Notice of Change in Service Provider for Telephonic Appearances - effective September 10, 2018.
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
Flagler Waterview Building
1515 North Flagler Drive, 8th FloorCourtroom: A
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Whether or not the Judge is presiding, while at the courthouse (including during meetings of creditors under section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code) counsel and other persons should conduct themselves professionally, with appropriate respect for the Court, members of the Clerk’s Office, trustees, counsel to the United States Trustee, courthouse staff, opposing counsel, litigants, and witnesses. The Court’s Guidelines for Courtroom Decorum, which are posted on the Court’s website, will be strictly enforced.
Mobile phones may not be used in the courtroom at any time when court is in session except that counsel may use mobile phones to consult their personal calendars as necessary. Court is in session at any time the proceedings are being recorded even if the Judge is not presiding.
Personal conversations are to be conducted outside the courtroom when court is in session. Mobile phones and any other device that makes noise must be turned off, or placed in vibrate mode, while court is in session.
Judge Mora does not engage in any kind of communication with parties before the Court except on the record in the courtroom and through documents filed with the Clerk and orders entered by the court. Bankruptcy Rule 9003 prohibits such ex parte communication with the Judge by any party in interest regarding any matter affecting a case. Failure to comply with this rule may result in sanctions.
DO NOT write letters to, e-mail, or call Judge Mora, her law clerks, the Courtroom Deputy, or any member of the Clerk's office. Except in unusual circumstances, each letter or e-mail addressed to Judge Mora or her law clerks or otherwise sent to the court and identifying a particular case or proceeding will be placed on the relevant docket and made part of the public record. Any such letter or e-mail may be set for hearing.
The Local Rules, Administrative Orders, and Local Forms are posted on the Court’s website. Judge Mora expects that all counsel and pro se parties appearing before the Court will be familiar with these documents as updated and amended from time to time.
If you are an individual appearing without a lawyer (pro se), you should review the Court’s Pro Se web page. Pro se parties must comply with the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Local Rules of this Court. Copies of the Local Rules are available on the Court’s website.
The Judge, the Judge’s law clerks, and members of the Clerk’s Office are not permitted to provide legal advice of any kind. DO NOT contact the Judge, the Judge’s law clerks, or any person in the Clerk’s Office other than the Courtroom Deputy for any purpose. You may contact the Courtroom Deputy solely to address scheduling concerns or to arrange a telephonic appearance when permitted by the Court.
If you file a complaint, motion, or objection with the Court, it must clearly explain what you want the Judge to do and why. You must also send a copy of any such document and, if you are the movant, a copy of any notice of hearing issued by the court, to all people and companies entitled to receive them under the relevant rules.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY ANY PARTICIPANT RECORD OR BROADCAST THE PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED BY THE BANKRUPTCY COURT
CourtSolutions is used for all telephonic hearings www.court-solutions.com/SignUp and by telephone at (917) 746-7476. Participants must arrange for their telephonic appearance no later than 3:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on the court day prior to the hearing date.
Judge Mora encourages telephonic appearances for routine, non-evidentiary matters. There is no geographic limitation regarding who may appear by telephone. The ability to appear by telephone is a privilege and not a right and such privilege may be withdrawn by the Court at any time without prior notice. Judge Mora expects all persons making a telephonic appearance to be familiar with the Court's guidelines and all applicable Local Rules.
Most uncontested Chapter 13 confirmation hearings and many uncontested Chapter 13 motions are handled by the Chapter 13 Trustee without the Judge present in the courtroom. These matters are presented to the Court by agreed or uncontested proposed orders. However, even if the Judge is not present, court is in session and the proceedings are recorded. All rules regarding courtroom decorum apply, including dress code and use of mobile phones. Please be advised that Judge Mora often listens to the uncontested Chapter 13 docket from chambers.
Please note that telephonic appearances are not permitted for the Court's monthly chapter 13 calendar.
At the initial hearing on each contested matter, the Judge will consider whether an evidentiary or additional non-evidentiary hearing is required. Except for uncontested offers of proof necessary to support preliminary findings of fact, and except as provided in the following paragraph, matters on the motion calendar will be treated as preliminary, non-evidentiary hearings. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Judge may consider evidence at any hearing in his discretion.
