CIRCUIT CIVIL COURT

Florida Circuit Civil Courts have jurisdiction in all civil actions exceeding $30,000 and also hear appeals from the County Courts. The 12th Circuit Civil Division has four Circuit Judges in Sarasota County, two Circuit Judges in Manatee County, and two Circuit Judges in DeSoto County. 

COUNTY CIVIL COURT

Florida County Courts have jurisdiction in civil actions which do not exceed $30,000, small claims (i.e., civil actions under $8,000) and most landlord / tenant actions. The County Civil Division has five County Judges in Sarasota County, four County Judges in Manatee County, and one County Judge in DeSoto County.

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Circuit Civil Division

Judge Don T. Hall

 

County Civil Division

Judge Danielle Brewer

 

Temporary New Procedures for Manatee County Circuit Civil Divisions B & D

Temporary procedures for the Manatee County Circuit Civil divisions B and D, effective immediately until further notice due to the COVID-19 state of emergency:

  1. NONEVIDENTIARY MOTION HEARINGS.
    The court will continue to hear non-evidentiary motions via telephone or Zoom videoconferencing. No specific order permitting telephone or Zoom videoconference appearance is required, however notices of hearing must include the conference call or Zoom videoconference number and any additional information necessary to connect to the call. The party or attorney setting the hearing must arrange a conference call or Zoom videoconference to which all attendees can connect. If a court reporter will participate, the court reporter must appear remotely and not in the courtroom. Telephonic and Zoom videoconference hearings remain open to the public.
  2. SCHEDULING HEARINGS.
    Hearings may still be booked through the JACS automated calendaring system. If hearing time is unavailable on certain date(s) or for longer hearings, please continue to contact the assigned judge’s judicial assistant. The judicial assistants have received a much higher volume of telephone calls. Email contact with the judicial assistant with copy to all parties generally is the quicker and more efficient means of communication.
  3. JURY TRIALS.
    All jury trials are canceled up and through September 18, 2020.
  4. NONJURY TRIALS AND EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS.
    Until further notice all nonjury trials and evidentiary hearings during the COVID-19 state of emergency must be conducted via Zoom videoconferencing. Any party may notice an evidentiary hearing or nonjury trial via Zoom videoconferencing without prior court approval. The parties should discuss the logistics of conducting any nonjury trial or evidentiary hearing and to notify the assigned judge in advance for final determination as to whether the proceeding will go forward.
  5. EMERGENCY MATTERS.
    Normal procedures for handling emergency matters outlined in Local Rule 4b are still followed. Emergency matters must first be presented to the assigned judge who, in most instances, will resolve the matter.
  6. RESIDENTIAL FORECLOSURE.
    Until further notice all residential foreclosure trials will be cancelled and may be reset for a future date
    no sooner than July 2, 2020 (See Governor Desantis’ Executive Order 20-94 as extended by Executive Orders 20-121 and 20-127). Parties and attorneys are advised that pursuant to Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC20-23, “The requirement in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.580(a) for the clerk to issue a writ of possession “forthwith” remains suspended.” Further, pursuant to 12th Circuit Administrative Order 2020-15a.1, the entry of default judgments and issuance of writs of possession has been suspended through July 1, 2020 (which date shall automatically extend if the timeframes currently set forth in Governor Desantis’ Executive Order 20-94 are amended, changed or altered).
  7. UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR.
    Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) is cancelled until further notice.
  8. COURT PROCEEDINGS ARE PUBLIC; HOW TO ACCESS A COURT HEARING.
    As a reminder, Court hearings remain public proceedings despite the existence of COVID-19. If a zoom hearing is authorized by the court, the log-in credentials must be included in the notice of hearing, and the public may use the log-in credentials to attend. If any member of the public wishes to attend a remote hearing via telephone or zoom and cannot locate the conference call or zoom information, please contact the judicial assistant a sufficient time in advance of the hearing.
  9. SUGGESTED NOTIFICATION TO ADD TO THE NOTICE OF HEARING.
    A suggested notification for notices of hearing is as follows:
    During the COVID-19 outbreak, no person will be permitted inside the courtroom for a circuit-civil hearing, including the court reporter. All individuals, including the court reporter, must attend telephonically or by using the Zoom platform.
  10. DO NOT ASSUME CANCELLATIONS OF HEARINGS OR TRIALS.
    The Court will enter an order cancelling a hearing or trial. Please do not assume that a hearing or trial is canceled in the absence of an order. If in doubt, please email the Court’s judicial assistant with copy to all other attorneys and/or parties.

