Requirements and Information
February 9, 2024
Please read if you do not have an attorney
The Judge must apply the same rules to all parties, regardless of whether you have an attorney. The Judge may not talk to you about your case outside of the courtroom, so please do not call to speak with the Judge. Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant can help you schedule a hearing. The Judicial Assistant may not help you with your case or send information to the other party or attorney for you. The Judicial Assistant may not “give the Judge a message.” Please do not ask the Judicial Assistant for the outcome of a hearing or verify that an order has been signed; you may review the Sarasota County Clerk’s website for details about your case. Please remember that whenever you file something with the Clerk or provide the Judge a copy, you must send a copy to all the attorneys or parties at the same time.
Just, speedy, and inexpensive determinations of every action. Florida Court rules are designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. Judge Carroll adheres to this philosophy, and Judge Carroll expects the attorneys and litigants will govern themselves accordingly.
Standards of Professionalism: Standards of Professionalism are available on the Court’s website. Judge Carroll expects all attorneys who appear to know and adhere to these requirements.
Mandatory use of Document Identification Number [DIN]: The Clerk’s Office on the progress docket identifies a unique, sequential Document Identification Number [DIN] for each docket entry. Once assigned by the Clerk, the DIN does not change. Please include the DIN when referencing any filing, especially on hearing notices. Use of the DIN will reduce confusion as to what motion is to be heard.
These Court events will be in-person in the Courthouse: jury trials, nonjury trials, all evidentiary hearings and all foreclosure trials. The parties by motion may seek an alternate appearance method. These Court events will be held in Courtroom 6C Judge Silvertooth Judicial Center, Sarasota, Florida 34237.
All other hearings can be in-person, by Zoom, or both at the discretion of the party. Judge Carroll has a hybrid Courtroom, meaning that Judge Carroll can conduct Court with parties appearing in-person and remotely via Zoom simultaneously. Please do not contact the Court’s Judicial Assistant to notify the Court whether parties intend to appear remotely via Zoom or in-person as each party has the discretion to choose which appearance method that party prefers.
When drafting a Notice of Hearing, you must include Judge Carroll’s Zoom credentials and explain that the parties may appear in-person or remotely. Judge Carroll will host all Zoom events. If the hearing is a mandatory in-person, the Notice of Hearing must reflect that.
Use of camera on Zoom. If you are authorized to appear by Zoom, see requirements below, you must appear with a working camera. You may not appear by telephone. This includes Court Reporters.
Without exception, exhibits for evidentiary hearings as well as indexes/exhibit lists must be delivered to the Courthouse in two hard-copy sets (one for the Judge and one for the Clerk) at least two days prior to the evidentiary hearing. Plaintiff/Petitioner’s exhibits are to be numbered, i.e. “1, 2, 3…” and Defendant/Respondent’s exhibits are to be lettered, “A, B, C…” This is, of course, the same procedure to be followed for trial exhibits.
You are responsible to ensure the notice of hearing contains Judge Carroll’s Zoom credentials, the appropriate ADA notice, and the appropriate DIN for each motion to be heard. Judge Carroll’s Zoom log-on credential are:
Scheduling and cancelling hearings: You must schedule and cancel hearings 60 minutes in duration or less through the JACS. Please do not combine timeslots. Please contact Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant to schedule or cancel hearings requiring more than one hour. When Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant has finalized the docket— approximately five days in advance of the hearing—JACS will not permit you to cancel the hearing. In that situation, please call the Judicial Assistant to cancel a hearing. You must immediately send notice of cancellation to all parties.
Case Management Conferences (CMC): Judge Carroll encourages the use of early Case Management Conferences, especially in complex cases, multiple party litigation, or any case that might benefit from early Court intervention. Unless excused by the Court in advance, all Case Management Conferences are mandatory. (For civil cases, please see the section entitled Initial CMC.)
Uniform Motion Calendar (UMC): The Court conducts UMC hearings most Wednesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. UMC motions must be non-evidentiary and 5 minutes or less in length. You must schedule these UMC hearings through the Court’s Judicial Assistant. You are responsible for filing and serving the notice of hearing. You must include the DIN of the motion to be heard on the notice of hearing.
Withdrawing/Substituting as Attorney: If you are withdrawing/substituting as attorney, please use the appropriate downloadable Order Granting Substitution/Withdrawal of Attorney. If neither form accomplishes what you need, please track the language regarding the Clerk deactivating the attorney within the Case Management System and include in the title of the order the directive to the Clerk to update the Case Management System. Without this language the Clerk’s system will show you as attorney of record. No hearing is needed if (1) there is no pending trial; and (2) you file and submit client consent to the Court with the motion and proposed order. Otherwise, you must notice the motion for hearing and include the client on the certificate of service.
