Judicial Assistant: Sherry Turner
*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.
All evidentiary hearings will be held in person in Courtroom 1F.
Attorneys shall exchange all exhibits to be entered into evidence and confer before the hearing for the purpose of stipulating, as much as practicable, to the authenticity and admissibility of the exhibits at least 5 days prior to the scheduled hearing.
The parties shall file with the Court any objections to exhibits by the Friday before the hearing.
The parties shall exchange witness lists that include the witnesses’ names, email addresses, and cell and landline phone numbers before the hearing, as well as identification of any witness for whom an interpreter or an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act will be required or for whom they request sequestration. The name of the interpreter should be included in the witness list. Parties are to ensure their witnesses who will lay the predicate for evidence have a copy of the evidence.
NON-EVIDENTIARY hearings will be conducted via Zoom Video Conferencing. This is a court hearing and all the usual rules of behavior and decorum apply, just as if you were in a courtroom.
Zoom works best on a computer with a camera and a microphone. Please ensure your camera and microphone are turned on, and please make sure to unmute before you speak and mute after you speak so we don’t hear a lot of background noise.
Please do not talk over one another.
The Judge will be adhering to strict time limits as other parties are waiting online for their hearings as well.
If your client is present, the Judge will place his/her Zoom account on mute until it is time for them to speak.
Please be cognizant as to who may also be present at your location when you are speaking. Background noise will be disruptive to our proceedings.
This hearing is not being recorded. It is the responsibility of the parties to provide for a transcript of the record through the hiring of a court reporter. The court reporter may attend remotely.
If you are submitting a hearing binder, one copy is sufficient for the Judge.
Discovery, evidence, and other rules of procedure still apply, unless suspended or amended by the Florida Supreme Court, as does the right to due process in all court proceedings; however, the parties are encouraged to use flexibility during the public health emergency for the equitable resolution of cases.
The Court may reset the hearing if technological issues prevent the meaningful review of evidence, for an in-person hearing.
Should you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Judicial Assistant for further information.
General Procedures for Judge Brian J. 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
You will need to call the Judge’s office to schedule a hearing. 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, confirm the date with this office 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” a hearing without coordinating with 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.
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.
Requests for telephonic or conference call appearances are governed by Rule 2.530 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.
Testimony may be taken through communication equipment only if a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths in the witness’s jurisdiction is present with the witness and administers the oath consistent with the laws of the jurisdiction.
The cost for use of the communication equipment is the responsibility of the requesting party unless otherwise directed by the Court.
Telephonic appearances are allowed for MOST hearings, provided that the opposing party/counsel does not object to telephonic appearance. A Motion or Order is not required to appear telephonically.
All telephonic appearances are through the use of CourtCall. For CourtCall appearances, contact CourtCall directly at 888.882.6878, or make your reservation online at www.CourtCall.com, at least three (3) business day prior to the hearing date, to schedule your telephonic appearance. CourtCall will notify the Judge’s office of your reservation.
NOTICES FOR TRIAL
Notices for Trial must include an estimate of trial time needed. 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.
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 agreed orders may be submitted through email. The email address for submission of proposed orders is firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
1. The case name and case number must be included in the cover letter.
2. The party on whose behalf you are submitting the proposed order.
3. Whether the proposed order has been submitted to all other counsel/parties in the action for their review and approval.
4. If a counsel/party objects to the proposed order, please submit it via regular U.S. Mail or hand delivery.
5. If the form of the order has been approved by all other counsel/parties (a hearing is likely not necessary), and email submission is accepted.
6. 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.
Upon the filing of a discovery motion, you will need to call the Court to obtain a Referral to the General Magistrate for disposition of discovery matters. You will contact the office of the General Magistrate to schedule your hearing.
PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCY FILINGS
Emergency motions must be filed with the clerk and a hard copy must be sent via U.S. Mail or hand delivery to the judge’s office. If the Judge determines it is not appropriate to enter an ex-parte Order on the Emergency Motion, a fifteen (15) minute case management conference will be scheduled. If all issues are not able to be addressed/resolved within fifteen (15) minutes, a hearing on the Judge’s normal calendar will be scheduled. Attorneys need to have their calendars available for scheduling at any Case Management Conference. Attorneys and Clients are required to appear in person for the hearing. Telephonic appearances are not permitted. Parties shall be prepared to discuss all matters at issue.
Should you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Judicial Assistant for further information