Gregory Joseph Kelly
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:
Email address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions):
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 clerk(s) on procedural matters?
May counsel contact chambers to speak with your law clerk(s) on the status of pending matters?
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?
See Local Rule 4.11(b) prohibiting same unless motion if filed and granted.
Is there a designated court staff person to contact relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs?
Check with Clerk of Court and U.S. Marshall's office for procedures governing same and check with Clerk of Court regarding availability of any court-owned equipment you seek to use.
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?
A motion with a supporting affidavit and memorandum of law are required. The motion must comply with Local Rule 1.09. The moving party must satisfy the Eleventh Circuit's balancing test, which weighs the public's right of access against the parties' interest in concealing the specific information at issue.
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?
Attach proposed orders to the motion and send them by e-mail to chambers in Word format.
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
Pretrial Detention/Pretrial Procedure (Criminal)
At bond hearings, do you permit the government to proceed by proffer or do you require a government agent to be present to testify?
If a proffer is permitted, can the defendant’s counsel call the government case agent and cross-examine him/her?
If a proffer is permitted, do you prefer that defense counsel present the family of the defendant as witnesses by proffer instead of calling individual witnesses?
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 have a regular plea deadline?
If NO, is a plea deadline set at pretrial conferences?
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?
They are non-binding.
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?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?
Upon request pretrial conferences will be held to address all matters relating to the speedy, orderly and efficient disposition of the case.
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 opinions 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?
Upon motion such requests are routinely granted.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Generally oral argument is allowed when it is requested.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
See Case Management Order in your case.
Do you receive referrals on discovery matters from a District Judge?
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.)?
If YES, what types of cases and what are the deadlines or procedures?
Specialized Case Management Orders are entered in ADA, FLSA, ERISA and Social Security Cases.
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?
Only after a good faith effort has been made to resolve the matter and only when an immediate ruling may help avoid additional delay and/or expense.
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Mediation is routinely required.
Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation?
Do you have any special procedures for the settlement of FLSA cases?
Yes. The standard FLSA Case Management Order requires early settlement discussions. In addition, any settlement must be reviewed for fairness.
Do you automatically set consent cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for trial?
Trial is scheduled based on dates set forth in the parties' Case Management Report.
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
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?
Schedule is discussed with counsel and case is set for a date certain.
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?
If you require trial briefs, when are they due?
See Case Management Order. Usually 10-14 days prior to trial.
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Generally the judge conducts voir dire, but in an appropriate case the parties may wish to file a motion for permission to conduct voir dire setting forth the basis for their request and the type of questions they propose asking.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
See Case Management Order.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
After the entire panel is qualified, the parties may exercise peremptory challenges.
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?
However, each party with a separate or antagonistic interest in the case is ordinarily allowed peremptory challenges.
Do you allow back striking during jury selection?
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
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?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
Keep sidebars to a minimum. Often such matters can be addressed before or after the jury is excused.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
See Case Management Order. Ordinarily 10-14 days before 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?
If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
However, I don't mind receiving them.
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
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"?
Be prepared, be courteous and effectively manage your time.
Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?
If you are going to provide me with voluminous notebooks of exhibits or case law, please use them. Otherwise, save the trees.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners: