. Be professional (Officers of the Court).

Revised: 06-12-2018