Bruce Edward Reinhart
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:
West Palm Beach
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?
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)?
Immediately file a motion to seal the incorrect document, then refile a correct document.
Do you have a preferred method governing the filing of sealed documents?
Follow Local Rule 5.4 required procedures. If possible, file a redacted version in the public record.
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?
Email to [email protected] with cc: to opposing counsel
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?
Proffer followed by cross-examination
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?
What criteria do you apply in determining whether to impose a financial assessment on a defendant for the services of appointed counsel?
Totality of the defendant's individual financial circumstances.
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?
Do you require the defendant to be present at status conferences?
Pretrial Procedure (Civil)
Do you issue a standard pretrial order?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings?
Confidentiality Orders, Orders under Fed. R. Evid. 502, Discovery dispute resolution procedures, ESI protocol, Magistrate Judge consent
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?
For any non-evidentiary hearing and for evidentiary hearings at the Court's discretion. I also conduct hearings by video teleconference.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Generally grant oral argument if requested by a party. One lawyer can argue per issue, but see below regarding participation by less-experienced lawyers.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
As required by the applicable scheduling order.
I encourage participation by less experienced lawyers. If a party notifies the Court that a less-experienced attorney will argue a motion, the Court will grant oral argument. Also, in those instances, the Court will allow multiple lawyers to argue for a single party.
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?
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?
If the parties consent, I will conduct the fairness hearing.
A friendly reminder that parties are always free to resolve the case without mediation.
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?
I allow the parties to propose their own scheduling order, including a trial date.
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
All consent cases.
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?
Except for items to be used on cross-examination, all such exhibits must be disclosed in advance to opposing counsel
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Do you have any requirements for trial briefs?
Parties can file them if they want, but I do not require them.
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
I generally allow up to 30 minutes per side for voir dire after the Court conducts general questioning. Parties can submit proposed questions for the Court to ask as part of the general questioning.
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
No back striking
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared?
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?
No speaking objections.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions?
First day of 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?
After the evidence is heard.
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically?
Microsoft Word format
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"?
Personal attacks on opposing parties or counsel. The Court is here to resolve legal issues, not pass judgment on personal behavior unless that behavior is directly tied to the legal issue (such as a motion for sanctions).
Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?
Read my pretrial order and standing discovery order. They are intended to help. Tell me (1) the issue you want me to decide, (2) the relief you want, and (3) why you should get it. Please use Westlaw cites, not Lexis.
Links to your court's webpage with information about your practices or other links you recommend for practitioners: