The Honorable James S. Moody, Jr.

Senior United States District Judge


Tampa Division
TEL: 813-301-5680

Biography

James S. Moody, Jr. received his accounting (with high honors), business graduate school and J. D. degrees (with honors) from the University of Florida where his activities earned selection to the U. of F. Hall of Fame and Florida Blue Key. Prior to being elected Circuit Judge in 1994, he was an AV-rated, board certified civil trial lawyer, certified public accountant, director of Hillsboro Sun Bank, Chair of two Florida Bar committees (Jurisprudence and Attorneys Fees), and president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. He was engaged in private practice with Trinkle, Redman, Moody, Swanson & Byrd, P.A. in Plant City.


Judge Moody has been a United States District Court Judge since July 2000. As a Circuit Court Judge from 1995 to 2000, Judge Moody presided over family law and general civil divisions of the Circuit Court. He was a member of the Education Steering Committee for the Conference of Circuit Court Judges and has taught the following courses at judicial education conferences: “Managing Trials Effectively,” December 1998; “Misconduct in the Courtroom,” June 1999; “Economic Loss Doctrine,” January 2000; “Punitive Damages,” January 2000; “The Fickle Finger of Fate & Courtroom Behavior,” May 2000; and “Civil Fundamentals: Post Trial Motions and Appeals,” September 2001. He was a speaker at the 22nd Annual Multi-State Law and Employment Law Seminar in June, 2004, a panelist at the 13th Annual National Federal Sentencing Guidelines Seminar in May, 2004, a presenter on “Managing High Profile Trials” at the Eleventh Circuit Judges’ Workshop in December, 2006, and a presenter at the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s seminars on “Interacting with the Judiciary and Opposing Counsel” in March, 2007 and Labor and Employment Law in April, 2007. In 2008, he was a participant at the Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee “Judicial Roundtable” program as well as the Law and Neuroscience Seminar for Judges at Stanford Law School. In 2010, he taught a judicial externship course for law school students at the University of Florida and spoke at the Florida Bar IP Symposium.


Judge Moody served as a mock trial judge at the Labor and Employment Law Trial Skills program in July 2000, 2001 and 2002 at Stetson University Law School and as a mock trial judge at the Annual Moot Court Competition held at the University of Florida in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. He was a presenter at a conference on “Managing the Midsize Case: View from the Bench,” 2002, for the American Employment Law Council. He also spoke on Closing Arguments at the Employment Law seminar in 2000 and Commercial Litigation for the Young Lawyers seminar in April 2000 and September 2001.


He was a participant in the “Afternoon at the Courthouses” seminar for the Hillsborough County Bar Association in 2001, 2002 and 2003. His Florida Bar Journal article “The Birth of Legal Presumption,” Nov. 1996, was instrumental in the adoption of Florida Statute 61.13(2)(d) (1997) eliminating the presumption in favor of custodial parents seeking geographical relocations. In 1998, Judge Moody was nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission to fill a position on the Florida Supreme Court. He received the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Robert Patton Outstanding Jurist Award in March 2003 and the Florida Bar Young Lawyer’s Division Outstanding Jurist Award in 2007.


Judge Moody has been actively involved in the community serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Hillsborough County United Way (over 10 years), member of the Community Advisory Board of the United Way of Tampa, Hillsborough County Bar Foundation Board of Directors (2000-2008), Co-Chair of Hillsborough Tomorrow (a citizens visioning process), Chair of the Children and Families Workgroup, President of the Lions Club, Chancellor of his church, Chair of Success by Six (a county- wide School Readiness effort), member of the USF Economic Development Board, Chair of the USF School of Psychology Advisory Committee, Chair of the Florida Blue Key Alumni Advisory Board, and member of the University of Florida Law Center Association Board of Trustees.