Courtesy copies for hearings: The Court encourages text searchable electronic copies of the notice of hearing, motion(s), supporting material, and any directly relevant cases, which must be delivered no later than three days prior to the hearing. Please give opposing counsel—and the Court—the opportunity to be prepared to address your motion. Please do not send paper copies to the Court.
Compelling discovery. The Circuit’s Standards of Professionalism discusses motions to compel discovery. The Court draws particular attention to Administrative Order 2010- 22.2 § E(1)(d), which provides: “Motions to compel discovery shall quote in full each interrogatory, question on deposition, request for admission, or request for production to which the motion is addressed and the objection and grounds given by the opposing parties.”
Proposed orders: In compliance with a directive from the Chief Justice of Florida, this Circuit is moving to acceptance of proposed orders through the ePortal, not through email. Please see Administrative Order 22-1.2, entered January 14, 2022, for details and specific requirements.
All proposed orders submitted by attorneys to Judge Carroll must be submitted in compliance with Administrative Order 22-1.2 through the ePortal directly to Judge Carroll, and not filed on the Progress Docket or submitted via email. All proposed orders must be in Word format only. All proposed orders must be accompanied by a cover letter that is also submitted through the ePortal in PDF/A format. The submitting attorney must ensure all parties/attorneys receive a courtesy copy of both the proposed Order and cover letter. Further, any proposed attachment to a proposed order must simultaneously be submitted through the ePortal in PDF/A format.
To be clear:
Judge Carroll expects that you will only submit a proposed order when all attorneys or parties agree on the form. If there is a disagreement on the form, or an attorney does not respond within a reasonable time, you may then send the proposed order with a concise statement identifying the disagreement and the steps you took. The opposing attorney may submit at the same time an alternate proposed order through the ePortal. Please do not include a directive such as “hold this proposed order for x days for an objection to be lodged.” The Court will reject proposed orders seeking to put this burden on the Court or the Court's staff.
For readability purposes, Judge Carroll encourages Bookman Old Style, 12-point font with one-inch margins when drafting proposed Orders.
Downloadable proposed orders: The Court utilizes several standard orders, which are available for your use and download. Please check this site often as the Court from time to time adds new or modifies existing proposed orders.
Orders under advisement: Judge Carroll attempts to rule from the bench where appropriate. If Judge Carroll takes a matter under advisement, Judge Carroll tries to rule as quickly as possible under the then current circumstances. Please do not call to ask about the status of the order. If four weeks have elapsed without a ruling, the movant may call the Judicial Assistant to advise that the matter has been under advisement for four weeks. The four weeks begins upon the Court’s receipt of the last post-hearing submission (e.g., transcripts, supplemental briefs, or legal authority).
Evidence for evidentiary hearings/trials: The Clerk’s office requires evidence admitted during an evidentiary hearing to be in paper format without leave of court. Unless the Court instructs you otherwise, please provide the Court’s Judicial Assistant two paper sets of all evidence at least two business days before the hearing/trial. One set will become the official exhibits Judge Carroll delivers to the Clerk. The other set will be for Judge Carroll’s use. Unless the Court directs otherwise, the Plaintiff/Petition should mark their exhibits ahead of time as “Plaintiff/Petition 1, 2, 3, etc.,” and the Defendant/Respondent should mark their exhibits ahead of time as “Defendant/Respondent A, B, C, etc.”
Electronic evidence and technology: The Court has limited technology available for use in the Courtroom. There are two basic considerations you should keep in mind when planning on using electronic evidence. First, whether the Court has the electronic capability to review the electronic evidence in the Courtroom. Second, how the Clerk will “receive” the electronic evidence. Wherever possible, please convert your electronic evidence into paper format and introduce the paper copy. For instance, electronic pictures, text messages, and the like can be printed out and introduced into evidence. If you have electronic evidence that cannot be converted into paper format—e.g., video files—please place all such files onto a single thumb drive when possible. You are still responsible to broadcasting the electronic evidence within the Courtroom.
Required service on the Court: Petitions and motions that by law must be served upon the Judge (e.g., writs, appeals, recusal motions), must be either emailed to the Court’s Judicial Assistant or hand delivered to the Court Deputy in the Silvertooth Judicial Center. Additionally, please call the Judicial Assistant to advise her of the service.
Emergencies: True emergencies are rare. Any motion requesting emergency hearing time must explain the emergency, the anticipated time needed, and, where appropriate, good faith efforts to resolve the matter without Court intervention. The attorney or party filing the motion must (1) phone Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant about the motion, and (2) hand deliver or email a copy to the Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant. Judge Carroll will determine how to handle the request. Emergency hearings may occur during nontraditional work hours.
