The following information is intended to address frequently asked questions or other information that may be useful when practicing before the Honorable Patrick M. Hunt, United States Magistrate Judge. The information is not intended to be exhaustive or necessarily applicable in every case. In addition, the information is subject to change at any time, whether or not reflected on this web page, and should not be cited for precedential value in any case. Each case before Judge Hunt will be addressed on a case-by-case basis to best suit the litigants, the Judge, and the Court as a whole. When in doubt, all litigants should govern themselves according to the applicable federal rules of procedure, case law, local rules, and any prior orders entered in the case.
Chambers Contact Information
United States Courthouse
299 E. Broward Blvd, Room 205E
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Assigned Courtroom: Varies
Email Address (only for proposed orders or jury instructions): firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtroom Deputy: Debbie Blay
Career Law Clerk: Shari Lefton
Law Clerk:Adam Hapner
Only counsel of record may contact chambers. However, absent a true emergency, counsel of record shall not contact chambers to ask questions concerning the status of pending matters.
Counsel is advised to 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. With respect to parties who are seeking to use cell phones, laptops, or other electronics in a hearing or trial before Judge Hunt, those parties shall also file in the case a motion requesting such permission. As to all other questions relating to the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs in proceedings scheduled before Judge Hunt, please contact Debbie Blay (see contact information above).
If counsel electronically files a document that inadvertently contains personal information (as prohibited by Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2), counsel shall file a motion to strike the pleading and a redacted pleading shall be filed in its place.
Non-trial exhibits may be filed as attachments to the document they support (rather than as separate docket entries). However, exhibits filed as attachments shall be specifically labeled to identify the content of the exhibit (i.e., not solely by number or letter).
When filing documents with multiple attachments, the document must be filed so that it is displayed with bookmarks within the PDF image.
Non-trial exhibits and depositions may be filed solely through CM/ECF (rather than conventionally in addition to CM/ECF).
Proposed orders shall be submitted as an attachment to documents filed in CM/ECF and by email to: email@example.com. Proposed orders submitted by email shall be submitted in a format that can be edited, preferably Microsoft Word.
For all criminal duty matters, including scheduling and the transmission of documents, please contact Debbie Blay (see contact information above).
Judge Hunt generally issues a standard pretrial scheduling order (see example under Sample Orders).
Judge Hunt conducts preliminary pretrial hearings on matters including, but not limited to, pretrial conferences, Daubert hearings, and motions in limine. For Daubert hearings, Judge Hunt requires the presence of the challenged expert witness(es). Motions in limine should be filed prior to trial, when practicable.
Judge Hunt does not have any additional 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.
Judge Hunt does not have any additional requirements, beyond those found in the federal rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders.
Judge Hunt generally hears preliminary injunction motions. In such cases, Judge Hunt permits evidence to be introduced.
Copies of published cases cited in motions and memoranda should not be forwarded to chambers.
Judge Hunt may permit telephonic hearings if requested in advance and for good cause.
Judge Hunt may permit oral arguments on motions if requested and for good cause.
Judge Hunt generally issues an order governing discovery that includes specific discovery deadlines and procedures applicable to the case at issue (see example under Sample Orders).
Counsel shall not call chambers to seek an immediate ruling to address any dispute that arises during a deposition.
Mediation is required in all cases. Counsel shall submit a proposed order referring the case to mediation.
If a settlement is reached in your case, please immediately contact chambers and file a notice of settlement with the Court.
Judge Hunt does not automatically set civil cases for trial dates. Trial dates will be set after conferring with lead counsel of record.
Judge Hunt permits pretrial conferences.
Judge Hunt prefers to conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial.
Judge Hunt requires trial briefs in bench trials, but not necessarily in jury trials. Due dates and special requirements for briefs, if any, will be specially set in a pretrial order or orally given to counsel.
Judge Hunt permits counsel to perform voir dire. Proposed questions may also be submitted before trial.
Concerning peremptory challenges, Judge Hunt utilizes an alternating-sides procedure.
Judge Hunt does not permit back striking during jury selection.
Judge Hunt generally imposes time limits on counsels’ opening statements. Specific details are typically provided in an order or at the pretrial conference.
Demonstrative evidence may be used in opening statements with advance approval from the Judge.
Plaintiffs may not make a rebuttal during opening statements.
Concerning objections at trial, counsel is not permitted to make speaking objections; only the precise legal basis of the objection should be given. Counsel may request a bench conference if necessary.
Proposed jury instructions should be submitted to chambers electronically.
Judge Hunt requires proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed and submitted electronically in bench trials.