Chambers Staff

  Leslie Norberg
Judicial Assistant
813-301-5680
Joseline Hardrick / Kathryn T. Williams**
Law Clerk
813-301-5684
 
Jennifer Gundlach *
Law Clerk
813-301-5683

Diana Evans
Law Clerk - Ocala Cases
813-301-5325
 
Sherry Jackson
Official Court Reporter
813-301-5041

Ariana Romero

Courtroom Deputy
813-301-5697
   
 * Generally handles even numbered cases
** Generally handles odd number cases

Case & Trial Management Preferences

Motion Practice
If required, Judge Moody will hear oral arguments on selected pending motions as time permits on his calendar.


If depositions are filed in support of a dispositive motion, Judge Moody prefers the deposition be filed in its entirety (condensed version is fine) with exhibits.


Courtesy copies (paper) of motions/filings in excess of twenty (20) pages are appreciated.


Settlement
Almost all cases are referred to mediation. An Order of Referral to Mediation is entered six to nine months prior to trial with the mediation to be held no later than six (6) weeks prior to trial. Judge Moody does not usually conduct settlement conferences.


Pre-Trial Conferences
Judge Moody hears the pre-trial conferences. Pre-trial conferences generally last no more than fifteen (15) minutes.


Jury Trials
All cases set for trial during a monthly trial term will be listed and distributed to all counsel and pro se parties the preceding month. The cases may or may not be tried in the order they are listed on the calendar. Trial dates certain are usually not granted unless there are exceptional circumstances (lengthy case, numerous out-of-town witnesses).


Proposed jury instructions, verdict forms and voir dire should be filed five (5) days prior to jury selection. Courtesy copies should be sent to Judge Moody's Chambers. The jury instructions and verdict form should also be provided to the Court on a disk in WordPerfect format or e-mailed in WordPerfect format to: chambers_flmd_moody@flmd.uscourts.gov.


Exhibit Lists and Witness Lists (an original and three copies) shall be provided to the Courtroom Deputy on the morning of trial, prior to jury selection.


CRIMINAL


Change of Plea
Judge Moody refers changes of plea to the assigned magistrate judge.


Sentencing
Judge Moody regularly conducts sentencing hearings Monday through Thursday, as time on his calendar permits. Counsel should promptly notify Chambers if a sentencing is expected to last longer than thirty (30) minutes so that appropriate arrangements can be made.


Discovery
Discovery issues are generally referred to the assigned magistrate judge.


Jury Trials
All cases set for trial during a monthly trial term will be listed and distributed to all counsel and pro se parties the preceding month. The cases may or may not be tried in the order they are listed on the calendar. Trial dates certain are usually not granted unless there are exceptional circumstances (lengthy case, numerous out-of-town witnesses).


Proposed jury instructions, verdict forms and voir dire should be filed five (5) days prior to jury selection. Courtesy copies should be sent to Judge Moody's Chambers. The jury instructions and verdict form should also be provided to the Court on a disk in WordPerfect format or e-mailed in WordPerfect format to: chambers_flmd_moody@flmd.uscourts.gov.


Exhibit Lists and Witness Lists (an original and three copies) shall be provided to the Courtroom Deputy on the morning of trial, prior to jury selection.


Case & Trial Management Forms

  * Case Management Report
  * Caset Management Report for Patent Cases   WordPerfect®
  * Exhibit Forms
  * Social Security Order
  * Consent to Exercise Jurisdiction by a U.S. Magistrate Judge  


Case & Trial Management FAQs


What is your policy regarding communication with staff [i.e., Do you permit counsel to contact assigned law clerks?
Answer:
YES

Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding questions of procedure on pending matters?
Answer:
YES

Is it appropriate to telephone Chambers regarding the status of pending matters?
Answer: 
YES

PRETRIAL PROCEDURE (CIVIL):

A) Preliminary Pretrial Hearings:

Do you conduct preliminary pretrial hearings?
Answer:
YES, if required. Most civil cases do not require a preliminary pretrial conference.