Evidentiary hearings will not be set until all discovery has been completed. In order to request an evidentiary hearing upon completion of discovery, please email the Courtroom Deputy, Maria Romaguera. The email must include a certification from the requesting party verifying that all parties have completed all discovery and are ready to proceed to a hearing immediately (i.e. that day). If discovery is not yet complete, please do NOT contact the Courtroom Deputy for a hearing date.
Whether or not noticed as evidentiary hearings, all hearings on motions for (a) authority to use or to prohibit use of cash collateral, (b) approval of post-petition financing, (c) payment of pre-petition wages, or (d) payment of pre-petition claims, are considered evidentiary hearings. In each case, the movant should be prepared to make an offer of proof consistent with the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, the Local Rules, and relevant law.
Prior to the evidentiary hearing, the judge will typically issue an order with specific instructions regarding the exchange of exhibits, witness lists, and any objections thereto. Exhibits must be submitted to the court in electronic format on a USB drive and exchanged between all parties prior to the hearing in accordance with the relevant order.
At any evidentiary hearing, each litigant must bring a minimum of a single hard copy of all relevant exhibits for witnesses and a copy of ALL exhibits on a USB drive. If the parties have not previously agreed to use electronic copies of all exhibits, counsel for each litigant must also bring hard copies of all exhibits for personal use and as many hard copies of all exhibits as may be needed for use by opposing counsel.
For further guidance, please consult the Order Setting Filing and Disclosure Requirements for Pretrial and Trial, Order Providing Instructions to Pro Se Litigant (if applicable), and Local Rules.
Upon commencement of a chapter 11 case, the Court will enter an order setting a status conference for the purpose of reviewing the circumstances of the case, including any anticipated significant contested matters or adversary proceedings, and to consider whether it is appropriate to (1) set or change the deadline for filing proofs of claim or interest (other than claims of governmental units), (2) set a deadline for assumption and rejection of executory contracts and unexpired leases, (3) set a deadline for the filing of a disclosure statement and plan, (4) set a deadline for the solicitation of acceptances of a plan, (5) fix the scope and format of the notice to be provided regarding the hearing on approval of the disclosure statement, and (6) consider whether the hearing on approval of the disclosure statement should be combined with the hearing on confirmation of the plan. If a committee has been appointed under section 1102, the Court will also consider any issues relating to the requirements of section 1102(b)(3). If not previously determined, the Court may determine at the status conference whether the case is a single asset real estate case.
After the chapter 11 status conference, the Court typically enters a standard form Order Shortening Time for Filing Proofs of Claim, Establishing Plan and Disclosure Statement Filing Deadlines, and Addressing Related Matters. In most chapter 11 cases, this order (1) shortens the bar date for proofs of claim and interest to 90 days after the petition date (other than for governmental units), (2) sets a deadline for the filing of a plan and disclosure statement at 120 days after the petition date, and (3) at the debtor’s option, provides for the potential consolidation of the hearing on approval of the disclosure statement with the plan confirmation hearing.
Emergency matters are those where direct, immediate, and substantial harm will occur to the interest of an entity, to the bankruptcy estate, or to the debtor’s ability to reorganize, if the parties are not able to obtain immediate relief. The movant must comply with Local Rule 9075-1. The movant should call the Courtroom Deputy to advise the Court that an emergency motion has been filed. Once filed, an emergency motion will be reviewed by the Judge to determine if it should be treated as an emergency. The Courtroom Deputy will set the hearing as directed by the Judge. Upon being informed of the date and time of hearing, the moving party must immediately provide notice to opposing counsel and other parties in interest by a method or methods aimed at providing actual notice of the scheduled hearing (this may include one or more of telephone, fax, e-mail, and overnight mail), and the moving party shall file a certificate of service. Failure to provide immediate notice to opposing counsel and other parties in interest and file a certificate of service may result in denial of the relief requested and/or sanctions.
Judge Mora encourages the parties to use the electronic presentation facilities available in the courtroom. These include: (a) a lectern camera system that allows viewing of documentary evidence by the Court, other counsel, witnesses, and the gallery, without the need for multiple paper copies; (b) the ability to present documentary, video, and audio evidence via laptop plugged directly into the court’s audio-video system; (c) CD audio playback capability; and (d) DVD playback capability. The display system includes touch-screen technology that allows counsel and other parties to annotate documents on the display using a finger or stylus to “write” on the screen. Counsel wishing to use these systems may contact the Courtroom Deputy, at (561) 514-4109, in advance of the scheduled hearing to arrange a time to become familiar with the systems subject to courtroom and staff availability.
