Lake County Judicial Center
P.O. Box 7800
550 W. Main Street
Tavares, FL 32778
Chambers, Suite 6, North Wing, Second Floor
Courtroom 1F, North Wing, First Floor
*NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC:* The Code of Judicial Conduct governing behavior by judges forbids the Judges of the Fifth Judicial Circuit to discuss pending cases with the public. Please do not call the Court expecting to speak with a Judge about any case. The Court is only allowed to consider arguments made in the courtroom and in documents properly filed by actual parties in the case as authorized by law and the Rules of Court. The Court cannot ethically read or consider any other opinions or arguments about the case. Communications that do not meet these legal requirements cannot be forwarded to the Judges.
General Procedures for Judge Brian Welke
We do not communicate with parties regarding a pending case via email. Please call the office to schedule hearings or inquire about a specific case.
All hearings require a minimum of five business days’ notice unless all parties agree otherwise.
All documents must be filed with the Clerk’s office, not the Judge’s office.
Appropriate dress is required for attorneys and all parties. No ripped or torn jeans, shorts, tank tops, etc. will be permitted.
Please be sure to arrive on time and appropriately dressed for your hearing as hearings start promptly at the time designated on your Notice of Hearing. If you are inappropriately dressed, your hearing may be cancelled.
If you are running late for court, please call the judge’s office to inform of your tardiness. There is no guarantee the judge will be able to accommodate you.
PROCEDURES FOR SCHEDULING HEARINGS
Hearing availability may be obtained by calling the Judge’s office. Dates are provided on a first come, first serve basis. Your hearing time will be secured once a phone call is received to confirm a specific date and time. **PLEASE NOTE: HEARINGS WILL NOT BE COORDINATED VIA EMAIL.**
Any non-evidentiary hearing of thirty (30) minutes or less may be held via Zoom Video Conference. All evidentiary hearings require in person court appearance, as this Court does not accept remote evidence. All hearings in excess of thirty (30) minutes require in person court appearance.
When calling to obtain available hearing time, please have the case number, case style, type of motion to be scheduled, the date the motion was filed, the amount of hearing time requested, and names of all counsel of record. The Motion must be filed prior to obtaining hearing time.
Once hearing time is coordinated with all counsel, CALL the Judge’s office to confirm the date prior to preparing your Notice of Hearing, to assure that time is still available, as hearing dates are first come first serve. We do not hold a hearing date/time.
It is not necessary for you to send a courtesy copy of the Notice of Hearing to this office. The electronic filing of the Notice is sufficient.
The Court requires that all hearings be coordinated. If you are unable to coordinate a hearing, please call our office; do not “piggy-back” or “cross notice” a hearing without coordinating with the judge’s office.
Cross-notice of a hearing without the Court’s approval is not permitted. Before requesting the setting of an additional motion(s) at a previously scheduled hearing, the attorneys must contact our office so the Court can determine if sufficient time is available to have the additional motion(s) heard. Your motion will not be heard if the hearing is not coordinated through the judge’s office.
PROCEDURES FOR CANCELLING HEARINGS/TRIALS
In addition to filing your notice of cancellation, immediately notify the judge’s office by telephone when a hearing is to be cancelled. If a case has settled and should be removed from the trial docket, please contact the Court to indicate the same. Only the party that scheduled the hearing, or the Court, has the authority to cancel the hearing.
NOTICES FOR TRIAL
Notices for Trial must include an estimate of trial time needed. Once a Notice for Trial is filed with the Clerk, a copy should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. After receipt of the Notice for Trial, an Order Setting Case Management Conference will be issued by the Judge’s office. Please bring your calendars to the Case Management Conference. At the Case Management Conference, your case will be set for trial, and discovery deadlines will be established. You will also receive the date of the Pretrial Conference hearing. All trial counsel, along with the parties, are required to attend the Pretrial Conference in person.
You will be responsible for preparing the Order After Case Management Conference. The form for this Order is provided in the “Forms” link below.
Proposed Orders must be submitted with a cover letter setting forth the purpose of the Order, i.e., pursuant to hearing/settlement agreement/etc., as well as a statement informing the Court as to any objections to the contents of the proposed Order.
All orders may be submitted through email. The email address for submission of proposed orders is email@example.com. Do NOT send orders via email AND U.S. Mail. This creates double work. Please submit orders in one format only.
All proposed Orders submitted via email, must be submitted in WORD format, accompanied by a proper cover letter, in PDF format. The case number must be included in the name of the proposed Order and cover letter (ie. 2015 DR 000001.Order and 2015 DR 00001.letter.) Multiple proposed orders should be differentiated (ie. 2015 DR 000001.Order to Withdraw and 2015 DR 000001.Order of Contempt). The cover letter must contain the following information:
- The case name and case number must be included in the cover letter.
- The party on whose behalf you are submitting the proposed order.
- Whether the proposed order has been submitted to all other counsel/parties in the action for their review and approval.
- If the form of the order has been approved by all other counsel/parties (a hearing is likely not necessary).
- If the Order is being submitted pursuant to a hearing, include the date the hearing was held, or what other basis the Order is being sent (stipulation, etc.)
If any of the parties are self-represented, and/or do not receive service via the E-Filing Portal, the proposed Orders must contain the following statement:
It is further ORDERED that within 5 days from the date of e-service of this Order, the attorney submitting this Order shall furnish a copy of this Order to each self-represented party by U.S. Mail, first class, postage paid; and, file a certificate signed by that attorney that delivery of this Order has been made as set forth herein.
The Certificate of Service should read as follows:
I HEREBY CERTIFY that on this ____ day of _____________, 20__, I electronically filed the foregoing document with the Clerk of Court using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. I also certify that the foregoing document is being served this day on all counsel of record and interested parties, via transmission generated by the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.
We DO NOT ACCEPT Orders via email that are not ready for immediate entry (i.e. allow 5 days to object, etc.). You should obtain approval of opposing counsel or party of the proposed Order prior to your submission to the Judge for entry.
Attorneys are responsible for mailing copies to their clients and any other participants/interested parties; therefore, service copies and envelopes should not be sent to the Court.
PROCEDURES FOR DISCOVERY MOTIONS
Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.280 – 1.390 are the rules governing discovery. Prior to filing a motion regarding a discovery dispute, the court expects the attorneys to attempt to resolve the issue(s) without the court’s intervention.
PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCY FILINGS
Emergency motions must be filed with the clerk, and copies emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with any related supporting documents, cover letter, UCCJEA, and any other documents you feel that might assist the Judge’s office regarding the emergency motion. DO NOT simply email your emergency motion to the Judge’s office, as the email is not monitored constantly. You must also call the Judge’s office to inform of an emergency motion.
Should you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Judicial Assistant for further information.
PROCEDURES FOR EVIDENCE
Judge Welke does not accept remote evidence. All evidentiary hearings require an in-person court appearance. Attorneys and parties should exchange exhibits at least two (2) days in advance of the scheduled hearing. You do not need to send copies of your exhibits to the Judge’s office in advance of hearing.
Hearing notebooks that do not contain evidence (ie. case law) should be submitted in hard copy at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.