Settlements: Whenever a case settles, the parties shall immediately provide written notice to Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant. Absent compelling circumstances, Judge Carroll will cancel all future hearings and administratively close the case pending final settlement. You still must file a Voluntary Dismissal, submit a proposed Order of Dismissal or Final Judgment, or take some other action to lawfully end the case.
Rehearing or Reconsideration: After you file and serve the motion, please send a copy of any motion for rehearing or reconsideration to Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant with a cover letter. Please do not set these motions for hearing. The Court will decide whether to hold a hearing.
Courtroom attire: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Judge Carroll did not enforce normal Court attire for attorneys. Effective June 21, 2021, normal Court attire for attorneys will be requested whether appearing in-person or remotely via Zoom before Judge Carroll.
Magistrate Ellis: The following matters shall be scheduled before Magistrate Ellis, unless either side files a written objection: All motions directed to the pleadings, discovery, service of process, jurisdiction, and arbitration. These motions may be scheduled through the JACS system. In addition to the traditional matters heard by Magistrate Ellis, the parties may utilize Magistrate Ellis for any other matter to which the parties consent, including injunction hearings and summary judgment motions. Injunctions and summary judgment motions must be specially set by stipulation by contacting Magistrate Ellis’ assistant. If a scheduling party has any question regarding whether a certain motion should be scheduled before the Magistrate, the scheduling party should call or email Magistrate Ellis’ assistant.
Initial CMC: Based on direction from the Chief Justice of Florida requiring judges to actively manage civil case, the Court will set an Initial Case Management Conference approximately 120 days after the initial filing of the lawsuit. Parties and attorneys potentially may be excused from appearing if Judge Carroll has entered a Case Management Order based on the parties’ agreed-to Case Management Report.
Case Management Report: Within 30 days of the last Defendant being served with process, the parties are directed to meet-and-confer and complete the appropriate Case Management Report. The parties shall file the Case Management Report and send Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant a copy within 5 days of the parties’ initial meet-and-confer.
Cases “At Issue”/Cases ready for trial to be set: If a trial date is not set at the same time as entry of the Case Management Report, the parties shall select one of two options when the case is at issue. The first option: select a case management date from the Court’s website, download and fill out the Case Management Order, and submit it to Judge Carroll like any proposed Order. The second option: if all parties/counsel agree on the trial date, download and fill out the appropriate Stipulation and Order Setting Case for Jury/Nonjury Trial, have all counsel sign it, and submit it to the Court. The Court anticipates that the parties will select the trial date closest to the proposed trial date contained in the Case Management Order, unless the parties show good cause for a different trial date.
Case Management Conferences to select a trial date: For Case Management Conferences called for the purpose of selecting a trial date, the parties/counsel may be excused from appearing provided that no later than three business days before the CMC each of these items has occurred: (1) all parties/counsel agree on the trial date; (2) they download, fill out, and sign the appropriate Stipulation and Order Setting Case for Jury/Nonjury Trial; (3) they submit it to Judge Carroll for review and approval; and (4) Judge Carroll has signed the proposed Order. If that is not completed, the parties/counsel must appear in Court as ordered. The Court anticipates that the parties will select the trial date closest to the proposed trial date contained in the Case Management Order, unless the parties show good cause for a different trial date.
Pretrial Conference: The Order Setting Case for Jury Trial contains a Pretrial Conference date. Personal appearance is required unless the parties submit a completed, joint Pretrial Conference Order to Judge Carroll at least three (3) business days prior to the Pretrial Conference. Unless specifically requested, the Court typically does not conduct Pretrial Conferences in nonjury cases.
Docket Sounding: All trial counsel and unrepresented parties must appear in person at Docket Sounding. The Order Setting Case for Jury/Nonjury Trial identifies the documents to tender to the Court. After Docket Sounding, the Court will publish a trial lineup.
Motion deadline, including Daubert and in limine motions: All motions, including Daubert motions and in limine motions, must be resolved before Docket Sounding. Unless Judge Carroll allows otherwise, any pending motion will be deemed denied if not addressed by Docket Sounding. Please plan accordingly.
Continuance: All continuance motions must be in writing and signed by the client/party. See Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.460; Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.545(e).
Settlements occurring after Docket Sounding: If the parties settle after Docket Sounding, not only must the parties immediately notify Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant, the parties must also immediately contact the attorneys next in order on the trial lineup (even over the weekend). Please be considerate so that Court time is not lost due to settlements when others are needing that same hearing time.
New trial or rehearing motions: Please do not set these motions for hearing. Please send these motions to Judge Carroll’s Judicial Assistant with a cover letter. Judge Carroll will determine whether to grant a hearing.