AF Divisional Instructions

DIVISION “AF” UPDATE

Judge Carolyn Bell is now presiding over Division AF in Courtroom 9D.

Beginning January 3, 2023- EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

REMOTE AND IN PERSON APPEARANCES:

All  UMC’s, Calendar Calls, and Case Management Conferences will be conducted via Zoom on the Divisional AF Zoom link:

Zoom Link:   https://zoom.us/join

Meeting ID: 930 3054 1310

Toll Free: (877) 853-5257

                (888) 475-4499

All other matters will be held IN PERSON unless specific permission has been obtained from the Court for remote appearance and a private, individual Zoom Link has been sent by the Court to the parties. 

Counsel may seek permission for any unopposed remote appearance for any attorneys, litigants or witnesses by sending an email to the Divisional mailbox at CAD-DivisionAF@pbcgov.org and JA Breanne Perry at BPerry1@pbcgov.org , copied to all counsel of record and pro se litigants.  Any email requests that do not include all counsel of record and pro se litigants will not be considered.  Please include in your email the reason remote appearance is requested, and confirm there is no opposition.  Any requests that are opposed may be requested via motion and scheduled on the Court’s UMC calendar. 

DOCUMENT DELIVERY:

The Division requests that both hard copies and electronic copies of all documents pertinent to any matter scheduled before the Court be emailed and delivered to chambers, either via U.S. Mail or courier and/or hand-delivery, at least five (5) days prior to any hearing or trial.  If the hard copy documents are not received on time, your hearing will be canceled.

CONTACTING CHAMBERS:

For any case related matters, please contact chambers by sending an email to the Divisional mailbox at CAD-DivisionAF@pbcgov.org and JA Breanne Perry at BPerry1@pbcgov.org , copied to all counsel of record and pro se litigants.  Any emails that do not include all counsel of record and pro se litigants will not be considered.  Emails should be limited to scheduling and other administrative matters.  Please do not include any substantive matters when communicating with chambers outside of Court – substantive matters may be addressed via motion.    

 

ALL OTHER DIVISIONAL INSTRUCTIONS REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

DIVISION “AF” UPDATE

Beginning October 1, 2021

All Special Set hearings, Evidentiary hearings, Non-Jury trials, Calendar Calls, and including Mandatory Case Management Court ordered hearings, will be in person, unless motion for relief has been filed, heard and granted by the Court.

ALL UMC hearings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will continue to be conducted  at 8:30 a.m. by Zoom, until further notice.


Starting Immediately:

UMC HEARINGS AND SPECIAL SET HEARING

If the Court does not receive courtesy hard copies for your scheduled Motions (UMC or Special Set), the Court will not have the matter heard and/or the Court will Deny the moving Parties request for relief.


The Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) for Civil Division "AF" will only be held Tuesday - Thursday at 8:30am - 9:30am. There will be no Monday UMC docket and no UMC docket on calendar call days;  7/14/2021; 8/25/2021; 10/06/2021; 11/17/2021.


Delivery of Documents

All paperwork for the Judge's review (courtesy copies of notice of hearings, memos of law, briefs, responses, case law, etc..) must either be sent to the Judge's office via U.S. regular mail, FedEx, UPS, or via hand-delivery (to the 1st floor drop box) in the main courthouse. All courtesy copies to be reviewed by the Court has to be received in-house no later than 5 business days before the hearing scheduled. Our office does not accept the foregoing via e-mail. (If the Court does not receive courtesy hard copies in Chambers for the hearing scheduled, the hearing WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.)

Civil Division "AF" online scheduling is for UMC Hearings and SPECIAL SET HEARINGS ONLY (15 or 30 minute hearings). Please visit the the Online Services to schedule a special set hearing. Beginning April 15, 2020 ALL UMC hearings (5 minutes or less) are TO BE scheduled via the online scheduling system in Online Services .

On rare exceptions the Division will accept e-mailed copies of documents, however, you must obtain permission prior to sending documents in that fashion.

UMC Zoom Meeting ID  93030541310 Password 105073  (877-853-5257 -  888-475-4499)

ALL UMC HEARINGS ARE TO BE SCHEDULED THROUGH THE 15th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT'S ONLINE SCHEDULING SYSTEM THROUGH  ONLINE SERVICES  and conducted via ZOOM - PLEASE READ BELOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Judge Bell's Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) is Tuesday - Thursday and begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 9:30 a.m. All hearings are held in Courtroom 9D.

