Amanda Arnold Sansone

United States Magistrate Judge


Tampa Division
(813) 301-5315
Chambers Email:  Chambers_FLMD_Sansone@flmd.uscourts.gov


Biography:

Amanda Arnold Sansone is a United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Florida. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division at the Office of the Florida Attorney General and as a Shareholder with Carlton Fields, P.A., specializing in complex litigation and class action defense. Judge Sansone served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Wilson of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and to the Honorable Susan C. Bucklew of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Judge Sansone earned her Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of Florida's Levin College of Law and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Chambers Staff:

  Cathy Morgan
Courtroom Deputy
(813) 301-5777
Brooke Eisenhut
Law Clerk - odd cases
(813) 301-5782
Diego Pestana
Law Clerk - even cases
(813) 301-5779

 

Case & Trial Management Preferences

These preferences shall not curtail or otherwise limit Judge Sansone's discretion over all matters relating to cases over which she presides, or confer any substantive rights upon any party. In addition, these shall not be construed to limit the authority of any judicial officer assigned to a particular case.


General

Case Related Inquiries via Telephone:
Telephone calls to chambers are permitted, but should be reserved primarily for situations requiring immediate attention in cases assigned or referred to Judge Sansone.


Optical Character Recognition:
When possible, all documents filed through CM/ECF should be scanned with Optical Character Recognition ("OCR") and rendered text-searchable. OCR is available in most document-scanning and PDF-creation software packages. OCR is most effective on primarily text-based documents, and is generally not beneficial for maps, photographs, charts, graphs, and other non-text documents.


Official Record of Proceedings:
All proceedings (except if parties call in during depositions) before Judge Sansone are recorded by the courtroom tape recording system or by a court reporter.


Pro Se Litigants:
Litigants proceeding pro se are exempt from CM/ECF requirements. Parties represented by counsel, however, must file documents electronically, even in pro se cases. Counsel must also provide copies of electronically filed documents to pro se litigants. Pro se litigants are directed to make any filings via hand delivery or U.S. mail to the Clerk's office and by delivering a copy to the attorney for the opposing party. Court orders will be provided to pro se litigants by U.S. mail at the current address listed on the docket sheet. Pro se litigants must keep current contact information on file with the Court, or risk dismissal of claims or other sanctions. All pro se litigants and represented parties opposing pro se litigants are directed to review and comply with the Court's Local Rules as well as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


Rule 16 Preliminary Pretrial Conference:
The Court holds preliminary pretrial conferences in civil cases at the request of the presiding District Judge. At the conference, the Court and counsel will discuss the pretrial needs of a case and construct a tailored case management and scheduling order addressing the following with counsel:


  • the alleged facts of the case;
  • unique issues anticipated by counsel;
  • pretrial deadlines to govern the case;
  • need for expert witnesses;
  • scope of discovery (e.g., proportionality, preserving discoverable documents and information, discovery of electronically stored information, any agreement between the parties pursuant to Fed. R. Evid. 502(d), any request for a stipulated protective order);
  • prospects of settlement;
  • pending motions;
  • possibility of consenting to Judge Sansone's jurisdiction;
  • length of trial; and
  • the Court's case management practices and procedures.

 

The length of the conference depends on the complexity of the case and the scope of matters to be discussed. Counsel and pro se litigants must appear in person at the preliminary pretrial conference. However, the Court will entertain motions requesting telephonic appearances, but only in cases that do not involve pro se litigants.


Motions

Courtesy Copies of Motion Papers:
Generally, courtesy copies of all motions and briefs should not be forwarded to chambers, including exhibits and attachments, as they are available to the Court through CM/ECF. However, where the exhibits are in excess of 100 pages, Judge Sansone prefers that counsel deliver to chambers a hard copy of the appendix/exhibits.


Deposition Transcripts as Exhibits:
If depositions are filed as an exhibit to a motion or response, the Court requires the deposition be filed in its entirety (preferably condensed versions) with exhibits.


