SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff, Chief Judge

 

 

CHAMBERS LOCATION

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT

C. Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse

301 N. Miami Avenue, Room 817

Miami, FL 33128

COURTROOM LOCATION

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT

C. Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse

301 N. Miami Avenue

Courtroom 8

Miami, FL  33128

JUDICIAL ASSISTANT Emily Maza (305) 714-1752
LAW CLERK Carly Krupnick (305) 714-1753
 

COURTROOM DEPUTY

Noemi Sanabria (305) 714-1877

Effective January 1, 2017 any discovery disputes not resolved by meet and confer must be discussed with Judge Isicoff at a scheduled call prior to the filing of any other pleading relating to a discovery dispute. The call schedule will be on a first come first serve basis. Please contact Noemi Sanabria at (305) 714-1877 to schedule a conference call. Please be prepared to provide a call-in number. The party scheduling the conference is responsible for e-mailing the parties involved and please send a copy of the e-mail to lmi_chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov.   The call schedule is as follows:

  • July 7, 2017 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (15 minutes each)
  • July 21, 2017 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (15 minutes each)

 

TEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT YOU – PRACTICE TIPS FROM JUDGE ISICOFF

SPECIAL INFORMATION AND PROCEDURES:

  • Information for debtors without lawyers  
    • If you do not speak English you must bring an interpreter with you to court.
    • Si usted no habla inglés, tiene que venir a la corte con un traductor o alguna persona que le sirva de intérprete. Este Servicio no es proveído por este tribunal.
    • Si ou pa pale angle, ou dwe pote yon entèprèt nan tribinal la. Tribinal la pa bay yon entèprèt. 
    • If you need assistance because you are hearing impaired call (305) 714-1824 and ask for Melissa Camillo-Castillo.  
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CLERK’S OFFICE, THE JUDGE, AND THE JUDGE’S STAFF ARE NOT PERMITTED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.   
    • Courtcall is used for all telephonic hearings www.courtcall.com
    • Official transcripts can be obtained from Oulette & Mauldin, (305) 358-8875.
    • Judge Isicoff’s form Scheduling Order 
    • Judge Isicoff’s form for undue hardship reaffirmations – Reaffirmation Agreement – Approving Reaffirmation (after hearing) FORM FOR ATTORNEYS
    • Call chambers for Order status:
      • Only after checking the docket
      • Immediately after checking the docket if the order is on an emergency matter
      • No earlier than 14 days for other routine matters
      • No earlier than 60 days for matters under advisement
    • Comply with all emergency motion requirements
    • Do NOT call Judge Isicoff’s law clerk or judicial assistant about calendar matters; all calendar matters are handled by Judge Isicoff’s courtroom deputy.
    • NO EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONSJudge Isicoff does not entertain any oral or written ex parte communications.  Do not write letters or call Judge Isicoff, her law clerk or judicial assistant regarding cases.  Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9003 prohibits ex parte communications with the Judge by any party in interest regarding any matter affecting a particular case.  

 

INDIVIDUAL DEBTORS APPEARING WITHOUT LAWYERS (PRO SE DEBTORS):

  • If you are an individual debtor appearing without a lawyer, you are a pro se, or self-represented, debtor.  You should review the Court’s pro se web page here.  It is STRONGLY recommended that you watch the video on the pro se page before filing your bankruptcy petition. Clinics staffed by lawyers are scheduled at the courthouses on a rotating schedule.  Click here for the clinic schedule.
  • Anything you want to ask the Judge must be in writing and is called a motion. If you file a motion with the Court, it must clearly explain what you want the Judge to do and why. You must also send a copy of any motion and a copy of any notice of hearing to all people and companies entitled to receive them under the relevant rules.

      Pro Se Debtors’ Telephonic Appearances at Reaffirmation Hearings

  • Pro se debtors may appear at reaffirmation hearings by telephone.  Appearances by telephone must be arranged with Noemi Sanabria, Courtroom Deputy at (305) 714-1877, AT LEAST 48 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE HEARING.  The denial of a last‑minute request will not be an appropriate basis for requesting a continuance of the hearing. 

