The Middle District of Florida Turns 60
The Middle District of Florida celebrated its 60th Anniversary with the creation of portable historic banners now displayed in each of the five courthouses in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, and Tampa. The court also celebrated at a lunch in Fort Myers on September 8, 2022, featuring displays of photographs taken over the decades and a trivia contest. Do you know the answer to this trivia? Visit the federal courthouse and view the banners to find the answer!
Put the following events in order, from earliest to latest.
CM/ECF goes “live” in the Middle District.
The Middle District publishes its first public website.
Judge Hodges ends his term as Chief Judge.
The Middle District starts its first mediation program.
The Middle District adopts its first Local Rules.
Hurricane Ian Relief Program
Hurricane Ian Relief Program is a Great Success
Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida. With that community reeling from untold pain and destruction, others stepped up to help. People across Southwest Florida, the rest of the State, and the entire Country offered a hand. There are countless stories of heroism by selfless first responders and even everyday citizens. What’s more, the outpouring of emotional and economic support was truly unbelievable. One instance of this was the Hurricane Ian Relief Program.
Without hesitating, the Middle District of Florida—through its Bench Bar Fund—decided to help get Southwest Florida’s legal system back up and running. To do so, it offered generous financial support to members of the legal community adversely affected by the storm. This was no small feat. Putting together a comprehensive financial support program in response to a natural disaster is a tough task. But Bench Bar performed a minor miracle. On a moment’s notice, it envisioned, created, and administered the Program. As a result, hundreds of Southwest Florida’s legal community members received relief.
While the Program helped so many, it could not provide relief to Court employees given rules surrounding the use of Bench Bar Funds. But again, the community responded. The Middle District’s Judges, practitioners, and other Federal Bar Associations (Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville) provided their own personal donations to ensure Court employees could get back on their feet, too. This was just another example of how our District stuck together to help one another.
This program was a stunning success. All told, the Program distributed over $210,000 to more than 400 people. The Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association administered the Program by collecting and distributing the funds. And the Bench Bar, the other Federal Bar Associations, and numerous individuals dedicated significant time and resources to helping ensure this Program ran smoothly. There are too many people to recognize and thank for their hard work. But some individuals who deserve a special thanks include Chief Judge Corrigan, Judge Howard, Peggy Miller, and Megan Mann. We are grateful to everyone who contributed their time, money, and talents to make this Program a reality. Together, our District is strong. And it can whether any storm, no matter how destructive.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Program. It went a long way to rebuilding our legal community, which helped keep Southwest Florida #SWFLStrong!
The Middle District of Florida’s Local Rules Have Been Substantially Revised
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida has issued substantially revised Local Rules. The new Local Rules took effect on February 1, 2021. A bullet point summary of the changes to the Local Rules, as well as a video presentation highlighting key changes are available on the Court’s website.
The Middle District of Florida Has Upgraded to the Next Generation of CM/ECF
On April 5, 2021, the Middle District of Florida upgraded to the Next Generation of CM/ECF. To electronically file in NextGen CM/ECF, you must obtain a PACER account or upgrade your existing account, and link it to your CM/ECF account. More information on accessing NextGen CM/ECF is available on the Court’s website.
Federal Court Community Outreach Program
The Middle District of Florida’s Bench Bar Committee has approved a pilot project in the Jacksonville Division to greatly expand the Court’s Community Outreach Program. The Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will be the project’s sponsoring organization and Suzanne Judas, who recently retired after a long and successful career with Holland & Knight, has agreed to serve as the inaugural coordinator. The project’s goal is to foster civics education for students and adults as well as to promote a better understanding of the court system. There will be many opportunities for interested members to become involved. Suzanne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to bringing you more news about this exciting project in the weeks and months to come!
The Middle District of Florida’s Administrative Procedures For Electronic Filing Have Been Updated
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida has published a revised version of its Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing. These mandatory procedures provide directions on using CM/ECF. Additional guidance, including the Court’s CM/ECF User Manual, is available on the Court’s website. Attorneys may also call the Clerk’s Office with any questions.
The Middle District of Florida’s Handbook on Civil Discovery Practice Has Been Updated
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida has published a revised version of its Handbook on Civil Discovery Practice. The Handbook captures local custom and practice and supplements the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules, and existing case law. The Handbook is considered highly persuasive in addressing discovery issues in the Middle District of Florida.
Cell Phone and Electronic Device Policy in the Middle District of Florida
See attached letter and new policy affecting lawyers’ use and possession of cell phones and electronic devices in federal courthouses throughout the Middle District, including the Jacksonville Division.