If YES, what matters do you typically discuss during preliminary pretrial hearings:
Answer: 
All matters which may affect the trial, including length of trial, settlement possibilities and calendar conflicts.
 
B) Motion Practice:

Should courtesy copies of pleadings and motions be forwarded to Chambers?
Answer: 
YES. Courtesy copies (paper) of motions/filings in excess of twenty (20) pages are appreciated. If depositions are filed in support of a dispositive motion, Judge Moody prefers the deposition be filed in its entirety (condensed version is fine) with exhibits.

Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda be forwarded to Chambers?
Answer: 
NO

Do you allow telephonic hearings?
Answer: 
Yes, but only if necessary or with court permission. Generally, only one party may appear telephonically due to equipment restrictions. Arrangements must be made a minimum of 24 hours prior to the hearing. Sound quality in telephonic hearings is often poor.

What can an attorney do to call attention to a pending motion of particular importance to expedite ruling?
Answer: 
If the motion is a true emergency, it should be styled as such.

Will you entertain motions in limine prior to trial?
Answer: 
YES, it is preferred.

If you will consider motions in limine prior to trial, how far in advance should they be filed?
Answer: 
3 weeks prior to the commencement of the trial.

Do you regularly set aside time during a given week/month for hearings on motions?
Answer:


If YES, when is your normal hearing date/time?
Answer: 
It varies depending upon Judge Moody’s availability.

What are your procedures concerning ex-parte temporary restraining orders?
Answer:
 Temporary restraining motions are generally handled by Judge Moody. Counsel shall submit a proposed temporary restraining order in Word Perfect format to Chamber’s e-mail account:
chambers_flmd_moody@flmd.uscourts.gov.

Do you hear preliminary injunction motions yourself?
Answer: 
YES.

What is your practice concerning oral arguments of dispositive motions?
Answer: 
If required, Judge Moody will hear oral arguments on selected pending motions as time permits on his calendar. Hearings are generally scheduled for no more than 30 minutes.


C) Settlement:

What is your policy/practice regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution devices such as court-annexed, non-binding arbitration and mediation?
Answer: 
All cases are sent to mediation.

Do you personally conduct settlement discussions?
Answer: 
YES, on limited occasion.

IF YES, under that circumstances?
Answer:
If the parties stipulate that it will not disqualify me from the case.

D) Discovery:

Do you refer discovery matters to a U.S. Magistrate Judge?

Answer: YES

E) Pretrial Conference:

Do you personally conduct pretrial conferences in your cases?
Answer:
Pre-trial conferences generally last 15 minutes or less.

PRETRIAL PROCEDURES (CRIMINAL)

Do you personally conduct preliminary pretrial conferences in criminal cases?

Answer:  YES, as needed.

What matters do you typically discuss during a preliminary pretrial conference?
Answer:
Scheduling issues.

What problems exist in getting the case ready for trial.

Do you have a policy regarding the timing of disclosure of Jencks Act material?
Answer:


B) Pleas.

Judge Moody generally refers change of plea to the assigned Magistrate Judge.

What is your policy concerning nolo contendere or Alford?
Answer: 
Generally, not accepted.

TRIAL:

A) Trial Dates.

Do you grant trial dates certain?
Answer:
RARELY

If YES, under what circumstances will you grant trial date certain?
Answer: 
If both parties are out-of-state and many witnesses are out-of-state. >

If a case is not reached during the scheduled trial term, will the trial date be automatically rescheduled on your next trial docket?
Answer: 
YES, but nearly all cases are reached during their scheduled trial term.

What is your policy regarding notice of being called for trial during a trial docket?  [e.g., 48 hours]
Answer: 
A minimum of 24 hours to several days. We attempt to give as much notice as possible. Cases may or may not be tried in the order they are listed on the trial calender.

B) Submissions for Trial.

