William J Zloch
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:
299 E. Broward Boulevard, 202B Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Barbara L. Coats
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?
What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
The court does not accept nolo contendere or Alford pleas.
What is your policy as to plea agreements that involve sentencing recommendations?
They are recommendations only and the Court is not bound by any sentencing recommendation.
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?
Certain motions may be set for oral argument to assist the parties.
Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders?
They are handled in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures.
Do you hear preliminary injunction motions?
Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions?
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Oral argument is rarely held.
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?
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
If the case is complex and involves numerous witnesses, especially out of state.
If NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)?
The parties are deemed to be on standby and ready for trial. The Court strives to accommodate the lawyers and parties in a reasonable manner.
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?
Lawyers are to meet prior to trial and agree on portions of tapes and depositions to be used at 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?
Prior to jury selection or start of trial.
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
The question should go strictly to the qualification of the panel member to serve as a juror.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Prior to jury selection.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Exercised in open court at counsels table.
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 impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
Can exhibits be used in opening statements?
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
The lawyer should stand and state the legal basis for the objection only. The lawyer should refrain from using an objection as an opportunity to make a speech before the jury that it would otherwise not hear.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
Prior to commencement of jury selection
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?
Prior to commencement of bench trial.