Requirements and Information
October 13, 2022
The court utilizes several standard orders, please review the Civil Division page before submitting proposed orders. Please check this page often as the Court adds new orders or modifies existing proposed orders.
The Twelfth Judicial Circuit provides spoken language court interpreters to limited-English-proficient persons in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, section 90.606, Florida Statutes, and Rule 2.560, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. If you require the assistance of an interpreter, please submit your request using the Interpreter Request Form or please call 941-749-3659. Please submit your request as early as possible, requests made with less than 5 business days’ notice may not be able to be accommodated.
Please read if you are pro se and do not have an attorney
Judge Walker must apply the same rules to all parties, regardless of whether you have an attorney or you represent yourself. Your opportunity to speak with Judge Walker about your case is when you are in the courtroom only. The Judicial Assistant is more than happy to help you schedule a hearing however, she is not able to help you with your case, give legal advice or send information to other parties in the case. For details about your case, you may visit the Sarasota County Clerk’s website.
The Court will not consider ex-parte communication, therefore all communication sent to the Court by email must be copied to the opposing parties before the matter will be considered. Counsel should not use email for general correspondence or copy the Judicial Assistant any extraneous documentation or email correspondence between counsels. A friendly reminder, you must email a copy to all parties in the case including attorneys.
Pro se parties must email a copy of the motion(s) to the Judicial Assistant or reference the DIN of the motion(s) they want hearing time for. The Judicial Assistant will provide hearing options for the parties to coordinate. Please be sure to file any items you would the court to consider into the court file.
You must schedule hearings one hour or less in duration directly through the Judicial Automated Calendaring System (JACS). Please do not combine timeslots. Please contact the Court’s Judicial Assistant to schedule hearings requiring more than one hour. Please note, Judge Walker’s Trial Calendar has doubled since last year. Please utilize the Magistrate for any matters that are acceptable for the Magistrate to hear.
All attorneys must follow the Local Rules and the Twelfth Judicial Circuit's Standards of Professionalism, available on the Court’s website.
The following hearings shall be conducted in-person unless otherwise ordered by the Court:
At this time, all other hearings not listed above will be conducted using the Zoom platform. Judge Walker “hosts” the video/telephone conferences so there is no need to set up your own. Please visit the Public Court Hearings page for the Zoom log on credentials and procedures, including requirements for noticing a Zoom hearing and Zoom etiquette.
Please remember, the Remote Courtroom is still a public Courtroom. Unless you are unable, the Court expects that you attend the Remote hearing with your camera on and that you conduct yourself professionally.
If the parties agree, Non-Jury Trials may be conducted by Zoom. If the parties agree, there is no need to file a motion or obtain an order of approval by the Court. For these hearings, please refer to the “Civil Guidelines for Virtual Evidentiary Hearings” listed at the webpage referenced above. Please remember that the Court cannot electronically file your exhibits, and they must be either filed in the Court file or you must send a hard copy in advance of the hearing or trial. When in doubt, please contact the judicial assistant before an evidentiary hearing to make sure that your evidence will be properly before the Court.
Please be advised that Docket Sounding will take place via Zoom.
Any witness testifying at an evidentiary hearing or non-jury trial by Zoom must appear on camera and must present a valid form of identification.
If all parties agree to an in-person hearing for a hearing that is not listed in the “in-person” section above, please contact the court for approval. You must include all parties’ agreement on the notice of hearing.
If you wish to have your hearing in-person, and it is a hearing that is not listed in the in the “in-person” section above, you may file a motion with the Court stating good cause that the hearing should proceed in-person rather than by Zoom. There must be an agreement by all parties. Unfamiliarity with Zoom is generally not considered good cause by the Court. There are resources explaining how to use Zoom on the 12th Judicial Circuit website, or you may contact the self-help center at 941-861-8191.
The Court conducts UMC hearings every Wednesday for both Civil and Foreclosure starting at 8:30 a.m. UMC dates and the assigned Judge may be found on the Civil Division page. All UMC hearings will occur via Zoom. The Judge will host the videoconference and you must file your notice with the Zoom credentials into the court file so that the hearing is still open to the public. UMC motions must be unopposed, non-evidentiary and five (5) minutes or less in length. Please do not schedule UMC hearings through JACS or the Judicial Assistant.
