Notice of Change in Service Provider for Telephonic Appearances - effective January 7, 2020.
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
United States Courthouse
299 E. Broward Blvd.Courtroom: 308 / Chambers: Room 306
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Be civil. Be on time. Be concise.
The Local Rules, Administrative Orders, and Local Forms are posted on the Court’s website. Judge Grossman 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.
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. 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 The ability to appear by telephone is a privilege and not a right and such privilege may be withdrawn by the Court at any time without prior notice.
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 must register for the video conference only once for each case (including jointly administered cases) and may be heard on all matters set during the video conference.
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 of participate in the video conference 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. 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 Grossman often listens to the uncontested Chapter 13 docket from Chambers.
Telephonic apperances are now permitted at Chapter 13 calendars through CourtSolutions. Please refer to the Judge's guidelines and procedures in the "Telephonic Appearance" section.
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 must 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, or overnight delivery), and the moving party must 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 Grossman encourages the parties to use the electronic presentation facilities available in the courtroom. These include 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 and the ability to present documentary, video, and audio evidence via laptop plugged directly into the court’s audio-video system. 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 (954) 769-5765, in advance of the scheduled hearing to arrange a time to become familiar with the systems subject to courtroom and staff availability.
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.
Competing orders may be submitted as directed by the Court, or where opposing counsel disagree on a proposed order’s language. Competing orders must be submitted via email in Word format to Judge Grossman’s Chambers email address (SMG_Chambers@flsb.uscourts.gov). 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.