In the County Courts of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit in and for
Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties, Florida
Administrative Order 2022–07.1
(amends 2021-17.1 to include small claims PIP cases)
County Court Civil Case Management
and Small Claims PIP Cases
This Court entered Administrative Order 2021-17.1 to establish a standing order and protocols for county civil case management. Since then, it has become necessary to amend that order to include filing requirements for all PIP cases filed under the small claims jurisdiction of county court.
In accordance with Article V, section 7, Florida Constitution, section 43.26, Florida Statutes, and pursuant to the authority vested in Rule 2.215, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, establishing a Standing Order and Case Management Report for civil case management in county court that addresses the parties’ responsibilities in original actions, and establishing filing requirements in all PIP cases filed under the small claims jurisdiction of the county court, is necessary for the efficient and proper administration of justice.
Now, therefore, it is ordered as follows:
County Court Civil Case Management Requirements
- A Standing Order for County Court Civil Case Management, attached as “Attachment A”, and a County Civil Case Management Report, attached as “Attachment B”, shall be filed with all county civil complaints, except for eviction complaints or other summary proceedings filed under section 51.011, Florida Statutes.
- The Clerks of Court in Sarasota, Manatee, and Desoto Counties are directed to require that any county civil complaint or petition filed, except for eviction complaints or other summary proceedings filed under section 51.011, Florida Statutes, have a copy of this Standing Order for County Civil Case Management and the County Civil Case Management Report attached thereto.
- The Clerk of Court is directed to reject any new County Civil Complaint/Petition (not including evictions or other summary proceedings) that does not include this Standing Order and County Civil Case Management Report.
- All Plaintiffs shall include in their initial filing of a case a copy of this Standing Order and County Civil Case Management Report and serve a copy of this Standing Order and Case Management Report upon all Defendants with the initial process. It is the responsibility of the Plaintiff and/or Plaintiff’s counsel to provide the Defendant(s) with a copy of the Standing Order and County Civil Case Management Report by including it with the complaint at the time of service.
- Failure to comply with the terms of the Standing Order may result in appropriate sanctions against the offending party.
Small Claims PIP Cases
Personal injury protection benefits (“PIP”) cases are routinely filed within the Small Claims Division. These cases comprise a large percentage of the small claims cases filed, and in most cases the parties agree to invoke the Rules of Civil Procedure, as permitted by Rule 7.020(c), Florida Small Claims Rules, and waive appearance at pre-trial conference.
The parties in such cases are represented by counsel, typically seek extensive discovery, and, as a result, the trial courts routinely adopt the parties’ agreement to invoke the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, resulting in the entry of individual orders in each case.
The invocation of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure uniformly at inception of the case throughout the Twelfth Judicial Circuit in PIP cases would promote judicial economy and efficiency and would avoid unnecessary consumption of pre-trial and mediation scheduling and other resources. The following provisions shall apply to all PIP claims filed in the Small Claims Division.
- Applicability of Rules of Civil Procedure. In accordance with Florida Small Claims Rule 7.020, all rules of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure (except as to lack of prosecution (which shall be governed by Rule 7.110(e)) are hereby invoked at the time of filing of the case. Additionally, Rules 7.135 (summary disposition) and 7.150 (jury trial) will prevail over Ruled 1.430 and 1.510. The parties will be required to comply with the mandates set forth in Part A of this Administrative Order (relating to Civil Case Management).
- Small Claims PIP Addendum. For all PIP cases, the Plaintiff must file a Complaint that specifically states that this Administrative Order applies. A Small Claims PIP Addendum, in the form attached hereto as “Attachment C,” shall be filed together with the Complaint. Failure to comply may result in appropriate sanctions.
- Summons. In cases identified as a PIP case under paragraph 3, the Clerk shall issue a summons consistent with Form 1.902, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and this Administrative Order. The Clerk shall not set a small claims pre-trial conference or small claims mediation in the case.
- Any party who objects to the invocation of the rules of civil procedure shall file a written objection within five (5) days of service of the Complaint on the last Defendant. Upon notifying the Court of the written objection, the case may be addressed as the Court deems appropriate, and the Court will reserve jurisdiction to vacate the invocation of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
- All parties are required to mediate their case prior to trial at their own expense.
