Chambers Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Judicial ServiceDistrict Judge, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Nominated by Barack Obama on January 4, 2013, to a seat vacated by Gregory Presnell. Confirmed by the Senate on May 20, 2013, and received commission on May 22, 2013.
Other Federal Judicial Service
United States Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2003–2013
University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1984
Nova University, Shepard Broad Law Center, J.D., 1987
Assistant State Attorney, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Florida, 1987–2000
Judge, Circuit Court of Florida, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, 2000–2003
Court staff includes one permanent and two term law clerks. There are no upcoming vacancies for term law clerks.
Judge Chappell welcomes interns and externs year round. Positions are limited to students who have completed their first year of law school, are ranked in the top 15 percent of their class, and are members of law review or moot court.
To apply, candidates must email a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and transcript to Judge Chappell's chambers.
Does the court permit counsel to contact chambers?
Yes. However, counsel should review all orders in the case, the Local Rules, the Federal Rules of Procedure, and this website before contacting chambers.
Is it appropriate to call chambers regarding questions of procedure on pending matters?
Yes. However, law clerks will not provide legal advice, interpret the Federal and Local Rules, provide time estimates for the court's written rulings, or discuss the merits of any case ex parte. When contacting chambers, counsel and pro se litigants must notify the opposing party to avoid any appearance of ex parte communications.
When a dispute arises during discovery, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling?
Yes. The court expects the parties to make good-faith efforts to resolve all discovery issues without its intervention. When those attempts prove unsuccessful, the court is available to hear discovery disputes informally (e.g., telephone conference or short memoranda) before the parties file formal discovery motions (e.g., motions to compel or for sanctions).
The court does not reserve a set time for informal matters (e.g., discovery or deposition disputes); however, the court is available most days to hear informal matters. Counsel should call the assigned law clerk to schedule a telephone conference. Depending on the complexity of the dispute, the court may require each party to file a memorandum of law, not to exceed five pages in length, outlining the issue. If the issue requires extensive briefing, the court will refer the matter to the assigned magistrate judge.
When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling?
Yes. The court expects the parties to make a good-faith effort to resolve any issue that arises during a deposition without its intervention. When those efforts prove unsuccessful, the court is available to hear the dispute informally (e.g., a telephone conference) before the parties file a formal motion. Counsel should call the assigned law clerk to schedule a telephone conference.
Does the court conduct the Rule 16 preliminary pretrial conference?
Yes. The court does not refer the preliminary pretrial conference to the assigned magistrate judge.
When are preliminary pretrial conferences held?
Preliminary pretrial conferences are typically scheduled on Monday afternoons.
May counsel appear by telephone at the preliminary pretrial conference?
Yes, provided counsel files a motion to appear by telephone.
What matters are discussed at a preliminary pretrial conference?
The alleged facts of the case, unique issues anticipated by counsel, the court's case management practices and procedures, pretrial deadlines to govern the case, prospects of settlement, pending motions, scope of discovery, need for expert witnesses, length of trial, and calendar conflicts. See the Rule 16 Preliminary Pretrial Conference section of the Civil Case Management section of the Preferences tab.
Should courtesy copies of pleadings and motions be forwarded to chambers?
No, unless a pleading or motion exceeds 25 pages, including exhibits and attachments. A courtesy copy should be mailed to chambers as soon as practicable after filing.
Should copies of cases cited in motions and memoranda of law be forwarded to chambers?
No. However, the court strongly encourages counsel to insert hyperlinks to cited legal authority located on recognized electronic research services like Westlaw, LexisNexis, FindLaw, and official government websites in documents filed electronically.
Does the court accept proposed orders?
No, unless the court specifically requests one, a party requests permission from the court to file one, or the Local Rules require one. In the limited cases in which the court requests a proposed order, it should be emailed to the chambers inbox in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format. Counsel must include the case name and number in the email subject line.
How should counsel or a pro se litigant call attention to a pending motion of particular importance to expedite a ruling?
If the motion is a true emergency, it should be styled as such.
Does the court set aside time in a given week or month to hear oral arguments on pending motions?
No. If needed, the court will schedule oral arguments on selected pending motions as its trial calendar permits.
Does the court require a statement of material facts in support of a motion for summary judgment?