All non-evidentiary motions, uncontested motions, etc.. can be set for a 10 minute hearing (5 minutes per side) that DO NOT require testimony. Please DO NOT scheduled Motions to Dismiss for UMC as they are not considered 10 minute motions. UMC hearings are scheduled through the 15th Judicial Circuit's Online Scheduling System through Online Services  by the moving party, picking any Tuesday - Thursday that the Court is not suspended and that the parties (opposing counsel and/or pro se party) agree on. The attorney/moving party setting the hearing should ALWAYS clear the date chosen with opposing counsel/opposing party and immediately notify opposing counsel and/or the pro se party and Judicial Assistant if the hearing is cancelled and/or reset. (If the Court does not receive courtesy hard copies in Chambers for the hearing scheduled, the hearing WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.)

The original Motion and Notice of Hearing must be filed at least 5 working days in advance of the UMC hearing date, with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, MUST be uploaded when setting hearing and a courtesy hard copy MUST be sent to opposing counsel and Judge Bell's Judicial Assistant (send to the Judicial Assistant via U.S. regular mail - courtesy copies must be sent U.S. regular mail, NOT e-mail) . The Judicial Assistant will NOT be printing documents for parties unless otherwise ordered by the Judge.

If a matter has been scheduled on the UMC docket and it was resolved, re-set or cancelled, Parties need to make sure to cancel the Hearing Online. If no one appears at a scheduled UMC hearing, the Court assumes that the issue was resolved between the parties or a conflict exists, and that the Motion will be reset for hearing if need be. Please DO NOT CALL the Judicial Assistant to Cancel the UMC for you. However, please do contact the Judicial Assistant to advise that the hearing has been resolved/ reset or cancelled.

The judicial assistant strongly encourages you to check Judge Bell's suspension dates before scheduling any UMC hearing. View the Suspension Calendar .

Please be advised that motion for attorney's fees; motion for summary judgment and any evidentiary motion should not be set and/or addressed with the Judge at uniform motion calendar. These types of motions must be set for a special set hearing.

Motions that Require a 15 or 30 Minute Hearing

Online Services

These are special set hearings that MUST be scheduled through the 15th Judicial Circuit's Online Scheduling System through Online Services  (OLS).

These are motions that cannot be heard on the Uniform Motion Calendar because they require testimony and are longer than 10 minutes in duration. The moving attorney shall coordinate a mutually agreeable date and time with opposing counsel/pro se party and shall prepare the appropriate Notice of Hearing for said hearing. The original Motion and Notice of Hearing must be filed at least 5 working days in advance of the special set hearing date, with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, and a courtesy copy MUST be sent to opposing counsel and Judge Bell's Judicial Assistant (send to the Judicial Assistant via U.S. regular mail - courtesy copies must be sent U.S. regular mail, to be received in Chambers 5 business days before the special set hearing, NOT e-mail). If courtesy copies are not received by the court at least 5 days before the hearing date, the motion scheduled will be DENIED by the Court. On rare exceptions the Division will accept e-mailed copies of documents, however, you must obtain permission prior to sending documents in that fashion.

You CANNOT cancel a Special Set hearing once the hearing date and time has been secured. The ONLY way a special set hearing can be cancelled (absent an extreme emergency) is if the Motion has been RESOLVED and/or WITHDRAWN with Prejudice. The judicial assistant can cancel a special set hearing ONLY after the appropriate motions for continuation/ cancellation have been heard and Orders have been entered by the Court. If the special set motion has been resolved and/or withdrawn with prejudice, then you MUST CALL (not email) the judicial assistant to request to cancel the special set hearing. If a 60 minute Special Set Hearing is required please contact the Judicial Assistant for availability.

Motions that Require 60 Minute or More Hearing Time

The online scheduling system will only allow you to schedule a hearing for a 30 minute maximum time limit for one case only. Do not schedule 60 minute hearings without calling the Judicial Assistant first . If the motion requires 60 minutes, please call the Judicial Assistant for dates and times available, since they are calendared in a specific time slot. If your motion requires more than 60 minutes of hearing time, the moving party is required to send (by mail) the Judicial Assistant, a cover letter with a copy of the Motion, indicating to the Judge how much hearing time they are requesting. Upon Judge Bell's review, she will then determine how much time will be allotted for said Motion. Please be advised that lengthy motions are put on a trial docket with a calendar call date and time to be provided to the parties, via Court Order. Telephonic appearance is not permitted.

Agreed Orders

If a Motion(s) is resolved, an Agreed Order on that Motion(s) can be submitted to the Judge's office and the Order must say "Agreed Order on Motion (Title of Motion)". The Agreed Order MUST be sent to be uploaded via OLS , NOT via e-mail or U.S Mail . Please be sure to include (attach) a cover letter/cover sheet and Motion to the Judge indicating the all parties have reviewed and agreed to the language of the proposed Agreed Order. If any supporting attachment is missing (cover letter or motion) the Order will be rejected for correction . The names and addresses of all persons receiving copies must appear in the Agreed Order, pursuant to Administrative Order 2.306 .