See Zoom procedures on Judge Walker’s Zoom page. Please see the expectations for all participants on the Public Court Hearings page.
The Court expects parties to cooperate with each other in an effort to resolve the issues and follow the Local Rules and Standards of Professionalism. If parties are unable to agree on a hearing date, the movant shall schedule a fifteen (15) minute status conference to discuss the scheduling issues with the Judge.
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. Please include the DIN number on the hearing notice, and when referencing any filing. The DIN number is typically between 1 to 4 numbers and is to the left of the description in the electronic court file. The Notice of Hearing must contain the correct Zoom credentials and specific language which can be found on Judge Walker’s Zoom page.
Once a motion is scheduled via JACS or with the Judicial Assistant, subsequent motions shall not be “cross noticed”, absent prior approval of opposing counsel and the Court.
You must cancel hearings using JACS. When the Court’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 email or call the Judicial Assistant to cancel a hearing. You must immediately send notice of cancellation to all parties including the Judicial Assistant.
All residential mortgage foreclosures, whether Homestead or Non-Homestead, must be set using JACS and placed onto either the Foreclosure Contested docket or Foreclosure Uncontested docket before the assigned judge.
UMC motions must be unopposed, non-evidentiary and five (5) minutes or less in length. Please do not schedule UMC hearings through JACS or the Judicial Assistant. Please also visit the Foreclosure Information page.
All commercial or real property foreclosures (everything except residential foreclosures) must be set before the assigned judge using the assigned judge’s Civil JACS calendar.
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact the Sarasota County Clerk of Court’s Jury Office, P.O. Box 3079, Sarasota, FL 34230-3079; (941) 861-8000 at least seven (7) days before your scheduled court appearance, or immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled appearance is less than seven (7) days; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711. Additional ADA information can be found on the Americans with Disabilities Act page.
Please do not email “courtesy copies”. Judge Walker now views the court file electronically and copies are no longer needed as long as the document is filed in the court file. Please continue to submit all case law and any supporting documents that are not filed in the court file at least 48 hours prior to the Judicial Assistant. When sending case law and supporting documents, please state in your email or letter which party you represent. For voluminous submissions, the Court appreciates an index or searchable file.
Please submit hard copies of exhibits to the Court properly marked and indexed five days prior to the hearing/trial. Please email the Judicial Assistant at DBaranski@jud12.flcourts.org prior to the hearing confirming receipt of the hard copies. If the exhibits are under 25 pages, they may be emailed to the Judicial Assistant. If it is in in-person Jury trial and it is extremely voluminous, exhibits may be brought the morning of the trial to the court. Typically, Plaintiff will use numbers and Defendant will use letters. Please note that the court is unable to access dropbox or links for exhibits.
The following matters shall be scheduled before Magistrate Bailey, unless either side files a written objection: All motions directed to the pleadings, discovery, and service of process, jurisdiction, and arbitration. These motions may be scheduled through the JACS system under Magistrate Bailey. Please submit an Order of Referral which can be found on the downloadable proposed orders page on the civil division website. In addition to the traditional matters heard by Magistrate Bailey, the parties may utilize Magistrate Bailey for any other matter to which the parties consent, including injunction hearings and summary judgment motions. Injunctions must be specially set by stipulation by contacting Magistrate Bailey’s assistant. If a scheduling party has any question about whether a certain motion should be scheduled before the Magistrate, the scheduling party should email Magistrate Bailey’s assistant or call (941) 861-4866.
The 12th Circuit provides the services of the Magistrate to resolve matters directed to the pleadings and discovery in order to provide expedient access to the Court and use judicial resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. In 2021, the civil division was reduced to two judges as well as the addition of extra trial periods to attempt to address the growing backlog of trials that were not tried due to COVID-19. For this reason, the civil judges have less motion hearing time available. Using the Magistrate for these motions allows parties to obtain hearing time sooner and permits the civil judge’s hearing time to remain available for summary judgment motions, evidentiary hearings, and trials. If either party has a good faith objection to the Magistrate, the party may file an objection and then schedule the hearing before the judge. Please keep in mind the judge will likely have less hearing time available than the Magistrate due to the circumstances described above.