 

COURTROOM DECORUM 

        The Court’s Guidelines for Courtroom Decorum will be strictly enforced at all times, whether or not the Judge is in the courtroom.  Cell phones, beepers and any other device that makes noise must be turned off, or placed on vibrate, and may not be used, while court is in session.  Court is in session at any time the proceedings are being recorded even if the Judge is not present in the courtroom. 

 

HEARINGS 

  • Telephone Appearance
    • Except for pro se debtors appearing at reaffirmation hearings and certain other matters with prior permission (see below), all telephonic appearances before Judge Isicoff will be through CourtCall.  
    • Absent an emergency, telephone appearances may be arranged by calling Court Call not later than 6:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on the court day prior to the hearing date.  

        A WAIVER OF THE COURTCALL FEES CAN BE APPROVED FOR PRO SE PARTIES WHO HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN GRANTED IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS, PARTIES REPRESENTED BY LEGAL SERVICES ON A PRO BONO BASIS, AND CERTAIN GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES, IF REQUESTED PRIOR TO THE HEARING AND APPROVED BY JUDGE ISICOFF.  IF SUCH REQUEST IS APPROVED, THE COURT WILL NOTIFY COURTCALL PRIOR TO THE HEARING OF SUCH WAIVER OF FEES. 

        Under no circumstances may any participant record or broadcast the proceedings conducted by the Bankruptcy Court.  

  • Telephonic appearances are NOT permitted for the following matters (unless you are merely listening to the proceeding):  
  • Trials and evidentiary hearings – all counsel and all witnesses must appear in person, except as otherwise authorized by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and subject to court order.
  • NOTE:  Evidentiary hearings are any hearing that requires the Court to base its finding on facts, including without limitation.
    1. Motions to extend automatic stay
    2. Motions for prospective in rem relief
    3. First day motions in a chapter 11 case
    4. Cash collateral motions in a chapter 11 case
    5. Settlement motions that include bar orders
  • Chapter 11 status conferences and Chapter 11 confirmation hearings. 
  • Chapter 13 hearings, except those that are scheduled on non-chapter 13 calendar days.
  • Discovery disputes (unless the Court authorizes the telephonic appearance and local counsel is present in the courtroom).
  • Any matter designated by the Court as one requiring a personal appearance. 
  • Persons attending by phone must be available when the hearing is scheduled.  However sometimes matters start late and there is no guarantee when your matter will actually be called. 
  • Counsel appearing telephonically may not use a speakerphone; a handset must be used.  Counsel should state his/her name each time he/she speaks so the court reporter can identify who is speaking.  
  • If there is an equipment failure for any reason, the Judge will continue with the hearing without participation of counsel or the party appearing telephonically.  Persons  appearing by phone assume the risk of the prejudice that may result from not being present in person and possibly unable to therefore advance the party’s points in favor of, or in opposition to, the relief requested. 
  • Evidentiary Hearings
    • Evidentiary matters will not be considered on motion calendars.  Matters on the motion calendar that are evidentiary will be treated as a preliminary hearing.  It is counsel’s responsibility to advise the courtroom deputy if an evidentiary hearing is needed.  Nonetheless, the Judge may consider evidence at a non-evidentiary hearing at her discretion.  
    • The Court has equipment that allows evidence to be presented electronically.  Please contact the courtroom deputy for more information on this facility.
  • Chapter 13 Hearings 
    • Most uncontested Chapter 13 confirmation hearings and some uncontested Chapter 13 motions will be handled by the Chapter 13 Trustee without the Judge’s actual presence in the courtroom.  However, even though the Judge is not present, COURT IS IN SESSION and the proceedings are being recorded.  Consequently, all rules regarding courtroom decorum, including dress code, use of the podium and microphone, and use of cell phones, apply.
  • Discovery Disputes
    • The Court strictly enforces Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7037.  Counsel who fail to comply with the meet and confer requirements of the rules should expect to pay the costs of the other parties attending any discovery motion calendar.