Yes. See the Motions for Summary Judgment section under the Civil Motions section of the Preferences tab.
Does the court refer discovery matters to the assigned magistrate judge?
Does the court conduct Daubert hearings prior to trial?
Yes, if necessary. Daubert hearings may also be referred to the assigned magistrate judge for a report and recommendation.
Does the court entertain motions in limine?
Yes. The case management and scheduling order sets the deadline for motions in limine.
What is the court's policy on alternative dispute resolution such as court-annexed, non-binding arbitration and mediation?
Mediation is required in almost all civil cases.
Does the court conduct settlement conferences?
No, settlement conferences are referred to the magistrate judge.
Does the court conduct status conferences in criminal cases?
Yes. See the Status Conference section under the Criminal section of the Preferences tab.
What matters are discussed at a status conference?
Scheduling issues, the possibility of a plea, length of trial, and whether the case is ready for trial.
Does the court have a policy on the timing to disclose Jencks Act material?
All parties must be prepared to comply with the Jencks Act and Rule 26.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure related to the production of witness statements on demand after the witness has testified on direct examination. The parties may agree on—but the court does not order—an earlier time for the exchange or production of Jencks Act and Rule 26.2 material.
What pretrial criminal proceedings are referred to the assigned magistrate judge?
Arraignments, change of pleas, bail proceedings, and detention hearings. The assigned magistrate judge will take a guilty plea in a felony case, provided the defendant consents. Motions to suppress may also be referred to the assigned magistrate judge.
Does the court accept nolo contendere or Alford pleas?
What is the court's policy on plea arrangements that involve sentencing recommendations?
Although the court will consider a sentencing recommendation proposed by the United States Attorney, the recommendation is not binding on the court.
How are civil and criminal cases set for trial?
All cases are scheduled for a monthly trial term. Throughout the assigned trial term, counsel and their witnesses must be available within 24 hours' notice. Civil cases not reached during the trial term will be placed at the beginning of the following month's trial term after all criminal cases have been tried.
A date certain for trials is not granted absent exceptional circumstances. However, if the parties consent to the magistrate judge, a date certain will be given.
Does the court send a trial calendar?
Yes. A trial calendar will be distributed for the upcoming trial term about one to two weeks before the beginning of the term. Cases are listed in the order in which they will be tried, although experience indicates that cases might be called out of order to maximize trial time. Generally, criminal cases are tried first, followed by civil jury trials, and then civil non-jury trials. Civil cases not reached during the trial term will be placed at the beginning of the following month's trial term after all criminal cases have been tried.
Parties must immediately inform the court of any development that may affect trial after the trial calendar is distributed. In civil cases, the court will assess jury costs to the parties if they fail to inform it of settlement before the jury is called.
Does the court conduct voir dire?
Yes. The court conducts voir dire examination. Counsel will have an opportunity to conduct brief follow-up.
Can parties submit proposed voir dire questions to the court?
Yes. Parties must file proposed voir dire questions specific to the case.
Does the court have any procedures on peremptory challenges?
Yes. Peremptory challenges are handled outside the jury's presence. The court will entertain challenges of the entire panel for cause first. The court will then tender the number of jurors and alternates needed for the trial, so counsel may exercise their challenges.
In civil cases, eight jurors will typically be selected. Thus, the first eight jurors from the panel will be tendered for strikes with limited, if any, back-striking allowed prior to acceptance.
In multiple-party cases, does the court grant each party three pre-emptory challenges?
No. The court generally limits each side to a total of three peremptory challenges to be shared.
Are jurors permitted to take notes?
Yes, provided both parties agree.
Are jurors permitted to ask questions to a witness?
Does the court impose any time limits for opening statements?
Yes. Counsel for each party are generally allotted 30 minutes, but the court will adjust that time depending on the length and complexity of the case.
Can counsel use exhibits during opening statements?
Yes, provided the parties have reviewed and agreed to exhibits in advance of trial and with the court's leave.
Does the court allow the plaintiff or government to make a rebuttal during opening statements?
Does the court have any procedures regarding objections at trial?
Yes. When objecting, counsel must stand and only state the objection and legal ground for the objection without argument: "Objection. Hearsay," or "Objection. Leading." Speaking objections are prohibited, unless the court requests further information from counsel. When a party has more than one lawyer, only one lawyer may conduct the examination of a given witness, and that lawyer alone may make objections concerning that witness.