With the exception of matters that may be self-calendared (see Guidelines for Self-Calendaring), Judge Mora’s calendar is maintained exclusively by the Courtroom Deputy. Do not call Judge Mora’s law clerks about calendar matters.
Hearing dates for filed motions are assigned by the Court or may be self-calendared where permitted by the Court's electronic filing system. The movant will receive a notice of hearing. It is the responsibility of the movant to serve the notice of hearing on other parties and file an appropriate certificate of service as required by Local Rule 2002-1(F). Failure to timely serve a notice of hearing and file a certificate of service thereof may result in denial of the relief requested and/or sanctions.
Except in unusual circumstances, contested matters are set for non-evidentiary hearing on a weekly motion calendar. At the first hearing, the Judge determines whether an evidentiary or additional non-evidentiary hearing is required.
Continuances of matters must be requested by filing a motion for continuance. If all relevant parties agree to the requested continuance, the motion should be designated as agreed and an agreed proposed order may be submitted. If all relevant parties do not agree, the motion for continuance may be set for hearing.
Matters settled prior to a hearing may be removed from the calendar by calling the Courtroom Deputy not later than noon at least one (1) business day prior to the hearing.
In all written motions and applications, the opening paragraph should include a specific request for relief, cite appropriate sections of the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules, and provide a brief description of the basis for the requested relief. Written materials should be succinct and logically presented. Judge Mora encourages counsel to abide by the “Rule of 5 and 10.” A routine matter, typically requiring approximately five (5) minutes for presentation to the Court, should be limited to five (5) pages and include no more than five (5) case cites. A more complex matter, typically requiring approximately ten (10) minutes for presentation to the Court, should be limited to ten (10) pages and have no more than ten (10) case cites. Repetitive inclusion of detailed case background information is not favored; it is acceptable to incorporate by reference the Case Management Summary or another document filed on the docket for this purpose. If Judge Mora requires additional input from the parties, she will request that the parties file briefs or memoranda.
As required by Local Rule 9073-1(D), counsel for the movant must certify that he or she has contacted all adverse parties in an attempt to resolve the matter without a hearing. Failure to comply with the local rule may result in denial of the motion.
Judge Mora graduated from George Washington University, from which she received a B.B.A. with a concentration in Finance (1979). She received her law degree from New York University (J.D., 1982). She practiced in the areas of Bankruptcy and Commercial Finance from 1982 to 2018, when she was selected to serve as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Florida.
In 2014, based upon Judge Mora's contributions to the field of bankruptcy, Judge Mora was named a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. In 2016, in light of her professional achievements in the area of Commercial Finance, Judge Mora was named a Fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Attorneys. Judge Mora also previously served as Chair of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar, which represents the interests of over 5,000 business lawyers within the State of Florida. Throughout much of her legal practice, Judge Mora was active in the development of Florida’s commercial laws, having chaired the Florida Bar Task Force that sponsored the 2007 revisions of the Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors Statute (chapter 727, Florida Statutes). She also co-sponsored the 1997 revisions to Article 8 and 1999 revisions to Article 9, Uniform Commercial Code (chapters 678 and 679, Florida Statutes), and led a task force for the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar on revisions to Florida's foreclosure laws, as well as serving on a committee studying the Uniform Commissioner's proposed Uniform Receivership Act. Judge Mora has often lectured and published articles about insolvency, restructuring and commercial lending.
Judge Mora continues to serve on the 11th Circuit Council of the American College of Bankruptcy, and is a member of the Business Law Sections of the American Bar Association and The Florida Bar, as well as the Association of Commercial Finance Attorneys, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida and the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation.
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.
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”.
Titles of orders must specify whether the order grants, denies, or grants in part and denies in part the relief sought in the underlying motion.
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 (MAM_Chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov) and all other parties must be included in any email sent to the judge unless the judge orders otherwise.
In addition to the local form orders provided by the Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s office Judge Mora uses the following forms to be submitted by counsel:
a. Scheduling order for adversary proceedings
b. Reaffirmation Agreement approved after hearing on undue hardship
c. Order Specially Setting Evidentiary Hearing (rev. 03-2018) Non Adversary Proceeding
d. Order Specially Setting Evidentiary Hearing (Ch 13 - Short)
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.”