**Judge Ray requires the following language to be included in all Orders Continuing Pre-Trial Conferences:
The deadlines set forth in Paragraphs 2 (disclosures), 3 (discovery), 4 (joint pretrial stipulation), and 7 (documents required before trial) of this Court’s Order Setting Filing and Disclosure Requirements for Pretrial and Trial (the “Deadline Order”) shall be calculated based on the Continued Pretrial Conference Date. The deadlines set forth in Paragraphs 1(a) (right to jury trial; waiver), (1) (b) (objection to entry of final orders and judgments by the bankruptcy court; consent), and 10 (dispositive motions) of the Deadline Order are not extended by this order.
Judge Ray requires a hearing on ALL Applications for Employment of Professionals with the exception of Applications for Employment of Attorney for Trustee.
When setting a Chapter 13 Evidentiary hearing please advise the Courtroom Deputy if the hearing will be longer than 1 hour (the matter will be set on a separate date from Chapter 13 Evidentiary date). Also, counsel must bring an evidentiary binder with all exhibits and witness lists to the hearing.
Please communicate with Judge Ray’s Courtroom Deputy via email at Edy_Gomez@flsb.uscourts.gov
SUBMISSION OF ORDERS
- Proposed orders should conform with the Court’s Guidelines for Preparing, Submitting, and Serving Orders. The title of submitted orders should contain a description of the underlying motion, including the words “Ex Parte” or “Agreed” where applicable, and should reflect the Court’s ruling on the motion.
- EOrders may be submitted electronically in “PDF” format by registered users of CM/ECF. The Court strongly prefers electronic submission of proposed orders via CM/ECF’s EOrder function.
- Orders on MATTERS UNDER ADVISEMENT should be submitted via email in WORD format to: RBR_chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov. The email should identify why the parties found it necessary to submit competing orders. NO OTHER ORDERS OR COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS. Other pleadings, including Proofs of Claims will not be processed if submitted to this email address, unless specifically instructed to do so. For matters taken under advisement, you may call Judge Ray’s Law Clerk to inquire about the status of the matter ONLY if sixty (60) days have elapsed from the later of the close of the briefing schedule or the date the matter was taken under advisement.
- Check CM/ECF-PACER to determine the status of an order. For routine matters, you may call Judge Ray’s Judicial Assistant to inquire about the status of an order ONLY if ten (10) days have elapsed from the date the order was submitted.
- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY ANY PARTICIPANT RECORD OR BROADCAST THE PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED BY THE BANKRUPTCY COURT
- Judge Ray encourages telephone appearances for routine, non-evidentiary matters for out of area attorneys. Please note, however, that the ability to appear by telephone is a privilege and not a right and that such privilege may be withdrawn by the Court at any time.
- Telephonic appearances are permitted in all matters before the Court EXCEPT the following:
- Trials and evidentiary hearings – all counsel and all witnesses must appear in person;
- Chapter 11 status conferences – a representative of the debtor and debtor’s counsel must appear in person, other parties in interest may appear by telephone;
- Chapter 11 confirmation hearings – a representative of the debtor, debtor’s counsel, and all objecting parties must appear in person;
- Chapter 13 hearings of all kinds; and
- Any matter designated by the Court as one requiring a personal appearance.
- Counsel appearing by telephone may not use a speaker phone – a handset must be used. Counsel should state his or her name each time he or she is heard so the court reporter can identify who is speaking. Counsel should speak loudly, clearly, and slowly. Also, counsel should cover the telephone handset, or place the telephone on mute, when he or she is not talking, to minimize background noise that is broadcast over the speaker system in the courtroom. Failure to do so may result in the inability of the court reporter to fully and accurately transcribe the statements of counsel.
- During telephonic hearings, counsel present in the courtroom should move as close to the microphones as possible to ensure that all courtroom activity may be heard by those appearing by telephone.
- Participation of counsel appearing by telephone will be limited to a short statement or argument in support of, or in opposition to, the relief requested. Counsel may not engage in extended argument or participate in the introduction of evidence or examination of witnesses. If the Court determines it is appropriate to receive evidence at the scheduled hearing, the hearing will not be continued or rescheduled to accommodate counsel appearing by telephone.