Procedures revised June 5, 2020.

Circuit Civil Division B

Judge Charles Sniffen

 

Circuit Civil Division D

Judge Edward Nicholas

Schedule Hearings
 

County Civil Division 1

Judge Renee Inman

 

County Civil Division 3

Judge Heather Doyle

 

County Civil Division 4

Judge Mark Singer

 

Updated Temporary New Procedures for Sarasota County Circuit Civil Divisions A, C, E & H

Even during the Court’s emergency operations, the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91 (“Safer at Home Order”), and the Chief Justice of Florida’s Administrative Order 20-23, along with any extensions of those orders, the circuit civil divisions remain open and functional. Certain nonemergency hearings within the civil divisions may continue. We are trying to have simple, uniform procedures that assist practitioners and litigants. Please keep monitoring this site, as we try to communicate updated procedures as quickly as possible.

In Circuit Civil Sarasota County, effective immediately through Friday, May 29, 2020 (unless extended):

  1. NONEVIDENTIARY MOTION HEARINGS.
    Nonevidentiary motion hearings may occur at the discretion of the assigned judge. All nonevidentiary hearings, regardless of length, must be conducted via Zoom videoconferencing or telephonically. If there is a court reporter, the court reporter must be remote and not in the courtroom. Should the scheduled hearing present a difficulty for any party, please file a motion to continue and explain that difficulty. A copy of the motion should be emailed to the judicial assistant with copy to all parties.
  2. SCHEDULING HEARINGS.
    There is hearing time available on JACS over the next few weeks, and nothing about scheduling hearings has changed. If hearing time is not available in the timeframe you need, or for longer hearings, please continue to contact the assigned judge’s judicial assistant. The judicial assistants have received a much higher volume of telephone calls. Email contact with the judicial assistant with copy to all parties generally is the quicker and more efficient means of communication.
  3. JURY TRIALS.
    All jury trials during this time are cancelled.
  4. NONJURY TRIALS AND EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS.
    Currently, it is possible to conduct certain nonjury trials and evidentiary hearings during the COVID-19 state of emergency via Zoom videoconferencing at the discretion of the assigned judge. The parties should discuss the logistics of conducting any nonjury trial or evidentiary hearing and to notify the assigned judge in advance for final determination as to whether the proceeding may occur. If a party has an objection to proceeding, please explain the reason or difficulty in a motion to continue.
  5. EMERGENCY MATTERS.
    Normal procedures for handling emergency matters outlined in Local Rule 4b are still followed. Emergency matters must first be presented to the assigned judge who, in most instances, will resolve the matter.
  6. RESIDENTIAL FORECLOSURE.
    All foreclosure trials for April 2, 2020, April 23, 2020, and May 28 have been (or will be) cancelled and they have been (or will be) rescheduled for July 9, 2020. The April foreclosure motion days have also been cancelled and reset for May. No decision has been made yet on the May foreclosure motion date. Foreclosure sales have been continued until June. The Chief Justice of Florida has directed that all clerks suspend the issuance of writs of possession through at least May 29, 2020.
  7. UNIFORM MOTION CALENDAR.
    Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC) are cancelled through the end of May.
  8. USE OF VIDEO CONFERENCES FOR COURT HEARINGS.
    The Sarasota circuit civil judges are using the Zoom video conferencing platform to conduct court hearings, although traditional telephonic hearings remain a viable option. Information about Zoom may be found at its website. There are no fees for attending a court hearing via Zoom. This platform will allow individuals to appear via telephone if they do not have an available camera.
  9. COURT PROCEEDINGS ARE PUBLIC; HOW TO ACCESS A COURT HEARING.
    As a reminder, Court hearings remain public proceedings despite the existence of COVID-19. The Court has created a Zoom video conference page where attorneys and the public may obtain the log-in credentials for court hearings. Until the conclusion of the COVID-19, attorneys and parties must reference this webpage and, if then available, the log-in credentials for the Zoom videoconference.
  10. SUGGESTED NOTIFICATION TO ADD TO THE NOTICE OF HEARING.
    A suggested notification to include on the notice of hearing is as follows:

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, no person will be permitted inside the courtroom for a circuit-civil hearing, including the court reporter. All individuals, including the court reporter, must attend using the Zoom platform. Please select the “Join A Meeting” link and then enter the Meeting ID to access the hearing. There are no fees for attending this court hearing via the Zoom platform. No camera? No problem! The Zoom platform allows individuals to appear via telephone if they do not have an available camera. The log-in credentials are:

    Meeting ID:    [fill in]

    Password:       [fill in]
    Telephone:      (253) 215-8782 and use the same Meeting ID

    If the credentials to access the Court hearing are not listed in this notice of hearing, please visit the Court’s central Zoom access page at http://www.jud12.flcourts.org/Public-Information/Public-Court-Hearings. The judges will attempt to place the credential information on this website a few days prior to the hearing.
  11. DO NOT ASSUME CANCELLATIONS OF HEARINGS OR TRIALS.
    The Court will enter an order cancelling a hearing or trial. Please do not assume that a hearing or trial is cancelled. If in doubt, please email the Court’s judicial assistant with copy to all other attorneys.

Procedures revised April 4, 2020.


Circuit Civil Divisions A, C & E

 

Circuit Civil Division A

Judge Stephen M. Walker

Schedule Hearings
 

Circuit Civil Division C

Judge Andrea McHugh

Schedule Hearings
 

Circuit Civil Division E

Judge Hunter Carroll

Schedule Hearings
 

County Civil Division A

Judge Erika Quartermaine

 

County Civil Division B

Judge Maryann Boehm

 

Notice of Continuances for Judge Boehm - Division B

The Clerk of Court will send out notices of the new court dates. Judge Boehm will continue conducting some criminal and civil non-evidentiary matters that both parties agree can be resolved without appearing in person by phone conference or zoom.

Week of 5/4/20
  • Criminal Arraignments set for 5/4 continued to 6/29/20.
  • Criminal Arraignments set for 5/5 continued to 6/30/20.
  • Criminal Arraignments set for 5/6 continued to 7/1/20.
  • Criminal Arraignments set for 5/7 continued to 7/2/20.
Week of 5/11/20
  • County Civil Small Claims Pretrials set for 5/12 continued to 6/12/20.
  • Civil Traffic cases set for 5/14 continued to 6/11/20.

County Civil Division C

Judge David Denkin

 

County Civil Division D

Judge Phyllis Galen

 

Civil Magistrate

Magistrate Deborah Bailey

Schedule Hearings
 

UpdatedTemporary New Procedures for All South County (Venice) Circuit Matters

ALL SOUTH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HEARINGS WILL BE HELD VIA ZOOM With the exception of essential proceedings,[1] all hearings will be conducted via video conference. Essential proceedings can be and have been conducted effectively remotely; therefore, these proceedings may proceed in-person only if it is shown that conducting the proceedings remotely is infeasible due to the lack of technological resources.[2] If an essential matter must be heard in-person, file a motion requesting an in-person hearing and detail the difficulty that exists in being able to participate remotely. Email the motion to the judicial assistant with a copy to all parties.

Nothing precludes the parties from stipulating that matters be determined based solely on written submissions (written motions and written responses with legal analysis). Any such stipulation shall be evidenced by an agreement signed by all parties and filed with the Clerk.