- A party’s counsel may set matters on the presiding judge’s docket through the judicial assistant or scheduling on JACS.
- Prior to requesting hearing time on discovery issues, counsel shall refer to the most current version of the Handbook on Discovery Practice, which can be found at http://www.flatls.org. Prior to requesting hearing time on a discovery issue, counsel shall conduct a good faith effort to resolve or narrow the discovery issues and shall certify that they have done so in their motion. See Rule 5, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Local Rules (https://www.jud12.flcourts.org/About/Local-Rules)
- The provisions of this Administrative Order may be modified by the trial court for good cause shown in any individual PIP case.
This order is effective August 1, 2022, and shall remain in effect until further order of this court. Administrative Order 2017-17.1 is hereby amended as of that date.
Done and ordered in Sarasota County, Florida, this 8th day of July, 2022.
Charles E. Roberts
Amended effective August 1, 2022
In the County Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit
in and for Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties, Florida
Issued Pursuant to Administrative Order 2022–07.1
Standing Order for County Court Civil Case Management
(For General Track and Streamlined Cases)
The following “Standing Order for County Court Civil Case Management” applies to all County Civil cases (and cases where the rules of civil procedure have been invoked), except eviction and other summary proceedings filed under 51.011, Florida Statutes. The Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s County Civil Case Management Protocol directs the Clerks of Court in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto Counties to require that any County Civil Complaint, except for eviction complaints or other summary proceedings filed under section 51.011, Florida Statutes, have a copy of this Standing Order for County Civil Case Management and the County Civil Case Management Report attached hereto.
- The parties shall meet and confer within 30 days after the last party is served with initial process to discuss, and jointly complete, the Case Management Report. The burden in on the Plaintiff to submit the completed Case Management Report to the Court within 5 days after the initial meet and confer.
- The Court’s expectation is that the parties in most cases will agree to various deadlines in the Case Management Report and will not have to appear at an Initial Case Management Conference. If, however, there is disagreement on completing the Case Management Report, the parties must appear at an Initial Case Management Conference.
- Based on the Case Management Report, the Court will enter a Case Management Order, a Trial Order, or both. The Case Management Order will tell the parties whether they are excused from attending an Initial Case Management, and it will set various deadlines that will govern the progression of the case. The parties must adhere to these deadlines unless changed by the Court upon a showing of good cause. Procrastination in completing discovery or the known unavailability of counsel not timely addressed will not constitute good cause for a change to these deadlines. The failure to abide by these deadlines may result in sanctions by the Court, including the award of attorney’s fees, the striking of pleadings, and/or a dismissal of the action.
- This case has been designated either as a “streamlined” or a “general track” case. General track and jury cases should be disposed of within 18 months of filing, and streamlined and non-jury cases should be disposed of within 12 months of filing. See Fla. R. Gen. Prac. & Jud. Admin. 2.250(a)(1)(B). Parties who seek an extended trial date beyond these time standards may be required to appear at an Initial Case Management Conference.
- For small claims cases that proceed under one or more of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, pursuant to Fla. Sm. Cl. R. 7.020(c) if the deadline for the trial date specified in Fla. Sm. Cl. R. 7.090(d) no longer applies in the case, the Plaintiff shall attach this Standing Order and the Case Management Report.
- The parties, or their attorneys, shall meet and confer within 30 days after the last party is served with initial process, or order invoking Rules of Civil Procedure is entered, to meet, confer, and jointly complete the Case Management Report.
- The Plaintiff shall file the signed, completed Case Management Report within 5 days after the first meet and confer conference. Concurrently, the parties shall provide a copy of that Case Management Report to the assigned judge’s designated email, copying all parties. If parties do not agree to the case management report, each party shall file their proposed Case Management Report and concurrently email the Court’s judicial assistant with it, copying all parties. The Court will then take appropriate action.
- The attorneys shall comply with the Local Rules of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit and the Standards of Professionalism of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, each of which is posted on the Court’s website: www.jud12.flcourts.org.
Done and ordered in Sarasota County, Florida, on this 8th day of July, 2022.
Charles E. Roberts
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