Discovery Motions:
Before filing or responding to any motion in a civil case, the parties should review and comply with the standards set forth in the Middle District of Florida Handbook on Civil Discovery Practice (rev. June 5, 2015). Additionally, the Court requires strict compliance with the Local Rules. Before filing any discovery-related motion in a civil case, the moving party shall confer with counsel for the opposing party in a good-faith effort to resolve the issues raised by the motion. M.D. Fla. R. 3.01(g). The moving party shall also file with the motion a statement certifying that the moving party has conferred with opposing counsel and that counsel have been unable to reach an agreement on the resolution of the motion. Id. The term "confer" in Local Rule 3.01(g) requires a substantive conversation in person or by telephone in a good-faith effort to resolve the motion without court action. Exchanges of ultimatums by email or by letter do not satisfy the good-faith conference requirement. Similarly, mere attempts to confer that do not result in a meaningful and productive exchange between counsel do not satisfy the good-faith conference requirement. The Court may deny motions that fail to include a Local Rule 3.01(g) certificate. Additionally, failure to comply fully with Local Rule 3.04 will cause a discovery motion to be denied. Requests for leave to exceed page limits imposed by Local Rule 3.01 and requests for leave to file reply memoranda on routine discovery motions are strongly disfavored absent a showing of good cause.


Emergency and Other Time-Sensitive Motions:
Emergency motions should be clearly and conspicuously designated as such in the caption of the motion. See M.D. Fla. R. 3.01(e). If a motion is not a true emergency but is otherwise time-sensitive, counsel must indicate that the matter is time-sensitive in the caption of the motion and explain in the first paragraph of the body of the motion why the matter is time-sensitive. Moving party shall contact the Clerk's Office to notify them of the filing of an emergency motion.


Motions to Compel/Protective Order - Local Rule 3.04:
The parties are directed to Local Rule 3.04.


Motions to File Under Seal:
Motions requesting leave to file any materials under seal must comply with the requirements of Local Rule 1.09, the Case Management and Scheduling Order entered by the Court in the subject case, the Court's Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing, and prevailing law. A party seeking to file a document under seal must first file a "Motion to Seal" with an incorporated memorandum of law in support. If the only basis for seeking to file a document under seal is an opposing party's or a third party's confidentiality designation pursuant to the terms of a confidentiality agreement between the parties or a stipulated protective order entered by the Court, then the party seeking to file the document under seal should indicate as much in the Motion to Seal. The Court may then require the designating party or third party to file a memorandum explaining why the document should be placed under seal and making the requisite legal and factual showing.

 

Pro Hac Vice:
Attorneys seeking to appear pro hac vice pursuant to Middle District of Florida Local Rule 2.02 should provide the following:


  • A statement that the attorney seeking to appear pro hac vice is a member in good standing of the bar of a federal district court;
  • A statement that the attorney is not a resident of Florida;
  • A statement that the attorney is not a member of The Florida Bar;
  • A statement that the attorney has not appeared in separate cases to such a degree as to constitute the maintenance of a regular practice of law in Florida;
  • A statement certifying the attorney's compliance with the fee and e-mail registration requirements of Middle District of Florida Local Rule 2.01(d);
  • A written designation and consent-to-act by a member of the bar of the Middle District of florida, resident in Florida, upon whom all notices and papers may be served and who will be responsible for the progress of the case, including trial in default of the non-resident attorney; and
  • A certification under Middle District of Florida Local Rule 3.01(g) that the moving party has conferred with counsel for the opposing party in a good-faith effort to resolve the issues raised by the motion , and whether the relief requested is opposed.

 

Proposed Orders:
The parties should not submit proposed orders unless requested by the Court or a party requests permission from the Court to do so. Whenever a party submits a proposed order to the Court, please send a courtesy copy to chambers email address, Chambers_FLMD_Sansone@flmd.uscourts.gov in Microsoft Word format.


