Judge Cotton

Lori Cotton

County Judge

Judicial Assistant: Adylia Badillo
Office: 352-401-6781
Fax: 352-401-6783

Standing Order Establishing Pre-Trial Procedure for Small Claims

Form 1.977 – Fact Information Sheet

Zoom Link for Civil Hearings
Meeting ID: 934 5963 3034
Passcode: 407323
**Only To Be Used For Hearings That Were Noticed To Be Via Zoom**

General Instructions regarding Communication with the Judge
  1. For case-related questions, scheduling hearings or general information, please send an e-mail to ABadillo@circuit5.org.
  2. Do not send correspondence of any type directly to the judge’s e-mail or to the judge’s office. If you want the judge to review anything or make a decision about anything, it must be filed with the clerk in the form of a motion.
  3. Do not e-mail the judge directly for any reason.
  4. While you are free to call if you have questions, please understand that our office cannot give you legal advice. If you have legal questions, you will be referred to the law library or advised to hire an attorney.
In Person vs. ZOOM Hearings
  1. Small Claims Pretrial Conferences – All Small Claims Pretrial Conferences are IN PERSON in Courtroom 1 at the Marion County Courthouse (per Administrative Order M-2022-31-B). All parties will be referred immediately to IN PERSON mediation at the courthouse on that date if the case is not resolved at the pretrial conference.
  2. Jury Trials will always be in person.
  3. Non-Jury Trials and Civil Hearings other than Small Claims Pretrial Conferences – Judge Cotton’s hearings allow each party the option to appear in person in Courtroom 2E or to appear via ZOOM. It is not necessary to let the judge’s office know how you will appear. Any attorney preparing a notice of hearing should include the Zoom information on the notice.


Judge Cotton’s Zoom information is:

Meeting ID: 934 5963 3034

Passcode: 407323


ZOOM Etiquette

As described above, Judge Cotton’s civil hearings will all be noticed to take place via ZOOM or in person. Anyone who does not wish to use ZOOM may appear in person in Courtroom 2E for any hearing (except as described above).

The ability to appear at a court hearing can be very convenient for litigants and attorneys. In order to maintain decorum and efficiency, Judge Cotton requires everyone to abide by the following:

  1. Judge Cotton will require that you turn your camera on.
  2. Remember that you are in a courtroom, even if you are physically in another location. Please sit still and focus on the court hearing. Do not wander around. Do not eat, drink or smoke.
  3. Dress appropriately for court. Attorneys should be dressed in professional attire, just as if they are appearing in a courtroom.
  4. Eliminate distractions. Barking dogs, children, and ringing phones should not interrupt a court hearing.
  5. DO NOT DRIVE WHILE ON ZOOM. If you must appear in a motor vehicle, that motor vehicle must be stationary.
  6. Please Mute yourself when your case is not being addressed.
  7. If you will be appearing by ZOOM and have physical evidence to introduce in a hearing, you must provide the documents to the Judge’s office at least 2 days before the hearing. Documents may be dropped off at the courthouse or sent via e-mail to ABadillo@circuit5.org.
  8. Make sure that you have the appropriate equipment and Internet service well in advance of the hearing. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that you can connect and communicate with the Court.
  9. If you cannot abide by these instructions, or if you do not have the ability to connect to ZOOM, Judge Cotton is in Courtroom 2E for hearings – you may appear in person.
Scheduling Hearings / Canceling Hearings
  1. File the motion that you wish to have heard BEFORE attempting to get hearing time.
  2. When both parties are represented by counsel, they should email Abadillo@circuit5.org, include all parties involved, case number, motion to be addressed and amount of time to be reserved.
  3. When there is a pro se party, coordination with the pro se party will not be required as long as there is time to notice the pro se party regarding the hearing (at least 10 days).
  4. As described above, the Notice of Hearing you prepare should include the following:

All parties may appear in person at the Marion County Courthouse, 110 NW 1st Ave., Courtroom 2E or via ZOOM. ZOOM Meeting ID: 934 5963 3034; Passcode: 407323.

  1. If a motion is filed and the filing party does not schedule a hearing, if the judge wants a hearing it will be scheduled without coordination. You will receive a Notice of Hearing.
  2. Once a hearing has been scheduled, whether by a party or by the judge, that hearing MAY NOT BE CANCELED without the permission of the judge. Parties will be expected to appear at the scheduled hearing, even if they have resolved the matter that has been calendared for that time. Judge Cotton will use the reserved time to get an update on the case and determine scheduling of future court proceedings.
Evidence for Trials / Hearings

Any evidence to be submitted must be physically in the hands of the Judge at the time trial/hearing.  Evidence needs to be mailed or dropped off.  Do not e-mail or put in the court file expecting it to be printed by the court.

Proposed Orders
  1. Proposed orders are accepted via e-mail to ABadillo@circuit5.org, or in paper form. PLEASE DO NOT SEND A PROPOSED ORDER MORE THAN ONE OF THESE WAYS.
  2. Instructions for Submitting Proposed Orders Via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.
  3. It is not necessary to provide envelopes with postage for parties that are served via the e-portal.
  4. Judge Cotton prefers Word documents but will also accept proposed orders in PDF form.
  5. Please fill in the correct County and City and include Judge Cotton’s name on your proposed order.


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.