The list below is not all inclusive. If you have a motion NOT listed below that is either discovery related or directed to a pleading, the motion should be set in front of the magistrate.
Pursuant to AOSC-20-23, Amendment 10, and AO 2021-14.1, each case will be designated as “streamlined,” “general,” or “complex” upon filing. The parties are required to meet and confer within 30 days of service of the complaint on the last of all named defendants. Parties may move the Court to change the designation upon filing a written motion. Plaintiffs shall initiate the consultation with all defendants to either agree to a Case Management Report or the parties are required to attend the initial case management conference. Please refer to the Initial Case Management Order filed in your case and follow the specific instructions carefully.
The parties are required to use the form Case Management Report approved for the 12th Circuit. The CMR can be found on the civil page of the circuit website. The CMR must be filed in the Court file. PLEASE DO NOT SEND THESE TO THE JUDGE THROUGH THE EPORTAL OR THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT VIA EMAIL. Due to the high volume of cases set for initial case managements, if the Case Management Report is not submitted at least one week before the hearing, you may still be required to attend. If you have questions about how to fill out the CMR, or the case management protocol, please email the Civil Case Manager.
If you are not excused by Court order, you are required to attend the Initial Case Management. This applies even if all the parties are not served. Please do not call the judicial assistant to request excusal from the initial case management for this reason.
Effective May 2, 2022, unless good cause is shown, proposed orders are required to be submitted electronically through the statewide Portal whenever feasible. See AO: 2022-1.2. Please refer to the Sarasota Clerk's website for information on how to use the Florida Courts e-Filing Portal.
Proposed Orders submitted through the “Proposed Documents” feature of the Portal are electronically transmitted to Judge Walker. Judge Walker’s name is not specifically listed, please choose “Assigned Judge” and it will go to his proposed order queue. The proposed order must be submitted electronically through the Portal in Word (.docx) format. If not submitted in Word format, it will be rejected. Proposed orders should conclude with the following language: “DONE AND ORDERED in Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida” and Please include a signature line for the Judge’s signature block and a service list if needed. Do not include a date; the date is included with the judge’s electronic signature. Please leave adequate room in the document for the judge’s electronic signature. Cover letters must be submitted through the Portal in PDF/A format. All proposed orders submitted through the Portal to judges and magistrates in Sarasota County require a cover letter. If a cover letter is not included, it will be rejected. Any ancillary documents related to the proposed order (copy of the motion, case law, legal memorandums, etc.) may be attached to the cover letter in PDF/A format. Motions and proposed orders must be submitted through the Portal as separate documents. Combined motion/proposed orders in the same document are not permitted. Parties shall only submit a proposed order when all parties agree to the form. If an order is submitted via the portal, emailed courtesy copies are not needed.
Please do not email “Proposed Orders” unless instructed to by the Court. If instructed to email, please send in Word format to Division A only. If the Proposed Order is agreed upon, please include the email string to show the order was agreed. If it is not an agreed Order, please note the points of disagreement or advise the Court that more than one Order is being submitted.
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 the Court’s Judicial Assistant about the motion, and (2) email or hand deliver a copy to the Court’s Judicial Assistant. The Court will determine how to handle the request.
Please confer with opposing counsel prior to setting the hearing to properly estimate the length of hearing. Please submit hard copies of exhibits to the Court properly marked and indexed five days prior to the hearing/trial. Please email DBaranski@jud12.flcourts.org prior to the hearing confirming receipt of the hard copies. If the exhibits are under 25 pages, they may be emailed to the Judicial Assistant. Please note that the Court is unable to access dropbox or links for exhibits. Visit the Public Court Hearings page for guidelines.