Does the court allow sentencing memoranda to be submitted?
Yes. When a party believes a sentencing memorandum will benefit the court, he or she must file it at least three days before the sentencing date.
Does the court disclose the probation officer's final sentencing recommendation?
Is there a deadline for filing motions to continue sentencing?
Yes. Absent an emergency, all motions to continue sentencing must be filed at least 10 days before the scheduled sentencing date.
A judge may prefer the use of particular forms for things like the case management report, the certificate of interested persons, and trial exhibits. Please see Judge Chappell's preferences on forms below.
Local and Federal Rules
Many answers to frequently asked questions are found in Federal Rules of Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, the Local Rules for the Middle District of Florida, and the Middle District of Florida's CM/ECF Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing. The court expects counsel and pro se litigants to know and follow these rules. Frequent review of the rules is recommended, as they are often amended.
Requests for Extension of Time/Adjournments
Since the Middle District of Florida is one of the busiest trial courts in the country, extensions and adjournments of court-imposed dates and deadlines will be granted only for compelling reasons. The court's permission is required to extend or adjourn court-imposed dates and deadlines.
Notice of Unavailability of Counsel
A Notice of Unavailability of Counsel has no force or effect in this court. Counsel should not rely on filing a notice of unavailability to excuse his or her failure to appear before the court or to comply with deadlines or other procedural rules.
If counsel needs to extend a deadline or reschedule a proceeding or deposition, counsel must first confer with opposing counsel and then file a motion for an extension of time or continuance with the court.
The Middle District of Florida mandates electronic filing through the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system in most circumstances. Counsel and pro se litigants must review and follow the Middle District of Florida's CM/ECF Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing when electronically filing on CM/ECF.
Judge Chappell strongly encourages counsel to insert hyperlinks in documents filed electronically. When filing a document containing hyperlinks, counsel must hyperlink to:
The CM/ECF LinkBuilder add-in for Microsoft Word automates the creation of cross-document hyperlinks between filings in the court's CM/ECF system. LinkBuilder will search a Word document for citations to CM/ECF filings and insert a hyperlink to the corresponding file in the CM/ECF system. LinkBuilder can recognize and link to attachments to the record, as well as to page-specific references to create pinpoint access to specific information in the case.
Optical Character Recognition
When possible, counsel who files a document on CM/ECF should scan the document with Optical Character Recognition. OCR converts scanned images into text and provides the ability to text-search and copy/paste in a document. OCR is available in most 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, financial statements, and other non-text documents. Counsel using OCR are responsible for verifying reasonable accuracy and readability of the document.
Active Case Management
The court actively manages and oversees its assigned cases to maintain focus on the matters truly in dispute, alleviate unnecessary costs and delays, and facilitate speedy and just resolutions of the cases. However, the court shares case-management responsibility with the parties. The parties exercise first-level control and are the principal managers of their cases, but they do so under a schedule and other limitations established by the court. When the parties are unable to manage the case or manage it in a way that is disproportionate to the needs of the case or otherwise frustrates its just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution, the court will not hesitate to intervene to impose effective management.
Case Management Report
As soon as practicable after the filing of a civil case, the clerk will designate the case on one of three tracks for future management purposes. For Track Two cases, which are the majority of civil cases, parties must file the standard Case Management Report in accordance with Local Rule 3.05.
Rule 16 Preliminary Pretrial Conference
The Court conducts a preliminary pretrial conference in most civil cases per Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 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 court usually holds preliminary pretrial conferences on Monday afternoons. The length of the conference depends on the complexity of the case and the scope of matters to be discussed. In most cases, 20 to 30 minutes is adequate to explore the matters. Counsel and pro se litigants must appear in person at the preliminary pretrial conference; however, the court will entertain motions for telephonic appearances.
Case Management and Scheduling Order
The court will enter a Case Management and Scheduling Order after holding a preliminary pretrial conference. In some categories of suit, a preliminary pretrial conference is not necessary, and the court will issue a case management and scheduling order shortly after the parties file the case management report.
Review the case management and scheduling order carefully. Calendar all dates to ensure timely submissions. The parties should make every effort to comply with the case management and scheduling order and are discouraged from filing motions for extensions of time.
