Chris Marie McAliley
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:
C. Clyde Atkins Courthouse, 301 N. Miami Avenue, 6th Floor; Miami, FL 33128
Hearings are usually held on the 6th Floor; parties should check notice of hearing.
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?
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?
The government may proceed by proffer but must have the witness available for cross-examination.
If a proffer is permitted, can the defendant’s counsel call the government case agent and cross-examine him/her?
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
This happens only on referral from the presiding District Court Judge.
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?
At the preliminary pretrial hearings the Court discusses trial date, scheduling and pending motions.
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?
No set procedures.
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Should copies of unpublished opinions cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers?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?
Only if the Court finds that good reason exists for the parties to appear by phone.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
The court generally hears oral argument.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
If the pretrial order does not specify a deadline, motions in limine should be filed prior to the pretrial conference, usually with the pretrial stipulation.
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.)?
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?
Mediation is required in all civil cases.
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?
The Court will first solicit proposed trial dates from counsel.
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?
All trials are specially set.
Do you conduct pretrial conferences?
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?
Counsel must get a prior court order so that the Marshal's service will allow electronics into the courthouse. Any special issues should be raised at the pretrial conference.
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?
That will be addressed with the parties in advance.
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Counsel must ask appropriate questions.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Proposed voir dire questions should be submitted three days before the pretrial conference.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Peremptory challenge procedures are discussed at the pretrial conference.
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared?
The number of peremptory challenges is determined on a case by case basis.
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel's opening statements?
If YES, what are the time limits?
The time for opening statement is determined on a case by case basis.
Do you permit jurors to ask questions?
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
Counsel should not make speaking objections. Objections that can be anticipated should be raised before the jury comes into the courtroom.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
Three days prior to the pretrial conference.
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?
Typically, three days prior to the pretrial conference.
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"?
Counsel's failure to follow local rules, failure to read and follow court orders, filing of frivolous motions (especially for sanctions), failure to make a genuine effort to resolve discovery or scheduling disputes before filing motion, and rudeness towards opposing counsel.