Pursuant to AO 2021-19.1, the following procedures are required for summary judgment motions:
All motions for temporary injunctions must be emailed to the judicial assistant promptly upon filing. DO NOT SET THESE FOR HEARING without leave of court. The Court will likely set a status conference to determine the date and length of the hearing. Please utilize the form order setting an injunction hearing and further guidance on the Civil Division page in the “Forms” section.
The Court allows a Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs to proceed on the issue of entitlement only. Following the hearing and if entitlement is found, this Court usually requires mediation as to the issue of amount. If mediation is unsuccessful and counsel are unable to stipulate and submit an agreed Order to the Court, the Movant may proceed to schedule a second hearing as to amount of fees/costs to be awarded. Please refer to the guidelines for conducting and evidentiary hearing.
Do not set these for hearing. All Motions for Rehearing, Reconsideration, or for New Trial should be submitted directly to the Judge's office along with a cover letter. The judge will first review the motion to determine whether a hearing is required.
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 Court’s system will show you as attorney of record. No hearing is needed if 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.
Pursuant to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.420(2) (e), when there has been no activity for a period of ten (10) months by filing of pleadings, Order of Court, or otherwise, and no stay entered, a case may be placed on a “Lack of Prosecution Docket.” Motion and Notice of the hearing will be sent to parties of record at the last known address from the Court file. If no record activity occurs within 60 days of the Notice, the Court shall dismiss the action unless a party shows good cause in writing at least five (5) working days before the hearing on why the action should remain pending. If good cause is shown, the hearing will be treated as a Case Management Conference. Parties may be excused from this hearing by submitting a stipulated Order setting the case for trial at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Do not contact the Judicial Assistant to request excusal from the hearing if no trial Order has been submitted three (3) business days prior or to request a telephonic appearance.
As soon as a case settles, the parties shall immediately provide written notice to the Court’s Judicial Assistant. Absent compelling circumstances, the Court 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.
When a case is at issue, you have two options.
For Trial and Case Management dates through 2022, as well as scheduling orders, please refer to the Civil Division page of the 12th Judicial Circuit’s website.
The Court conducts two general types of CMCs: (1) to select a trial date; and (2) when a case needs more active management. Any party may request a CMC. The Court strongly encourages the early use of CMC especially in complex cases, multiple party litigation, or any case that might benefit from Court intervention. Unless excused by the Court in advance, all CMCs are mandatory. If you are scheduling a cmc hearing on the civil docket you must use a 15-minute time slot. If there are no 15-minute time slots available then set on the CMC docket. The CMC dates are located under the trial dates.
The Order Setting Case for Jury Trial contains a Pretrial Conference date. If the parties submit a completed, joint Pretrial Conference Order to the Court at least three (3) business days prior to the Pretrial Conference, the parties will be excused from the Pretrial Conference. Otherwise, personal appearance is required. Unless requested, the Court does not conduct Pretrial Conferences in non-jury cases.
All trial counsel and unrepresented parties must appear at Docket Sounding. The Order Setting Case for Jury/Nonjury Trial identifies the documents to tender to the Court. Docket Sounding continues to take place via zoom, but you may contact the Judicial Assistant if you are unsure.
All motions, including Daubert/Frye Motions and in Limine Motions, must be resolved before Docket Sounding. Please plan accordingly.
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).
Civil Division A and C Judges backup each other to increase availability for trials. Please notify the Court no later than Docket Sounding if a recusal issue would exist with Division C.
If the parties settle after Docket Sounding, not only must the parties notify the Court’s Judicial Assistant, but the parties must also immediately contact the attorneys next in order on the trial lineup (even over the weekend).
Please do not set these motions for hearing. Please send these motions to the Court with a cover letter. The Court will determine whether to grant a hearing.
With the consent of the Chief Judge of this Circuit, all pre-trial matters and adversary proceedings in Civil Trust Litigation or other matters that either originated in the Probate/Guardianship division or are substantially related to Probate and Guardianship matters requiring resolution by trial, shall be reassigned to the presiding Probate/Guardianship Division Judge, with the exception of those motions that are required to be heard by the Civil Magistrate pursuant to these requirements and consistent with existing Administrative Orders.