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Terry T. Neal

County Judge

Judicial Assistant: Kim Dabney
Office: 352-742-4127
Fax: 352-742-4323

PROCEDURES FOR JUDGE NEAL’S OFFICE

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. We cannot communicate with you regarding cases via email. Please call the Judicial Assistant (JA) at 352-742-4127 to schedule hearings.

2. We schedule hearings generally no further out than 45 days of your request.

3. All hearings require a minimum of 5 business days notice, unless all parties agree otherwise. Self-represented parties must file the Notice of Hearing with the Clerk of Courts and furnish a copy to all parties involved in the case at least 10 days prior to the hearing by U.S.P.S. Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested or some other means with proof of service. It is not necessary to send a copy to the Judge’s office.

4. Claim of Exemption hearings are usually scheduled within 10 to 15 business days.

5. Landlord Tenant Eviction hearings for non-payment of rent and Motions to Determine Rent hearings are usually scheduled within 10 business days of the request.

6. Please do not submit proposed Final Judgment packages or Orders prior to a hearing. They can be brought to the hearing or submitted afterwards.

7. All documents must be filed with the Clerk’s office not the Judge’s office.

8. Please do not submit any checks to the Judge’s office or your entire package will be returned to you.

9. Please be sure to arrive on time and appropriately dressed for your hearings as Judge Neal starts promptly at the time designated on your Notice of Hearing, and if you are inappropriately dressed, your hearing may be cancelled or you may lose your case.

10. If there is a problem arriving on time, please call our office at 352-742-4127 and advise the Judicial Assistant. Please understand, however, there is no guarantee the Judge will be able to accommodate you.

11. Please be sure to provide an email address, otherwise you may not receive notice of what is happening in your case.

TO SET A HEARING

1. Please call the Judicial Assistant (JA) at 352-742-4127 to set your hearing.

2. Please have the following information when you call:

a. The Case Number.

b. The Style (names of both parties) of the case.

c.  What the hearing is for (the motion being heard).

d. The amount of time needed for the hearing.

e.  If there are any time restrictions or deadlines for the hearing, please inform the JA when you call.

3. If dates are needed to coordinate with the other side, the JA will provide you with dates and times. Please keep in mind that these dates and times are NOT held for you, so you must call the JA back to actually have her put it on the Judge’s calendar.

CROSS-NOTICING HEARINGS

1.  You cannot automatically cross notice a hearing.

2.  Please notify the JA of your request to cross-notice a hearing.  The JA will determine if there is time allowed for the cross-notice.

3.  If the Court is not contacted regarding your request to cross-notice, your motion will not be heard.

SMALL CLAIMS MEDIATION AND PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES

1. Small Claims Pre-Trial Conferences are done in two parts.

a.  Mediation is the first part of the Pre-Trial Conference and is held with the volunteer mediators.  If you have any issues with a scheduled mediation, please contact the Clerk’s office at 352-742-4172.  Mediation can only be waived if both parties stipulate to that.

b.  If the case is not resolved at Mediation, then a Pre-Trial Conference is the second part and is held in front of the Judge.  The Pre-Trial Conference cannot be waived and will be scheduled by the JA and noticed by the clerk.  No motion or proposed order is necessary to appear telephonically at this Pre-Trial Conference, however you must appear via CourtCall (see Telephonic Appearance for Hearings).

TELEPHONIC APPEARANCE FOR HEARINGS OR TRIALS

1.  If you are not represented by an attorney and wish to appear by phone, you should contact the Judicial Assistant at 352-742-4127 for any special requirements.

2.  Telephonic appearances are allowed for MOST hearings in Chambers.  Please check with the JA to be sure.

3.  We do not require a motion or an order to appear by phone for any hearings held in Chambers.

4.  We do require a motion and order to appear by phone for trials.

5.  ALL telephonic appearances are through the use of CourtCall.

a.  You must make your reservation with CourtCall at least 3 business days before the scheduled hearing or trial by calling 888-882-6878.

b.  CourtCall will notify the JA that you are appearing by phone.

c.  If the Judge has granted your testimony by telephone, the following MUST BE COMPLIED WITH:

1.  You must make a reservation with CourtCall by calling 888-882-6878 at least 3 days prior to your hearing or trial.  They will give you instructions as to what you need to do the day of the hearing or trial in order to appear telephonically.

2.  A notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths in the state where you are located must be present with you on the telephone at the time of the trial or the hearing, whichever is applicable.  The notary or other officer must identify himself or herself and how they have identified you – whether personally known or through the proper form of written identification.

3.  The proper identification and certification of the notary or other officer who will be administering the oath to you on the telephone must be provided to the Court prior to the day of taking testimony.

4.  The notary, or other officer, must then administer the following oath to you:  Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

5.  In addition, if any documentary evidence is to be entered by you appearing telephonically, you must make arrangements to have the originals present in Court the day of the trial.

IF THE ABOVE IS NOT COMPLIED WITH, YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY TELEPHONICALLY.

