Edwin G Torres
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:
James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 N.E. 4th Street, 10th Floor, Miami, Florida, 33132
Alexandra Block (law clerk)
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?
If no ruling in 90 days, file Rule 7.1(b)(4) notice. If expedited consideration required for good cause, file motion for status conference setting forth good cause.
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?
Usually permit access.
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 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?
attachment to document filed
Should proposed orders be submitted in a format which can be edited, or is a PDF version acceptable?
If proposed order is lengthy, Word or Wordperfect emailed to [email protected].
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 with agent for cross.
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?
If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
Only by referral
Do you require the defendant to be present at status conferences?
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 referral or request
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?
If YES, what do you require?
Discovery stipulations do not require 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?
Expedited consideration with good cause
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?
If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time?
Not at present for non-consent cases. For consent cases, set by motion.
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings?
Only for Scheduling Purposes
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on referred dispositive motions?
Usually granted if requested
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed?
See Court's Scheduling Order (attached)
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?
Discovery hearings currently may only be set by counsel in consent cases (see sample order below). DO NOT rely on out-dated orders found on Google. For referred, non-consent cases do not call chambers; file a motion.
What is your preference regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation?
Court orders mediation; open to alternative methods by agreement.
Do you require counsel to submit a proposed order referring the case to 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?
Approve parties' joint scheduling report and agreed-upon dates
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)?
If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial dates certain?
Agreement of parties
If NO, what is your policy regarding notice for trial during a trial docket (e.g., will you give at least 48 hours' notice)?
Not required for special settings
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?
Agreement of parties
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?
As agreed by parties. Disputes should be raised before trial. Never use an exhibit or demonstrative without opposing counsel's review.
Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire?
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Open to agreement of parties. Otherwise, no more than 15 minutes per side. No arguing.
If NO, can counsel submit proposed voir dire questions?
If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
See Scheduling and Trial Instruction Orders (attached)
What are your peremptory challenge procedures?
Agreement of parties. Usually alternate between parties. Allow backstriking absent agreement.
In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges?
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?
Typically no more than 30 minutes per side
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. Limit objections to evidentiary category. Waived if not contemporaneous with the question.
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?
First day of trial
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"?
Attorneys must consult and comply with Orders and Court Rules. Do NOT wait until one month before discovery cutoff before commencing discovery. Lack of diligence does not constitute good cause for extension of discovery cutoff. In discovery matters, attorneys' failure to communicate usually causes the most problems. Do not certify attempt at conferring with opposing counsel without personally talking with counsel. Emailed requests for conference, with no response, usually are not enough to certify compliance with the Rule. If you take the time to file motions or brief matters for the Court, make sure you reasonably research the issues and cite the relevant cases. Most importantly be courteous to each other.
Do you have any other practice pointers, advice, observations, or suggestions for members of the Bar appearing before you?
In discovery matters, I usually follow Discovery Practices Handbook, included as Appendix to Court's Local Rules. In consent cases, I usually try to accommodate agreement of parties in scheduling and procedures for trial.