Fair Labor Standards Act Cases
The Middle District of Florida uses a specific scheduling order for cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act and suspends the requirement to file a case management report as required by Local Rule 3.05(c)(2)(B). Instead, the court will issue an FLSA Scheduling Order after the defendant's first appearance.
The FLSA Scheduling Order sets forth initial discovery requirements and requires the parties to meet and confer in person in a good-faith effort to settle all pending issues, including attorney's fees and costs. If the case does not settle, the parties must immediately file a case management report. The court will then conduct a preliminary pretrial conference to discuss case management deadlines and issue the case management and scheduling order, which will govern the remainder of the case.
Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act Cases
The Middle District of Florida uses a specific scheduling order for cases brought under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act and suspends the requirement to file a case management report as required by Local Rule 3.05. Instead, the court will issue an ADA Title III Scheduling Order after the defendant's first appearance.
The ADA Title III Scheduling Order sets forth initial discovery requirements and requires the parties to attend mediation in a good-faith effort to settle all pending issues. If the case does not settle, the parties must immediately file a case management report. The court will then conduct a preliminary pretrial conference to discuss case management deadlines and issue the case management and scheduling order, which will govern the remainder of the case.
Mediation is required in almost all civil cases. Parties should complete mediation four to six months prior to the scheduled trial term. Parties can stipulate to a mediator in their case management report, or within 14 days of the court issuing the Case Management and Scheduling Order. Failure to do so will result in the court appointing the mediator.
The court may refer a case for a settlement conference before the non-assigned magistrate judge when it will benefit the parties or the parties request one. This may occur before or soon after the preliminary pretrial conference.
Final Pretrial Conference
The court conducts a final pretrial conference in each civil case. At least one lawyer who will conduct the trial for each party and any unrepresented party must attend the final pretrial conference in person. Appearances by telephone are not permitted.
A final pretrial conference is initially scheduled about three weeks before the first day of the applicable trial term. Experience shows, however, that the conference is often rescheduled to a mutually agreeable time and date for the parties and the court.
Matters discussed at the final pretrial conference include:
For statistical purposes, the court will close civil cases after the entry of final judgment following a jury verdict, court decision, parties' stipulation, or settlement. This will not affect the disposition of post-trial motions or the assessment of fees and costs as appropriate.
Form of Motions
All motions and cross-motions must include a concise statement of the precise relief requested, a statement of the basis for the request, and a memorandum of legal authority in support of the request, all of which the movant shall include in a single document not more than 25 pages. See Local Rule 3.01. All motions and responses must be typewritten, double-spaced, and at least 12-point font. See Local Rule 1.05.
Hearings on Motions
The court does not regularly provide for oral argument on motions. If needed, the court will schedule oral arguments on selected pending motions as time permits on its calendar. The court will also consider a request by either party for oral argument.
Local Rule 3.01(g) Certification
Counsel and pro se litigants are reminded of Local Rule 3.01(g), which requires a moving party to confer with opposing counsel in a good-faith effort to resolve the issue to be raised in a motion before filing a motion in a civil case. The rule also requires the moving party to file a statement certifying the conference and stating opposing counsel's position on the motion. The importance of Local Rule 3.01(g) in helping needless litigation cannot be overstated; therefore, failure to comply with the rule may result in the court denying or striking the motion.
Motions for Summary Judgment
Each response in opposition to a motion for summary judgment must include a section titled "Response to Statement of Material Facts." The opposing party's response must mirror the statement of material facts by admitting and/or denying each of the moving party's assertions in matching numbered paragraphs. Each denial must set forth a pinpoint citation to the record where the fact is disputed. Although the opposing party's response must correspond with the paragraph scheme used in the statement of material facts, the response need not repeat the text of the moving party's paragraphs. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court will deem admitted any fact in the statement of material facts that the opposing party does not specifically controvert, provided record evidence supports the moving party's statement. Additional facts the party opposing summary judgment contends are material shall be numbered and placed at the end of the opposing party's response and include a pinpoint citation to the record where the fact is established.
When resolving a motion for summary judgment, the court has no independent duty to search and consider any part of the record not otherwise referenced and pinpoint cited in the statement of material facts and response thereto. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3) ("The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.").