Do you require trial briefs in jury trials?
Answer: 
NO.  Only if there has been no motion for summary judgment or partial summary judgment, and only then if a unique or difficult issue is expected to arise at trial.

Do you require trial briefs in bench trials?
Answer:
NO. The Court will request briefs from counsel if necessary.

What are your requirements for trial briefs?
Answer:


When are trial briefs due?
Answer:
At least three (3) days prior to the start of trial.

Do you require proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed in bench trials?
Answer:
No. Only upon request from the Court at the conclusion of trial.


If YES, when do you require the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to be filed?
Answer:


Should findings of fact and conclusions of law filed in connection with a bench trial also be submitted to Chambers on a disk?
Answer
: YES, preferably in WordPerfect format.


When do you require parties to file proposed jury instructions and verdict form?
Answer
: YES. Five days before trial.


Where standard jury instructions are available, do you prefer that attorneys submit condensed versions of the standard instructions?
Answer:
YES

Should jury instructions also be submitted to Chambers on a computer disk?
Answer:
YES, in WordPerfect format. They can also be e-mailed in WordPerfect format to Chambers at
chambers_flmd_moody@flmd.uscourts.gov.


Exhibit and Witness Lists (original and three copies) shall be provided to the Courtroom Deputy on the morning of trial, prior to jury selection.


C) Voir Dire.


Do you permit counsel to conduct voir dire?
Answer:
YES, but limited.


If YES, what guidelines or restrictions must counsel follow when conducting voir dire?
Answer:
Time limit is discussed with attorneys.


If judge conducts voir dire, can parties submit proposed voir dire questions?
Answer:
Yes


If YES, when should such questions be submitted?
Answer:
Prior to jury selection.


What are your preemptory challenge procedures?
Answer:
Exercise challenges against number of jurors and alternates needed (example, civil jury usually 6 jurors plus 2 alternate jurors) with backstriking allowed prior to acceptance.


In multiple party cases, do you grant each party three preemptory challenges?
Answer:
NO


If NO, do you limit each side [i.e., plaintiff/defense] a total of three preemptory challenges to be shared?
Answer:
YES, generally.


D) Opening Statement


Do you have any standard time limits imposed upon counsel?
Answer:
No, I establish time limits after discussion with counsel.


Can exhibits be used in opening statements?
Answer:
Yes, as long as the parties have reviewed and agreed to exhibits in advance.


Do you allow plaintiffs to make a rebuttal during opening statements?
Answer
: NO


E) Use of Expert.


Do you conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
Answer:
Yes, if necessary.


F) Procedure For Use of Videotapes, Trial Graphics, Depositions and Demonstrations.


What, if any, procedural requirements do you have relative to the use of videotapes, trial graphics, depositions and demonstrations?
Answer:
Encourage use of DEPS system. Contact Sara Boswell, Courtroom Deputy Clerk, for information on the DEPS system.


G) Procedure for Objections.


What, if any, procedures do you have concerning objections at trial?
Answer:
State objection and legal grounds only. Do not argue your objection from counsel’s table.


H) Jury Procedures:


Do you permit jurors to take notes?
Answer:
Yes


Do you permit jurors to ask questions either orally or in writing?
Answer:
Yes


If YES, under what constraints and restrictions?
Answer:
Questions in writing and submitted to judge.


SENTENCING:


Do you allow the submission of sentencing memoranda?
Answer:
Yes


If YES, under what circumstances do you allow such submission?
Answer:
When parties feel it is necessary.


Do you divulge the probation officer's sentencing recommendation?
Answer:
NO


Judge Moody regularly conducts sentencing hearings Monday through Thursday, as time on his calendar permits. Counsel shall promptly notify Chambers if a sentencing hearing is expected to last longer that thirty (30) minutes so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


GENERAL OBSERVATIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS:


What, if any, other observations or suggestions do you have for members of the Bar relative to appearing before you in federal court?
Answer:
Keep arguments brief.