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
If you are a member of the legal community and have been affected by Hurricane Ian, you may be eligible for assistance.
The lawyers and judges of the Middle District of Florida, through the Middle District Bench Bar Fund, have made a grant to the Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association to provide assistance to those in the legal community affected by Hurricane Ian. The Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is administering the relief program. Eligible applicants include lawyers and their support staff, as well as state court judges and staff, who reside or are employed in one of the following counties designated by FEMA as qualifying for federal individual assistance because of Hurricane Ian: Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Volusia. To apply for assistance, submit this completed and signed application to HurricaneIanRelief@jaxfedbar.org, no later than November 10, 2022.
Because Bench Bar Funds may not be used to provide any personal benefit to court staff and their family members, the Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa Chapters of the Federal Bar Association have separately donated their funds to the Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association to assist federal court employees affected by Hurricane Ian. Federal court employees who reside or are employed in one of the counties listed above may apply for assistance using this form.
While the exact amount to be distributed to each recipient may depend on the number of applications received, it will likely be approximately $500, until such time as the grant or donated funds are depleted. Please note that funds from either source will be dispersed based on the order of the applications received, and once a fund is depleted no more applications will be processed.
2022 High School Essay Contest
The 2022 Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division High School Essay Contest, sponsored in part by the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, is seeking volunteer graders. For more information, please contact Kirsten Clement at Kirsten_Clement@flmd.uscourts.gov. You are also welcome to share the following link with your favorite civics, history, and writing high school instructors. Per contest rules, bar members’ children cannot participate in the contest, but we welcome submissions from all other 9 – 12th grade students in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, and Union Counties.
Federal Bar Association Summer Series: Recap
This summer, we introduced over 60 law students to federal judges, federal practitioners, and various aspects of federal practice through our annual Federal Court Summer Series program. Over the past 8 weeks, summer interns attended in a variety of presentations and events, including a business etiquette luncheon at the River Club, to Eleventh Circuit oral arguments followed by lunch with the panel, to an observation of a sentencing proceeding followed by a question-and-answer session with the presiding judge, and much more. All of the Summer Series events were made available to summer interns for no charge, thanks to the Bench Bar Fund of the Middle District of Florida. Thank you to our local federal judges and their staff, the presenters, and the planning committee for their support and commitment to the Summer Series.
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.