Courtroom 3, 4th Floor, WPB Division
e: email@example.com (only for proposed orders, jury instructions, or as otherwise directed by the Court)
Stephanie Payne, 561.803.3412Career Law Clerk:
Jessica Rodriguez, 561.803.3471Term Law Clerk:
Jennifer Soberal, 561.803.3474
Law clerks may be contacted regarding procedural questions. Law clerks may not be asked substantive legal questions and they cannot provide advice on how to handle legal questions. When you contact Chambers, please have the case number and presiding Judge available as this will be the first question asked so that we may better assist you.
For assistance with the use of electronic media or other audiovisual needs, please contact Courtroom Deputy Stephanie Payne at 561.803.3412.
When filing documents with multiple attachments, counsel shall file such a document with bookmarks within the PDF image. This is especially true in the case of large transcripts of underlying proceedings in habeas cases, social security appeals, and the like.
Proposed orders should be submitted by email in Microsoft Word format subject to being revised, as opposed to an attachment in CM/ECF.
Do you issue a standard pretrial order? Yes. In consent cases, the Court is open to allowing the parties to submit proposed schedules tailored to meet the needs of a particular case.
Sample Pretrial Scheduling Order – Bench TrialSample Pretrial Scheduling Order – Jury Trial
Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings, e.g., pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16? No.
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? No.
Other than as required by Local Rules, do you prefer that the moving parties submit proposed orders along with non-dispositive motions? No.
Do you have any requirements, beyond those found in the Federal Rules and the Local Rules, as to ex parte temporary restraining orders? No.
Do you generally hear preliminary injunction motions? Yes.
If YES, do you permit evidence to be introduced? Yes.
Should copies of published cases or unpublished opinions cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to chambers? No.
If copies of cases are submitted, do you accept copies that have portions highlighted by counsel? Yes.
Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions? Yes, discovery motions per the Court’s standing order on discovery procedures (generally, every Thursday from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.).
Under what circumstances do you allow telephonic hearings? Whenever requested if truly needed.
What is your practice concerning oral arguments on dispositive motions? Oral argument is generally preferred, sometimes even if counsel do not want oral argument.
Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes.
If YES, how far in advance should they be filed? As set forth in the Court’s governing scheduling order.
Criminal Pretrial Procedures, including Criminal Duty
Protective orders, a frequent factor in civil cases, are starting to be requested in criminal cases. A sample order which is the product of a hearing before this Court and a joint recommendation, is attached as a starting point for counsel’s reference.
Sample Criminal Case Protective Order
Referred motions are generally decided after oral argument, but may be resolved without such argument. The Court prefers counsel to appear in person, finding that such meetings lead to a resolution of most issues without further court intervention. Counsel may file a motion to appear telephonically in cases of real need. If such motions are granted, the Court expects counsel to set up a conference call with a dial-in number. At the very least, a landline must be used to ensure an adequate recording for record purposes.
Pleas are heard by an order of reference from the district court. Counsel shall email any plea agreement and factual stipulation to the court, and the courtroom deputy, at least 24 hours before the plea. If there are no agreements, counsel shall report that fact to the court by email at least 24 hours before the plea.
Duty court generally begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays
In cases where the presiding District Judge refers all pretrial discovery to Judge Brannon, the Court will issue a standing discovery order with specific discovery procedures for use in the event of a discovery dispute. Written discovery motions are not permitted without leave of Court. Counsel are to confer first and, if Court intervention is necessary, contact Chambers for the setting of a hearing. A sample order is attached.
Sample Discovery Procedure Order
In FLSA and ADA cases an order expediting certain discovery will be entered to aid case resolution.
Generally start at 10:00 a.m., with 4 hours reserved. There is generally no break for lunch unless medically necessary. The Court requires in-person appearances with parties that have the full authority to resolve the case. Counsel may move for telephonic appearances if there are truly extraordinary circumstances. The Court also requires each party to submit a pre-conference, confidential settlement memorandum. Additional details will be outlined in the Court’s order setting the conference.
Trial in Consent Cases
Do you automatically set civil cases for trial or do you wait for counsel to propose a time period in which a case should be scheduled for trial? Civil cases are set after a telephonic status conference with counsel.
Do you grant specially set trial dates (dates certain)? Yes.
Do you conduct pretrial conferences? Yes.
Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial? Yes.
What, if any, procedural requirements do you have regarding the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions, and demonstrations? None.
How shall exhibits be marked? All exhibits are to be pre-marked. Plaintiff’s exhibits are to be numbered; Defendant’s exhibits are to be lettered.
Do you require trial briefs in jury or bench trials? No.
Do you permit counsel to perform voir dire? Yes, following that of the Court. The Court’s standard questions are attached for counsel’s reference. Court’s voir dire Qs
If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire? Generally, 30 minutes per side.
If YES, when should such questions be submitted? As set forth in the Court’s Scheduling Order
What are your peremptory challenge procedures? Parties alternate with the Plaintiff going first.
In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three peremptory challenges? No.
If NO, do you limit each side (i.e., plaintiff/defense) to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared? Yes.
Do you allow back striking during jury selection? No.
Do you impose any standard time limits on counsel’s opening statements? No, will be discussed at the pretrial conference.
Can exhibits be used in opening statements? Yes.
Do you allow Plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements? No.
Do you permit jurors to take notes and ask questions? Yes to both.
What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial? No speaking objections.
When do you require counsel to file proposed jury instructions? As set forth in the Court’s Scheduling Order.
Should jury instructions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes.
Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials? Yes.
If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed? As set forth in the Court’s Scheduling Order.
Should the proposed findings and conclusions also be submitted to chambers electronically? Yes.
Are postrial proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law allowed? In trials lasting longer than 3 days, the Court will generally require the parties to order transcripts and prepare findings and conclusions with specific reference to record evidence adduced at trial.
In responding to questions from the Court counsel should remember the power of a simple “yes” or “no.”
When citing to legal authority, cite to the single best case(s) by the U.S. Supreme Court or from within the Eleventh Circuit whenever possible.