The court conducts monthly status conferences in all pending criminal cases. The court will discuss scheduling issues, the possibility of a plea, length of trial, and whether the case is ready for trial.
The parties are not excused from the status conference unless the plea agreement has been executed, the change-of-plea hearing has been scheduled, and a notice of cancellation of the status conference has been docketed before the status conference date. If a plea is not accepted for whatever reason after the status conference, counsel must be prepared to go to trial and should not expect the failure of the plea to be grounds for a continuance.
Change of Plea
A change of plea is referred to the assigned magistrate judge. A change of plea must be entered with the assigned magistrate judge by the last Wednesday of the month prior to the trial term, unless otherwise ordered by the court. A defendant is required to plead to the respective indictment without regard to any agreement with the government.
DiscoveryDiscovery issues are referred to the assigned magistrate judge.
Jencks Act Material
All parties must comply with the Jencks Act and Rule 26.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure with respect to producing a witness statement after the witness has testified on direct examination. The parties may agree on, but the court does not order, an earlier time to exchange or produce witness statements.
Final Pretrial Conference
The court conducts a final pretrial conference in most criminal cases. The defendant and counsel must be present in person. Appearances by telephone are not permitted. Topics usually discussed at the final pretrial conference include:
The court regularly conducts sentencing hearings on Mondays. Counsel must promptly notify the court if a sentencing hearing is expected to last longer than 30 minutes so appropriate arrangements can be made.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, the court will not consider motions or memoranda that are not filed at least seven days before the sentencing hearing.
Lawyers are encouraged to know, subscribe to, and observe the the American College of Trial Lawyers' Code of Pretrial and Trial Conduct. Litigants and witnesses are also expected to conduct themselves with reserve and courtesy when appearing in court.
When appearing before this court, counsel must also adhere to the following rules:
Appropriate business attire is required of all litigants, witnesses, jurors, and observers when appearing in court. Casual attire, such as tee shirts, shorts, jeans, and flip-flops, is not allowed. Since the courtroom is generally very cool, participants may wish to bring a sweater or light jacket.
The court requires counsel to use the technology and equipment available in the courtroom and expects counsel to be familiar with the equipment before any trial or hearing. Counsel should contact the courtroom deputy to test and/or be trained on the equipment well in advance. Failure to do so may result in the equipment not being available for use.
Personal Electronic Devices
Parties must review the Middle District of Florida's policy on possessing and using personal electronic devices (e.g., cellular phones, laptop computers, iPads, and tablets) in the courthouse. Under this policy, lawyers permitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida may bring personal electronic devices beyond the courthouse's security checkpoint by presenting a valid Florida Bar identification card or pro hac vice order.
This court specifically requires all personal electronic devices to be placed in silent mode upon entering the courthouse. Cellular telephones must be turned off upon entering the courtroom. In addition, personal electronic devices may not be:
The court cautions that any lawyer who allows an unauthorized individual to use his/her electronic device will forfeit the privilege to have electronic devices in the courthouse.
Evidence Presentation System
The courtroom is equipped with an evidence presentation system. This system allows counsel with their laptop computer, iPad, or tablet to present evidence simultaneously in the courtroom through a system of interconnected video liquid crystal displays (LCD). Specifically, the evidence presentation system allows counsel to:
The evidence presentation system in Courtroom 5D consists of:
To use the evidence presentation systems, counsel must bring necessary connection adapters for their laptop computer or iPad, if not equipped with VGA or full-size HDMI connections. The court’s evidence presentation system native video resolution is 1024p x 768p. Typically, the system will automatically scale the video input on counsel's laptop computer to match the system. However, sometimes the resolution of counsel's laptop computer may need to be set at 1024p x 768p prior to connecting to the evidence presentation system. Third-party presentation software, such as Sanction, Trial Director, and Microsoft PowerPoint, is compatible with the evidence presentation system.
The court does not provide any equipment to present scanned documents, animations, graphics, or audio and video files from video home system (VHS), compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD), Blu-Ray video disc, or external drives like a universal serial bus (USB) thumb drive. All files must be presented from counsel's laptop computer. Counsel is responsible for operating the evidence presentation system, and court employees are not authorized to operate counsel's laptop computer.
The courtroom has wireless internet access, provided and paid for by the Bench Bar Fund. The courtroom deputy has the username and password.