Other Discovery-Related Matters

Confidentiality Agreements and Stipulated Protective Orders:
Parties are directed to read and comply with the Case Management and Scheduling Order entered by the Court in each case and the standard provisions therein governing confidentiality agreements, stipulated protective orders, and motions to file under seal. Parties may reach an agreement governing the use and disclosure of discovery materials designated as confidential. The Court need not endorse, adopt, or enter such an agreement. The Court will generally enforce stipulated and signed confidentiality agreements. Absent compelling justification, the Court generally disfavors stipulated protective orders that purport to require the Court to retain jurisdiction to enforce the order for an indefinite period of time after the conclusion of the litigation. Consistent with Local Rule 1.09 and the Court's Discovery Handbook Section VII.C., each confidentiality agreement or stipulated protective order shall provide, or shall be deemed to provide, that "no party shall file a document under seal without first having obtained an order granting leave to file under seal on a showing of particularized need." The parties are advised, however, that the question of whether a document may be filed under seal is a separate and distinct issue from whether the parties may agree that produced documents shall be treated as confidential.


Disputes During Depositions:
If a dispute arises during a deposition in a case for which Judge Sansone is the assigned Magistrate Judge, counsel and any unrepresented parties may contact chambers to ascertain whether she is available to consider the disputed issue by telephone. Counsel for the parties, however, should conduct a good-faith conference pursuant to Local Rule 3.01(g) on the record before involving the Court. If Judge Sansone is available, she will hear the dispute in a telephone conference call in which all counsel and any unrepresented parties participate, recorded by the parties' private court reporter. If Judge Sansone is not available, the parties may state the nature of their objection(s) on the record and file an appropriate written motion with the Court.


Trials by Consent

Pretrial Procedures (only for cases in which the parties have consented to Judge Sansone's jurisdiction):


Joint Pretrial Statements: On the date specified in the trial scheduling order, the parties shall submit a joint pretrial statement that includes the following, along with all other information required by Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 3.06(c), M.D. Fla.;


  • A brief statement by plaintiff as to the basis of subject matter jurisdiction, and a brief statement by each other party as to the presence or absence of subject matter jurisdiction. Such statements shall include citations to all statutes relied on and relevant facts as to citizenship and jurisdictional amount;
  • A brief summary by each party of the claims and defenses it has asserted and which remain to be tried, without recital of evidentiary matter, but including citations to all statutes on which the party is relying;
  • A statement by each party as to whether the case is to be tried with or without a jury, and the number of trial days needed;
  • Any stipulations or statement of facts that have been agreed to by all parties;
  • A list by each party of the fact and expert witnesses whose testimony is to be offered in its case in chief, indicating whether such witnesses will testify in person or by deposition. Only listed witnesses will be permitted to testify, except for good cause shown;
  • A designation by each party of deposition testimony to be offered in its case in chief, with any cross-designations and objections by any other party; and
  • A list of exhibits to be offered in evidence and, if not admitted by stipulation, the party or parties who will be offering them. Where possible, the schedule must also include potential impeachment documents and/or exhibits, as well as exhibits that will be offered only on rebuttal. The parties must list and briefly describe the basis for any objections that they have to the admissibility of any exhibits to be offered by any other party. Parties are expected to resolve before trial all issues of authenticity, best evidence, chain of custody, and related grounds. Only the exhibits listed will be received in evidence in the party's case in chief except for good cause shown. All exhibits must be pre-marked for the trial, placed in binders with tabs identifying the exhibit, and exchanged with the other parties and delivered to the Court at least ten days before trial.

Filings Prior to Trial: Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, each party shall electronically file the following items fifteen (15) days prior to the commencement date of trial:


  • Proposed, Non-Standard Voir Dire Questions
  • Proposed Jury Instructions
  • Motions in Limine: All motions addressing any evidentiary or other issues that should be resolve in limine. Any opposition should be filed seven (7) days prior to jury selection.
  • For non-jury trials, a trial brief/memorandum of law providing a concise overview of the facts to be presented at trial and an analysis of disputed legal issues.

Trial Procedures (only for cases in which the parties have consented to Judge Sansone's jurisdiction):


Scheduling of Cases
A date certain will be given for trial following the resolution of Rule 56 motions or, if none are filed, a status conference scheduled by the Court following the close of discovery. Vacation schedules and personal/professional conflicts of the attorneys, parties and witnesses will be accommodated where possible and the Court must be notified of any conflict as soon as possible.


Trial Hours/Days
Generally, cases will be tried Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with breaks when appropriate. Judge Sansone will meet with counsel before and after these appointed times to discuss trial/evidentiary issues.


Voir Dire
Counsel may submit proposed voir dire for the Court's consideration at the time established in the Final Pretrial Order.


