Thursday, April 29, 2021

Active Case Management Comes to FL 9th Circuit

At today's Judicial Town Hall meeting held by Chief Judge Myers, the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida rolled out a new Administrative Order implementing a much more active case management rubric than this jurisdiction has ever known. Counsel will now be required to designate at the outset whether a civil case in county or circuit court is on a complex (per civil rule), streamlined (12 months), or general (18 months) track. Much like federal court, with track designation the court will then issue a Standing Case Management Order imposing deadlines intended to move the case to conclusion under prescribed timelines based on its type. The active case management program will not apply to cases assigned to: (a) Business Court; (b) any civil case designated as complex under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.201; and (c) any civil cases filed on or before April 29, 2021. Existing cases in which the court has entered an order setting the case for pre-trial and/or trial will keep the dates and deadlines already set forth therein which shall govern the progress of those cases. With regard to dispute resolution, within 30 days after completion of the depositions of all parties, counsel shall meet and confer regarding whether an Early Mediation would be productive to resolution of certain issues or the entire case. A so-called Final Mediation shall occur no later than 30 days after completion of all discovery. The new program requires a plaintiff filing a case to include a standard case management plan with the complaint. Until a case management plan is filed by the plaintiff initiating a case, the Clerk will not issue a summons. See more in A.O. 2021-4 here-- and forms found here--

Monday, April 5, 2021

FL S. Ct. ADR & MEAC Vacancies

For those inclined to stay up on the very latest in our profession, the Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) is currently accepting applications for six member appointments to the Florida Supreme Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Rules and Policy Committee. The committee provides the court with recommendations relating to ADR legislation, and all aspects of ADR policy and rules including, but not limited to, model ADR practices, mediator certification and renewal requirements, continuing education requirements, and mediation training program requirements. The committee consists of 17 volunteer members and may include mediation trainers, Florida Supreme Court certified mediators, arbitrators, trial court administrators, parenting coordinators, attorneys, and judges. Terms are staggered and no member shall serve more than nine years. Additionally, the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) is a nine member body that issues written advisory ethics opinions for mediators subject to the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. MEAC is accepting applications for three vacancies of four year terms as follows: One certified mediator from the Northern Division encompassing the First, Second, Third, Eighth and Fourteenth judicial circuits; One certified mediator from the Central Division encompassing the Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth judicial circuits; and One certified mediator from the Southwest encompassing the Sixth, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Twentieth judicial circuits. Applicants shall not also serve on the Mediator Qualifications and Discipline Review Board. These appointments are made by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida based upon competence, specialized knowledge, experience in ADR processes, and a commitment to the time necessary to be an active contributor. If interested in serving on either committee, a letter of interest with current résumé should be submitted by April 15, 2021 to


Friday, April 2, 2021

Final loss for FL in Water War with GA

Because of the rare use of special masters by the U.S. Supreme Court, this blog has followed the FL-GA Water Wars for years. Now, because this was always a case of original jurisdiction, SCOTUS unanimously rejected Florida's exceptions taken and dismissed the case, essentially finding for GA. This comes even after rejecting a now deceased special master's ruling in favor of Florida and remanding to a new special master to make further findings regarding Florida's claim it suffered harm from the overconsumption of water by Georgia. The second master's recommendation was not to grant Florida’s request for a decree equitably apportioning the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The master found the evidence did not show harm to Florida caused by Georgia and that Georgia’s water use is reasonable. Additionally, the evidence did not show that the benefits of apportionment would substantially outweigh the potential harms. Florida asserted the first Special Master found that Georgia’s upstream water use was unreasonable and that the Supreme Court already rejected an additional finding that nothing could be done because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (which manages the reservoirs in the river system) was not a party to the case. Florida sought a cap to alleviate past damage allegedly caused by Georgia. Georgia maintained any limits on its water use would undermine its economy, including the growth of the Atlanta area and the state’s agriculture industry. Florida wanted to limit Georgia’s water consumption from the basin, including Lake Lanier, to 1992 levels and to get reparations for economic and environmental harm to Apalachicola's oyster fisheries from drought. Georgia claimed Florida failed to prove harm to aquatic species and the high court yesterday agreed. The opinion finding Florida has not met the exacting standard necessary to warrant the exercise of this Court’s extraordinary authority to control the conduct of a coequal sovereign was authored by Justice Barrett and can be found here-