UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
United States Courthouse
299 E. Broward Blvd.Courtroom: 308 / Chambers: Room 306
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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.
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 only to address scheduling matters.
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.
Local Rule 5005-1(F) Emergency Submittals. Any party filing an emergency submittal under Local Rule 5005-1(F) must promptly notify the Courtroom Deputy that a Local Rule 5005-1(F) emergency submittal has been filed.
Judge Grossman believes in promptly addressing discovery disputes, and in strictly enforcing Rule 37(a)(5). With certain exceptions, Rule 37(a)(5) requires the Court to award attorneys’ fees and costs if a discovery motion is granted, or if a disclosure or requested discovery was provided after a motion was filed.
If a discovery dispute occurs, the parties must first, as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1) (incorporated by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7037), confer in a good faith to attempt to resolve the issues. If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, any party may file a short (not to exceed five pages) motion briefly summarizing the discovery dispute and requesting an expedited telephonic hearing. Immediately after filing the motion, the filing party must promptly contact the Courtroom Deputy to schedule an expedited telephonic hearing on the motion.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY ANY PARTICIPANT RECORD OR BROADCAST THE PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED BY THE BANKRUPTCY COURT
Judge Grossman encourages telephonic appearances for routine, non-evidentiary matters, even when the Court holds hearings in person. There is no geographic limitation regarding who may appear by telephone.
Use of a speakerphone or a public telephone is prohibited.
No person may record the proceedings in any manner.
Persons participating in a hearing by telephone must: (a) state their name each time they speak; (b) speak loudly, clearly, and slowly; and (c) place the telephone on mute when they are not talking. Failure to do so may result in an incomplete or inaccurate record of the proceedings.
When appearing by telephone, you are connected directly with the sound system in the courtroom and will be able to hear all activity before the Court just as if you were in the courtroom. As with appearances in person, you must wait for the Judge to call the case, at which point he will request appearances and direct the manner in which the hearing proceeds. At the conclusion of your matter, you may hang up without requesting to be excused.
If a person schedules a telephonic appearance and then fails to respond to the call of a matter, the Court may treat the failure to respond as a failure to appear.
When persons are participating by telephone, those 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.
Except when the Court schedules a hearing exclusively by telephone: (a) 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; (b) if there is an equipment failure for any reason the Court may proceed with the hearing; (c) those appearing by telephone assume the risk of prejudice that may result from not being present in person and therefore possibly being unable to advance their positions; and (d) if the Court determines it is appropriate to receive evidence, those appearing by telephone may not introduce evidence or question witnesses and the hearing will not be continued or rescheduled to accommodate those appearing by telephone.
Unless the Court specifically sets a trial or evidentiary hearing by telephone or video conference, all witnesses and all counsel participating in the trial must appear in person. Other counsel and parties may listen to a trial or evidentiary hearing by telephone, but may not participate in any way.
Unless the Court specifically sets a chapter 11 confirmation hearing by telephone or video conference, the following parties must appear in person: the debtor (if an individual); a duly authorized representative of the debtor (if not an individual); debtor’s counsel; and counsel for all objecting parties.
Unless otherwise ordered, Judge Grossman permits telephone appearances only through CourtSolutions, an independent, fee-based conference call service. To appear by telephone, you must establish an account with CourtSolutions and follow its procedures. It is wise to establish an account well ahead of an initial telephone appearance. Reservations should be arranged online at https://www.court-solutions.com. If a party is unable to register online, a reservation may also be made by telephone at (917) 746-7476.
Absent an emergency, telephone appearances must be arranged with the conference call service not later than 3:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on the court day before the hearing date.
Each participant must dial into the call no later than 10 minutes before the scheduled hearing. The conference call service will not call participants.
If requested not later than two court days before the hearing and approved by Judge Grossman, the conference call service fee may be waived for pro se parties who are unable to pay the fee, parties represented on a pro bono basis, and certain governmental entities.
Unless ordered otherwise, the following procedures apply to all hearings scheduled as video conferences:
1. VIDEO CONFERENCE. The hearing will take place only by video conference. Do not go to the courthouse. Attorneys must advise their clients and witnesses not to appear at the courthouse. The video conference will be conducted using the services of Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Zoom will provide a password-protected link for the appropriate Zoom video conference to those who register to participate in accordance with paragraph 2 below and who have been approved by the Court. All participants must conduct a pre-hearing test of Zoom using the same equipment that they intend to use during the hearing.
2. REGISTRATION FOR VIDEO CONFERENCE. Each person wishing to participate in the hearing by video conference must register for the video conference using the web address provided in the notice of hearing generated by the Court or provided in the Court order scheduling the hearing. Participants must register at least 24 hours prior to the hearing, except for hearings set on an emergency basis, in which case participants must register at least one hour prior to the hearing. If the Court sets more than one matter for hearing by video conference at the same date and time, participants need register only once but must provide all relevant case numbers, case names and clients in the registration process.