 

CALENDAR: PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING AND CANCELING HEARING DATES

  • Judge Isicoff’s calendar is set and maintained exclusively by the courtroom deputy with the exception of certain matters that may be self-calendared.  Do not call Judge Isicoff’s law clerk or judicial assistant about calendar matters. 
  • Evidentiary hearings, or motions that will take in excess of ten minutes, must be specially set and will usually not be heard during motion calendar.  It is the responsibility of the party setting the hearing to determine whether a special setting is necessary and the availability of the parties.  The courtroom deputy will not act as a middleman to clear dates for parties who do not confer with each other.  Failure of counsel to confer with one another before setting hearings or requesting the necessary time may result in the hearing not going forward.  
  • Continuances for hearings on motion calendars may be requested by an agreed motion for continuance filed with a proposed agreed order, so long as the basis is unavailability of one or both parties.  If the parties do not agree, the motion for continuance will be set for hearing.  Continuances for pretrial conferences or specially set evidentiary matters will generally not be granted ex parte without a hearing even if agreed. Any request to continue a pre-trial conference must be accompanied by a completed scheduling order that includes a pre-trial date and trial week that has been provided by the courtroom deputy.  Use the Court’s form scheduling order. 
  • EMERGENCY matters are those where the requested relief requires immediate action.  All emergency motions must comply with Local Rule 9075-1.  No hearing will be scheduled until the motion is filed and reviewed by the Judge. 

 

PAPERS FILED WITHIN TWO (2) BUSINESS DAYS PRIOR TO HEARING 

Counsel seeking to file papers within forty-eight (48) hours of a hearing must comply with Local Rule 5005-1(F).  When submitting emergencies or urgent documents that need to be reviewed by Judge Isicoff within two (2) business days prior to the scheduled hearing, you must call chambers and speak to either the judicial assistant, the law clerk or the courtroom deputy if the pleading was e-filed.  Alternatively a copy of the FILED pleading (if not e-filed) may be hand-delivered to chambers instead.  It is counsel’s responsibility to confirm that the Judge has received emergency or urgent documents.

ORDERS 

        All parties are expected to be familiar with, and prepare all orders consistent with, the Court’s Guidelines for Preparing, Submitting and Serving Orders

FAILURE TO TIMELY SUBMIT AN ORDER MAY RESULT IN DENIAL OF THE RELIEF SOUGHT.  

  • Amended Orders

        When submitting amended orders please add a footnote after the word “amended” and provide a brief sentence indicating what the amendment is.  For example, if there is a change to paragraph 1 of the order state in the footnote “Revisions made to paragraph 1”.  

  • Paper Orders

         The Court will not sign a paper order unless (1) the order must be signed at the hearing or (2) the person submitting the order is not an e-filer. 

  • E-Orders

        Do not submit orders prior to the hearing, if the matter is set for hearing, or prior to filing of the certificate of no response, when negative notice procedures are used.   Do not file orders on ex parte matters prior to having filed, and where applicable, having served, the related motion. Premature orders will be trashed.

        Do NOT submit disputed orders through e-orders.  Disputed orders must be sent to the Judge’s chambers mail box (lmi_chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov) and all other parties must be included in any email sent to the judge unless the judge orders otherwise. 

  • Form Orders

        In addition to the form orders provided by the Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s office Judge Isicoff uses the following forms to be submitted by counsel: 

        a.     Scheduling order for adversary proceedings and contested matters

        b.     Reaffirmation Agreement approved after hearing on undue hardship 

        c.     Order Specially Setting Evidentiary Hearing (rev. 4-2017) Non Adversary Proceeding

  • Order on Matters not Heard by Judge 

        If you submit an order on a matter not heard by the Judge do NOT state in the preamble that the Judge heard the matter or state “for the reasons stated on the record.”