The court typically holds trial from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with two 15-minute breaks and a lunch recess. This schedule may change as circumstances dictate.
Jury Selection and Voir DireJury selection is typically set for the Monday morning of the week a trial is set to begin. The court conducts voir dire. Counsel are allowed brief follow-up questions depending on the nature of the case. Eight jurors are seated for civil cases, with all eight jurors deliberating. For criminal cases, 12 jurors are selected, normally with one or two alternates.
Jury Instructions and Verdict Forms
In accordance with the applicable Case Management and Scheduling Order, counsel must file and serve proposed jury instructions and verdict forms based on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions. If a pattern instruction is not available for a certain type of instruction, counsel must submit a proposed instruction, citing authority that supports the requested non-pattern instruction. In addition, counsel must email proposed jury instructions and verdict forms in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) to the chambers inbox. Include the case number and case name in the subject line. The parties should use the Eleventh Circuit's jury instruction builder.
In accordance with the applicable Case Management and Scheduling Order, counsel for each party must file and exchange a list of all witnesses who might be called at trial. Counsel must use the Witness List form. When completing the required witness list, counsel may ignore the column titled "Date(s) Testified," as that column is reserved for the court. In addition, on the morning of the first day of trial, counsel for each party must provide three copies of the final witness list to the courtroom deputy.
Absent good cause, the court will not permit the testimony of unlisted witnesses at trial over objection. This restriction does not apply to true rebuttal witnesses (i.e., witnesses whose testimony could not have been reasonably foreseen as necessary).
In accordance with the applicable Case Management and Scheduling Order, counsel for each party must file and exchange a list of exhibits that might be introduced at trial. Counsel must use the Exhibit List form. In completing the exhibit list, counsel must provide a descriptive notation sufficient to identify each exhibit.
In addition, on the morning of trial, before jury selection, counsel must provide the courtroom deputy with three copies of their respective exhibit lists and email the lists in Microsoft Word format to the chambers inbox. Include the case number and case name in the subject line.
To avoid duplicate exhibits and confusion in the record, counsel must submit all stipulated exhibits as joint exhibits. Counsel must identify joint exhibits on a single exhibit list, rather than separately list the joint exhibits on their individual exhibit lists. For example, if photographs or medical records are being stipulated into evidence, they should be marked as joint exhibits and not listed separately on both (all) parties' witness lists. Each party's exhibit list should include only additional exhibits to which objections have been asserted.
Before trial, counsel for each party must mark exhibits using the exhibit tags found on this website. Counsel must staple the appropriate party-specific exhibit tag to the upper right corner of the first page.
In completing the exhibit tags, the parties must use consecutive numbers to mark exhibits. For example:
Mark each exhibit in the composite separately using a number and lower case letter, e.g., Gov. 1a, Gov. 1b, Gov. 1c, etc.
Also, identify each exhibit in the composite on a separate line in the exhibit list.
Electronic Exhibit Binder
On or before the morning of trial, before jury selection, counsel for each party must provide the court with an electronic exhibit binder that contains all individual exhibits and joint exhibits each party intends to introduce at trial. The exhibits must be saved as PDF documents and compiled into a single PDF file. Counsel must identify each exhibit separately using PDF bookmarks.
If an exhibit is physical evidence (e.g., drugs, ammunition, firearm), counsel should insert a placeholder exhibit that states, "Exhibit [number] is [description of exhibit]." If an exhibit contains child pornographic images, counsel should either (a) provide a redacted version of the exhibit, or (b) insert a placeholder exhibit that states, "Exhibit [number] contains child pornographic images."
The electronic exhibit binder must be emailed to the chambers inbox. Include the case number and case name in the subject line. If the file containing the electronic exhibit binder is too large to email, counsel should provide the court with a single CD or DVD of the binder.
Parties must file with the court color-coded copies of deposition transcripts (preferably mini-script versions), reflecting, in different highlighted colors, the deposition excerpts designated by each party to be read at trial, with objections noted in the margin, five days before the beginning of the trial term. Unresolved objections to video-recorded depositions should be submitted to the court 10 days before the beginning of the trial term.
After the end of the bench trial, the court will direct counsel for each party to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law (usually 60 days after the trial). The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law must be emailed to the chambers inbox in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format.