Friday, August 14, 2020

Revised Guidelines For FL Phased Court Operations


This week, the Supreme Court of Florida amended guidelines for the four-phased timeline that will govern the return to normal statewide court operations. The four phases were established in prior orders issued since the state courts began pandemic operations in March, all based on recommendations of a COVID-19 Workgroup and general public health guidelines. The Workgroup’s mission is to find ways for courts to operate as fully as possible during each phase of the pandemic. The Workgroup is chaired by Ninth Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon from Orlando. The amendments pertain to the so-called Comprehensive Measures and the Public Health & Safety Precautions that provide standards for pandemic operations in the state courts. They make the following major changes: 1) Provide updated criteria for the transition to different phases 2) Require a human resources policy at each court to address potential COVID-19 exposure of court employees and judges 3) Update health screening criteria for entry into a courthouse  4) Provide updated guidance for courts in monitoring local conditions and public health data when expanding in-person proceedings and 5) Provide a methodology to determine deteriorating local health conditions that would require an amendment to a local operational plan or a return to an earlier phase. Florida’s courts have been operating under emergency guidelines since March when the court suspended jury trials and took other actions restricting potential disease spreading activities in the state courts. Some limited jury trials have resumed in parts of the state using remote technology for all or part of the proceedings (refer to my prior post) See more in revision 6 of the COVID-19 admin order here--

Thursday, August 13, 2020

No Takers On Virtual Trials In Orlando

While the 4th and 11th Judicial Circuits of Florida have utilized remote technology in selecting jurors and trying cases during COVID-19 court closures, the 9th Judicial Circuit has yet to attract parties and counsel despite its selection for the pilot program authorized by the Supreme Court of Florida. As such, the court has even created wanted posters: 

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Courts have been selected as one of only five (5) sites in the State for the Remote Civil Jury Trial Pilot Project!* 
Civil jury cases that meet the following five (5) criteria: Two (2) parties only; In-person jury selection may be accomplished in two (2) hours or less for each party; The evidentiary portion of trial can be completed remotely in less than two (2) days via Zoom, Teams or WebEx (instruction, closings and deliberations to occur in person); The case is ready for trial in July 2020; and, Both parties consent to a remote trial in the pilot project and waive any appellate issue as to the manner in which the case was tried. If you believe you have a case that meets all the criteria, and you want to be on the cutting edge of trial law in the entire United States (maybe even the whole world!), contact your division trial judge in Orange or Osceola for more details immediately. There are limited spots for this opportunity! All trials must be completed by October 2, 2020. Be among the very first in the Central Florida community to try a case remotely! If you have any questions about the Civil Jury Trial Pilot Project, please contact Judge Lisa Munyon at

*For additional details, see Fla. S. Ct. AOSC20-31 and your Orange/Osceola division trial judge. 

So far, the results from other jurisdictions have been encouraging with some anecdotes to be sure! See more here--