Notetaking by Jurors
The Court generally allows jurors to take notes unless counsel voice a valid objection.


Side Bars
Side bars will be permitted when necessary.


Examination of Witnesses Out of Sequence
Judge Sansone will permit the examination of a witness out of sequence, either within the party's own case or within an opposing party's case, if a scheduling conflict exists. In the event that a witness will be unavailable for trial, the witness' testimony may be presented by deposition.


Opening Statements and Summations
There are no court imposed time limits on opening statements and closing arguments.


Examination of Witnesses or Argument by More than One Attorney
One attorney for each party may conduct an examination of any witness and may argue any motion or point.


Examination of Witnesses Beyond Direct and Cross
Judge Sansone will permit redirect and recross of a witness as necessary, but does not generally permit any further examination.


Videotaped Testimony
Judge Sansone does not have any special procedures or requirements with respect to the use or admission of videotaped testimony. Counsel should, however, inform the court in advance of trial of the intention to use such evidence, so that the Judge and parties may discuss the procedures to be utilized.


Reading of Material into the Record
Judge Sansone has no policy or rules on this point and it will be considered on a case by case basis.


Exhibits
All exhibits must be listed in the Pretrial Statement. The parties are expected to exchange exhibits prior to the filing of the joint pretrial statement and should be prepared to indicate a position no later than the final pretrial conference with regard to the authenticity and admissibility of the opponent's exhibits. All exhibits shall be marked before trial. Exhibits may be introduced out of sequence.


Counsel shall obtain the Court's approval in advance for use of any visual aid(s) during opening statement. Otherwise, visual aids are permitted during trial and should be marked and offered into evidence as with any other exhibit.


Jury Instructions and Verdict Forms
The Court requires counsel to confer and submit a single set of agreed upon jury instructions and a proposed verdict form. To the extent that the parties cannot agree on a particular instruction or form, each party may submit one for the Court's approval. The date for filing same will be set in the Final Pretrial Order. Judge Sansone also appreciates receiving an electronic version of the parties proposed jury instructions in Microsoft Word format one week prior to trial via the chambers email address, Chambers_FLMD_Sansone@flmd.uscourts.gov. The Court will hold a charging conference at which time counsel will receive the final charge and verdict form to be given to the jury.


Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
In non-jury trials, the parties shall submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Judge Sansone also appreciates receiving an electronic version of the parties proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in Microsoft Word format one week prior to trial via the chambers email address, Chambers_FLMD_Sansone@flmd.uscourts.gov.


Jury Deliberations


Written Jury Instructions
Judge Sansone gives the jury a written copy of her jury instructions


Exhibits in the Jury Room
Judge Sansone permits exhibits to be provided to the jury for their deliberations, so long as counsel agrees upon the exhibits that are provided.


Jury Questions
If a question is submitted to the Court, Judge Sansone will discuss the question with counsel prior to giving an answer to the jury.


Availability of Counsel During Jury Deliberations
Counsel must be available by telephone during jury deliberations.


Interviewing the Jury
Judge Sansone advises jurors that they do not have to respond to inquiries from counsel. However, she instructs the jurors that responses may be helpful to counsel.



Employment

Clerkships:
Chambers staff includes one Career Law Clerk and one Term Law Clerk. There are no upcoming vacancies for Law Clerk positions in Judge Sansone's chambers. The next anticipated vacancy for the Term Law Clerk position will occur in or about August, 2019.


Internship/Externships:
Judge Sansone welcomes applications for unpaid judicial internships/externships for the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms each year. Positions are competitive and limited to students who have completed their first (1L) or second (2L) years at an accredited law school. Preference is given to applicants with strong academic standing and demonstrated legal writing skills. Summer internships/externships may be voluntary or for academic credit offered through an accredited law school in which the student is enrolled. Fall and Spring internships/externships must be for academic credit offered through an accredited law school in which the student is enrolled.


Internship/externship applicants must submit a cover letter, a résumé, at least one recent writing sample, and a current academic transcript to the chambers email account (Chambers_FLMD_Sansone@flmd.uscourts.gov) or via U.S. mail to the Courthouse.