Proposed Orders/Final Judgments

All proposed Orders and Final Judgments submitted for the Judge's signature must say "Order on Motion (Title of Motion) or Final Judgment". All Orders/Final Judgments MUST be uploaded with cover letter and/ or supporting attachments through OLS , NOT via e-mail or U.S mail . This is a directive of the Supreme Court AOSC19-74 (Paper Orders are no longer accepted for signature by the Court).   Please be sure to submit proposed orders electronically within 24 hrs. after the Court's ruling on the matter. The names and addresses of all persons receiving copies must appear in the Order or Final Judgment, pursuant to Administrative Order 2.306 .

Notices to Set Cause for Trial

The moving party must file with the Clerk of Court, the original Notice for Trial with their estimated time of trial, and whether the case is to be set for a non-jury or jury trial. A courtesy copy of the Notice should be sent via U.S. regular mail (Do Not e-mail) to the Judicial Assistant for the setting of a trial date. To determine when Civil Division AF is currently scheduling lengthy motions, non-jury trials and jury trials, please click on the "Trial Calendar" icon on the left side of this homepage. Please note: If a courtesy copy of the Notice for Trial is not mailed and received by the Judicial Assistant, a Trial Order will not be sent.

Motions for Default Final Judgment

When submitting a proposed Default Final Judgment packet to the Judge's office for her review and entry of the Default Final Judgment, please be sure to include the following courtesy copies for the Judge's review: a cover letter, the Motion for Default Final Judgment, all Affidavits in support of the Default Final Judgment, a Non-Military Affidavit, a Affidavit of Costs and Interest, the Default that was entered by the Clerk of Court, the Return of Service, and the Complaint.

Motions to Continue Trial

A Motion to Continue Trial MUST be set for a UMC hearing (even if said Motion is agreed to by all parties). Please see the instructions above in regards to the setting of UMC hearings on Judge Bell's calendar. Judge Bell will NOT sign an Agreed Order Granting a Motion to Continue Trial.

Withdrawal of Counsel and Stipulation for Substitution of Counsel

All Motions to Withdraw must be set for a UMC hearing, with proper notice to the client, per Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.505(f)(i), and all parties/attorneys.

Stipulations for substitution of counsel: All Stipulations for Substitution of Counsel MUST have the signature of the client's consent on the Stipulation. If your client's consent is not included, all documents will be sent back to the moving party, in order for the client's consent to be obtained on the Stipulation.

Ex-parte motions to compel discovery: No hearing is necessary if the Motion is in compliance with Administrative Order 3.202 . The moving attorney must submit the Motion and Order using Online Services  (OLS) for electronic review and electronic signature.

Emergency Motions/Request for Emergency Hearings

File your original emergency Motion with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division. The Clerk's Office will then forward to Judge Bell, or an alternate Judge in her absence, for review and directive to determine whether an emergency hearing should be scheduled. DO NOT set an Emergency Motion for hearing unless directed to do so by the Court's Judicial Assistant.

Motions for Rehearing/Clarification and Motions for New Trial

In accordance with Local Rule No. 6, file your original Motion for Rehearing/Clarification with the Clerk of Court, Civil Division, and forward a copy, via U.S. regular mail, to the Judicial Assistant for the Judge's review and directive to determine whether a hearing should be scheduled. DO NOT set a Motion for Rehearing/Clarification for hearing unless directed to do so by the Court's Judicial Assistant. Motions for New Trial should be submitted in the same manner as described above, and the Judge will determine the amount of time needed for the hearing. DO NOT set a Motion for New Trial for hearing.

Preparation of Judgments and Orders

Some portion of the text of the Judgment or Order specific to the case MUST be included on Judge Bell's signature page. PLEASE include the style of the case, the case number and the page number in the upper left-hand corner for Judgments and Orders more than one page. The Judgment or Order WILL be sent back to the moving attorney if the signature page of the Judgment or Order only includes the Judge's signature line and is not in compliance with Administrative Order 3.204 .

Settlement, Dismissal or Stay of Cases

If your case settles, is voluntarily dismissed, or stayed, and there are future hearings or a trial scheduled on the Court's docket, PLEASE CALL the Court's Judicial Assistant immediately to inform her of same, so the Court can cancel all scheduled hearings and/or the trial, in order to free up hearing/trial time for other cases to be set.

Final Orders of Dismissal

Final Orders of Dismissal shall be uploaded via OLS , NOT via e-mail or U.S Mail and should have Attached the signed Stipulation by parties . Any orders uploaded with no stipulation attached WILL Be REJECTED for Correction.