- If there is an equipment failure for any reason, the Judge will proceed with the hearing without participation of counsel appearing telephonically.
- If an individual schedules a telephonic appearance and then fails to respond to the call of a matter on calendar, the court may pass the matter or may treat the failure to respond as a failure to appear.
- Counsel assumes the risk of the prejudice that may result from not being present in person and therefore possibly being unable to advance the party’s points in favor of, or in opposition to, the relief requested.
Arranging Telephonic Appearances
- Except for Pro Se debtors appearing at reaffirmation hearings and certain other matters with prior permission (see below), all telephonic appearances before Judge Ray will be through the services of CourtCall, an independent conference call company. Counsel wishing to appear by telephone must establish an account with CourtCall and follow its procedures. Judge Ray recommends that counsel intending to appear by telephone establish a CourtCall account in advance of their first intended appearance. CourtCall may be contacted on the web at: http://www.courtcall.com/ and by telephone at (888) 882-6878.
- Absent an emergency, telephone appearances may be arranged by calling CourtCall at (888) 882-6878 not later than 3:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on the court day prior to the hearing date. Any request for a telephonic appearance made after the 3:00 p.m. deadline must be Court approved by contacting Judge Ray’s Courtroom Deputy, Edy Gomez at (954) 769-5765.
- CourtCall will provide counsel with written confirmation of a scheduled telephonic appearance, and give counsel a number to call to make the telephonic appearance. It is counsel’s responsibility to dial into the call not later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing. CourtCall does not place a call to counsel. The initial charge per participant for a CourtCall appearance is $25.00 for the first 45 minutes, and then $6.50 for each additional 15 minute increment. If you do not timely call and connect with the CourtCall operator, you will be billed for the call and the hearing may proceed in your absence. Please check with CourtCall for more detailed fee rules.
- Telephonic appearances are connected directly with the sound system in the courtroom. To ensure the quality of the record, the use of mobile telephones, speaker phones, public telephone booths, or phones in other public places is prohibited except in the most extreme emergencies.
- Once placed into the hearing by the CourtCall operator, you will be able to hear all activity before the Court just as if you were in the courtroom. As with appearances made in person, you will need to wait for your matter to be called. The Judge will call the case, request appearances, and direct the manner in which the hearing proceeds. The court’s teleconferencing system allows more than one speaker to be heard, so the Judge can interrupt a speaker to ask a question or redirect the discussion. When the Judge informs the participants that the hearing is completed, you may disconnect and the next case will be called.
- 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 Ray. If such request is approved, the Court will notify CourtCall prior to the hearing of such waiver of fees.
Pro Se Debtors’ Telephonic Appearances at Reaffirmation Hearings
- In an effort to avoid the need for Pro Se debtors to be absent from work during regular working hours, Pro Se debtors may appear at reaffirmation hearings by telephone. Appearances by telephone must be arranged with Edy Gomez, Courtroom Deputy, (954) 769-5765, 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.
- Pro Se debtors should provide the Courtroom Deputy with a direct telephone line rather than a switchboard number unless absolutely necessary. Cell phone appearances are discouraged except where the Pro Se debtor is unable to provide another number where he or she will directly answer the telephone. Debtors must be available beginning when the hearing is scheduled until they are called by the Court. Pro Se debtors are reminded that a telephonic appearance is an appearance before the Court and that they should conduct themselves as if they were physically present in the courtroom.
Telephone Appearances at Specially Set Matters With Prior Court Permission
- Subject to prior approval, Judge Ray may permit telephonic appearances via conference call arranged by counsel. Such appearances will be limited to hearings which are specially se and which are scheduled separate from other matters. If you wish to arrange a conference call for a specially set hearing, contact Edy Gomez, (954) 769-5765, at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing to seek permission. The denial of a request to arrange an independent conference call will not be an appropriate basis for requesting a continuance of the hearing. If the conference call request is permitted, Judge Ray must be designated the moderator or leader of the conference call and counsel arranging the conference call must provide Ms. Gomez with the appropriate code. Counsel arranging the conference call will be required to provide the conference number and participant code to all interested parties.