  1. Use of Video Conference for Court Hearings: As a reminder, court hearings remain public proceedings despite the existence of COVID-19. The Court will use the Zoom video conference platform to conduct virtual court hearings. You can find information about Zoom at its website. Zoom is FREE. If you are unfamiliar with the Zoom platform, please go to the Zoom training page to learn how to access the platform.

    The Court must be able to see all parties. The use of the audio number provided with the hearing information is if the video/camera device does not have a two-way microphone.

  2. Scheduling Hearings: There is hearing time available on JACS and nothing about scheduling hearings has changed. If hearing time is not available in the timeframe you need, or for longer hearings, please continue to contact the judicial assistant. Alternate, unconventional dates are always available. Email contact with the judicial assistant with copy to all parties generally is the quicker and more efficient means of communication.
  3. Requirements for the Notice of Hearing: The public’s constitutional right of access to the courts is of upmost importance.[3] The necessary information that will permit the parties and the public access to the court hearing is accessible at Judge Ruhl's Zoom Video Conference Access Information page. Additionally, the Court also requires the notice of hearing to contain language that will direct the parties and public to that site.

CMC, Pre-Trial Conference & Docket Sounding: Plaintiff’s counsel (or defense counsel, if plaintiff is pro se) shall file a Notice of Hearing with all Zoom hearing information separate from the Order entered by the Court.

The Notice of Hearing shall contain the following: zoom link, meeting id, password, audio access (for issues as indicated in paragraph 2), and alternate link from the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court website. If any of the listed information is missing, the hearing will be cancelled by the Court without further notice to the parties as the hearing was not properly noticed.

LANGUAGE TO INCLUDE IN NOTICE OF HEARING:

Notice of Hearing for Zoom Video Conference

All parties must appear via VIDEO conference; meaning, the Court must be able to see all parties. Please log into your hearing a few minutes early to test mic and video connections. When asked for your name, please type your FIRST and LAST name so the court may identify you properly. Zoom is FREE. Information about Zoom may be found at its website https://www.zoom.us. If you are unfamiliar with the Zoom platform, please go to the ZOOM training page website at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials to learn how to access the platform for use.

DATE & TIME: [insert date & time here]
MATTER: [insert matter here]
LOCATION: Video Hearing

Accessing the Hearing:
Zoom Link:
Meeting Id:
Audio (if the video/camera device does not have a two-way microphone):
Alternate link: https://www.jud12.flcourts.org/Public-Information/Public-Court-Hearings/ctl/meetings/mid/1141/pid/11

  1. Jury Trials: All jury trials are cancelled through September 18, 2020.[4] However, parties shall attend the Pre-Trial Conference, as it will serve as a Status Conference. If the parties would like a sooner Status Conference, please review JACS for available hearing time or contact the judicial assistant.
  2. Nonjury Trials and Evidentiary Hearings: Prior to docket sounding, the parties shall discuss the logistics of conducting any nonjury trials or evidentiary hearing remotely. Once a date/time certain has been reserved, parties shall set a short Status Conference with the Court to discuss any issues concerning video conferencing matters. For those on a trial docket, this date will usually be set by the Court to occur after Docket Sounding and before the start of trial. Parties are encouraged to review the Civil Guidelines for Virtual Evidentiary Hearings prior to setting the Status Conference.
  3. Emergency Matters: Normal procedures for handling emergency matters outlined in Local Rule 4b are still followed. The Court, when considering any emergency motion, may a require a written response from the other party prior to a video conference hearing being set and the Court may rule upon the motion without any hearing.
  4. Uniform Motion Calendar: UMCs are cancelled. Please review JACS for all available hearing time. There are 5-minute time slots available every week, except during the trial periods. If the parties are looking for hearing time within a week or are not able to find time, proceed with the normal procedure (see paragraph 3). 

Last updated June 1, 2020.