3. LIMIT ON PARTICIPATION BY VIDEO; ALTERNATIVE TELEPHONE PARTICIPATION. Parties should limit video conference participation to those persons necessary to present the matter(s) set for hearing. If the number of persons wishing to participate in the video conference, in the Court’s view, exceeds the number that would permit the efficient and reliable transmission of the hearing by video conference, the Court may require certain persons to participate in the hearing only by telephone. The Court will provide to each person participating by telephone separate dial-in instructions, which may be used with any telephone equipment.
4. PUBLIC ACCESS. The general public is invited to listen to the hearing by telephone. Any person wishing to listen to the hearing by telephone may e-mail the courtroom deputy for the relevant Judge to obtain dial-in instructions. E-mail contact information for courtroom deputies is provided under the name of each Judge on this web site.
5. RECORDING PROHIBITED; OFFICIAL RECORD. No person may record the proceedings from any location by any means. The audio recording created and maintained by the Court will be the sole basis for creation of a transcript that constitutes the official record of the hearing.
6. REMOTE WITNESS TESTIMONY. In accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 43(a) (made applicable by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9017), for good cause and in compelling circumstances, a witness may be permitted to testify by contemporaneous transmission from a location other than the courtroom. Unless ordered otherwise, the Court will permit examination and/or cross-examination of witnesses in all evidentiary hearings conducted by video conference. The Court will administer the oath to each remote witness during the video conference and witness testimony will have the same effect and be binding upon each remote witness in the same manner as if such remote witness was sworn in by the Court in person in open court. As additional safeguards, the Court requires as follows: (a) if requested, each remote witness must disclose the city, state and country, and the type of place (such as home or office), where she or he is located while testifying; (b) no other person is permitted to be in the same room with any remote witness unless specifically authorized by the Court; (c) each remote witness shall have with her or him only those documents also provided to the Court for consideration in connection with the matter(s) set for hearing and no other documents or data unless specifically authorized by the Court; and (d) no person may communicate with a witness during his or her testimony, except by direct examination or cross-examination on the record, unless specifically authorized by the Court.
7. RESPONSIBILITY FOR REMOTE WITNESSES: The party sponsoring each remote witness shall be responsible for ensuring that the remote witness has registered with Zoom and obtained the password-protected link to the video conference, the remote witness has obtained all exhibits prior to the hearing, and the remote witness has the technological capability to participate in the hearing via Zoom.
8. CONDUCT DURING HEARING. To avoid distractions during the hearing, all participants must mute electronic devices and disable all audible alerts. Although conducted using video conferencing technology, the hearing is a court proceeding. The formalities of the courtroom must be observed. Counsel and witnesses must dress appropriately, exercise civility, and otherwise conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the dignity of the Court.
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. Even if the Judge is not present in the courtroom, Court is still 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 Grossman often listens to the uncontested Chapter 13 docket from Chambers.
Telephonic appearances are now permitted at Chapter 13 calendars through CourtSolutions. Please refer to the Judge's guidelines and procedures in the "Telephonic Appearance" section.
After the chapter 11 status conference, the Court typically enters a standard form Order Establishing Plan and Disclosure Statement Filing Deadlines, and Addressing Related Matters. In most chapter 11 cases, this order sets a deadline for the filing of a plan and disclosure statement at 120 days after the petition date, and at the debtor’s option, provides for the potential consolidation of the hearing on approval of the disclosure statement with the plan confirmation hearing.
Hearing dates for filed motions are assigned by the Court. The movant will receive a notice of hearing. If required by Local Rule 9073-1(B), the movant must serve the notice of hearing on those parties entitled to service, and file a certificate of service. Failure to timely serve a notice of hearing and file a certificate of service thereof, when required, may result in denial of the relief requested and sanctions.
Except in unusual circumstances, contested matters are set for non-evidentiary hearing on a weekly motion 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 next 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.
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 must 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.
Any request to continue a hearing must be made by filing a motion. 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 before a hearing may be removed from the calendar by contacting the Courtroom Deputy not later than noon at least one business day before the hearing.
In addition to the requirements of the Court’s Guidelines for Preparing, Submitting and Serving Orders, Judge Grossman requires the following:
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.
Competing orders must be submitted via email in Word format to Judge Grossman’s Chambers email address (SMG_Chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov), with a copy to all other counsel. This email address is strictly for competing orders and must not be used under any other circumstances, unless specifically instructed to do so. The email accompanying a competing order must identify the material differences between the competing orders and, to the extent reasonably practicable, include a separate redline comparison showing the differences between the competing orders.
Judge Grossman 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 Grossman or his law clerks regarding cases. Except in unusual circumstances, each letter or e-mail addressed to Judge Grossman or his 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.