NOTICE OF HEARING

1.  First, please call the JA at 352-742-4127 and she will provide you with a hearing date.

2.  You will then be required to prepare, file and send a Notice of Hearing for any hearing that you set.

3.  If you do not have an attorney, you can CLICK HERE for a fillable form for a Notice of Hearing.

4.  The Notice of Hearing must be filed with the Clerk of Courts and furnished to all parties involved in the case at least 10 days prior to the hearing by U.S.P.S. Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested or some other means with proof of service.  It is not necessary to send a copy to the Judge’s office.

SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS

1. ATTORNEYS MAY NOW SUBMIT PROPOSED ORDERS VIA EMAIL, BUT MUST COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING:

a. All orders must be submitted in WORD format and be accompanied by a cover letter in PDF format to the following email address: JudgeNealproposedorders@circuit5.org

b. When saving the documents to be submitted, you must save them with our case number and the document name, in the same style, such as:

19CC123-Cover Letter and 19CC123-FJ or 19CC123-Order

c. If you have more than one order that you are submitting with a cover letter, you must identify each one, such as:

19CC123-Order to Compel and 19CC123-Order to Set Aside

d. Every order submitted must contain the following statement prior to the Judge’s signature line:

          It is further ORDERED and ADJUDGED that within 5 days from the date of e-service of this Order/Judgment, the attorney submitting this Order/Judgment shall:

Furnish a copy of this Order/Judgment 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/Judgment has been made as set forth herein.

e. If your submission does not meet the above requirements, your email (with all attachments) will be returned to you for correction(s) and deleted from our system, so it will be necessary for you to return all the documents when you resubmit.

f. If your submission is not signed by the Judge, it will be e-filed and e-served to you with a Case Information Sheet. Once you have made the correction(s), it will be necessary for you to resubmit all the documents (including a cover letter). When you resubmit, you must notify us in the email that it is a re-submission.

g. If you have submitted your order via email, please do not submit a hard copy by mail.

 

2. IF YOU ARE SELF REPRESENTED, all proposed orders must be submitted with copies to send to every party listed in the lawsuit, together with stamped, addressed envelopes. IF YOU ARE AN ATTORNEY AND SUBMITTING PROPOSED ORDERS BY MAIL, you must send copies for conforming and stamped, addressed envelopes for all pro-se parties.  Your copy will be e-served to you.

3. If a proposed order is returned to you unsigned with a Case Information Sheet, all the copies and envelopes are returned to you as well. Please correct the issue(s) and return the proposed order with the copies and envelopes.

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REQUIREMENTS

1.  Order to Compel must have already been issued.

2.  Please call the JA at 352-742-4127 and she will provide you with a date for your hearing, usually approximately 6 weeks out.

3.  CLICK HERE for Court approved form.

4. Order must be personally served on the party.  No substitute service is allowed.

FILING DOCUMENTS

1. When you file documents, the Judge’s office does not receive notification or copies of the documents, so if you are requesting or expecting any Court action on the motion, you must contact the Judge’s office.

2. If you file a motion that requires a hearing, you must call the JA to schedule the hearing, as the Judge will not know your motion has been filed.

ORDER ESTABLISHING MOTION PRACTICE PROCEDURE

1. If an Order Establishing Motion Practice Procedure has been filed in your case, you MUST comply with that order before any hearings will be set.

2.  Please notify the Judge’s office, in writing, when you have complied with the order.

3. All requests for hearings must be in writing, as per the Order.

4. If you have complied with the Order, in most cases, the Judge will make a ruling based on your pleadings, without the necessity of a hearing.

5. CLICK HERE to view the Order Establishing Motion Practice Procedure.

TO CANCEL A HEARING OR TRIAL

TO CANCEL A HEARING OR TRIAL:

1.  You must call the JA at 352-742-4127 to notify the Court of the cancellation and state the reason for cancellation.

2.  If a Notice of Hearing has been filed, you must prepare a Notice of Cancellation and file it with the Clerk’s office and notify the other parties.

3. You must also send a copy of the Notice of Cancellation to the Judge’s office, to one of the following:

Email – kdabney@circuit5.org    or    Fax – 352-742-4323

TO CONTINUE A HEARING OR TRIAL

1.  You must call the JA at 352-742-4127 to notify the court of the request to continue.

2.  The proper motion must be filed with the Clerk’s office.

3.  You must schedule a hearing on your motion or have consent from all parties to continue.  There is no guarantee the Court will continue the hearing or trial.

4.  The JA will provide you with alternative dates and times to coordinate with the other party or parties, if appropriate.

5.  Once the date is coordinated, you must contact the JA to actually put it on the calendar.

6.  You must prepare an Amended Notice of Hearing or Trial.

TRIALS FOR COUNTY CIVIL OR SMALL CLAIMS CASES

1.  All Trial dates are set at a Pre-Trial Conference with Judge Neal.

2.  COUNTY CIVIL CASES – Do not schedule a Pre-Trial Conference until all discovery has been completed and you are actually ready to try the case.

3.  SMALL CLAIMS CASES – The Pre-Trial Conference will be set by the Judge’s office and a Notice of Hearing will be prepared and sent to you.

4.  Trials will usually be scheduled within 45 to 60 days of the Pre-Trial Conference and the Judge generally prepares the Trial Order.

*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.

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