[1] Essential proceedings are Injunction hearings, Emergency Temporary Guardianship hearings, Final Guardianship hearings, and hearings on DNR Orders. See In Re: Comprehensive COVID-19 Emergency Measures for the Florida State Courts, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC20-23.1, Amendment 1 (Fla. May 4, 2020); In Re: COVID-19 Emergency Procedures and Mission Essential Functions, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Admin. Order No. 2020-4.2 (March 18, 2020).

[2] “Participants who have the capability of participating by electronic means in remote court proceedings shall do so.” In Re: Comprehensive COVID-19 Emergency Measures for the Florida State Courts, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC20-23, Amendment 2 (Fla. May 21, 2020).

[3] Fla. Const. art. I, § 21.

[4] In Re: Order Suspending Civil Jury Trials Through September 18, 2020, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Admin. Order No. 2020-13.01 (May 29, 2020).

Circuit Civil Division H

 

Circuit Civil Division H

Judge Maria Ruhl

 

County Civil Division H

Judge Dana Moss

 

Important COVID-19 Updates

The Florida Supreme Court has suspended all in-person court appearances in county courts throughout Florida until May 29, 2020, per Administrative Order AOSC20-23.  The Florida Supreme Court will issue additional orders extending or modifying this date as warranted by the changing circumstances of this public health emergency.

If a party has a case that had been set for an in-person hearing during this emergency stay, the Clerk or Judge’s office will send notice to the party advising whether a new future date is been assigned or otherwise directing the party to contact the court for a new date when in-person hearings resume.  Parties are responsible for ensuring that the Sarasota County Clerk of Court has the correct mailing address for the party.

Therefore, during the COVID-19 outbreak Judge Moss will conduct hearings either by telephone or videoconferencing using ZOOM.  If you have a matter that needs immediate attention or that you would like reviewed during this emergency, please contact Kelly Berney at (941) 861-3050 or kberney@jud12.flcourts.org to determine if the matter is appropriate for a telephonic hearing/ videoconferencing.

All Zoom hearings scheduled for a particular day will use the same credentials.  Please understand that each session's credentials are unique and nontransferable.  All notices for hearing shall include the credentials for attendance by telephone or videoconferencing.  Kelly Berney will provide the credentials upon scheduling the matter through her.  As a courtesy, please keep all microphones muted while your case is not being addressed. Business casual attire is appropriate for Zoom hearings during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any difficulties, please immediately contact Kelly Berney.

Notice of Continuances for South County Venice Cases

The Clerk of Court will send out notices of the new court dates. As an aside, Judge Moss is willing to set up a video/audio conference call to handle any non-evidentiary matters that both parties agree can be resolved without appearing in person. Please contact Kelly Berney directly by email, or telephone, (941) 861-3050, to schedule such matters. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

Week of 05/04/2020
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Monday, May 4, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Criminal Pretrial Conferences set for Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in Venice are continued to Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
  • County Civil Small Claims Pretrial Conferences set for Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in Venice are continued to Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 1:30pm.
  • County Civil Lack of Prosecution Hearings set for Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, May 22, 2020 at 10:30am. All parties to contact the Court for instructions for telephonic appearance.
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Thursday, May 4, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Civil Traffic set for Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Venice are continued to Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Week of 05/11/2020
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Monday, May 11, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Civil Small Claims Pretrial Conferences set for Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Venice are continued to Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 1:30pm.
  • County Civil Animal & Tobacco Hearings set for Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Venice are continued to Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Thursday, May 14, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Criminal VOPs set for Friday, May 15, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 12, 2020.

Week of 05/18/2020
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Monday, May 18, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Criminal Pretrial Conferences set for Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Venice are continued to Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
  • County Civil Small Claims Pretrial Conferences set for Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Venice are continued to Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
  • County Criminal Arraignments set for Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Venice are continued to Friday, June 5, 2020. Specific time provided by Judicial Assistant.
  • County Civil Traffic set for Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Venice are continued to Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Week of 05/25/2020
  • No County Criminal Jury Trials.