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What is a Pretrial Conference or Case Management Conference in Florida?

Posted by Fred Koberlein | Sep 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

A person's first introduction to the court system can be overwhelming and intimidating. However, case management and pretrial conferences in Florida do not have to be either. These conferences are used for the court and parties, to the case, to find out what issues need to be addressed in court and deal with the scheduling of motions, pleadings, trial, or other important events. Generally, the court or either party can request a conference and a court date will be set for both parties to attend that conference. We will address both criminal conferences in Florida as well as civil conferences in Florida. 

Criminal Pretrial Conferences in Florida

Criminal pretrial conferences in Florida are governed by the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, often referred to as "Rule 3.*** ". The Criminal Rules of Procedure are often used for many of the same reasons as the civil case management conferences. However, if the criminal-defendant fails to show up to a conference, the judge can issue an arrest warrant. Note, a criminal-defendant may be excused from a pretrial conference by filing a written waiver of their desire to appear at a pretrial conference in Florida. Criminal pretrial conferences help the judge flush out the issues for trial and also, allow the attorneys an opportunity to alert the judges to possible evidentiary issues, calendar conflicts, plea deals, etc. that could take place. 

Civil Case Management Conferences in Florida

In Florida, civil case management conferences and pretrial conferences are governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, often referred to as "Rule 1.*** ". A civil case management conference can be used to address many topics like scheduling, discovery (the exchange of information between parties), decisions the judge might need to make before trial, and many others. Note, it is not unusual for civil parties to absent themselves and allow their respective attorneys to attend civil case management conferences. These conferences can be ordered or requested any time after a responsive pleading or motion are due. However, the issue the court is considering must be given in the order or notice.

The court or either party can initiate a civil pretrial conference. The pretrial conference is used to determine:

  1. The simplification of the issues;
  2. The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
  3. The possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof;
  4. The limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
  5. The potential use of juror notebooks; and
  6. Any matters permitted in a case management conference.

The rules of civil procedure also provide guidance on the notice that is required. In a case management conference, there must be reasonable notice given to the parties, and a pretrial conference requires 20 days' advance notice. These notice requirements are in place because it is extremely important both parties, or their respective attorneys, show up for the conferences. If a party fails to show up to a civil conference, the court could dismiss the action or take other action related to the conference.

Conclusion

Case management conferences and pretrial conferences are an important part of the judicial process because they help move the case along in an efficient way while ensuring the court and attorneys are all on the same page about the issues in the case. Either party or the court can generally request a conference after a case has commenced. At the conference, both parties must be in attendance unless a client's appearance has been waived by the court. These conferences work towards promoting a fair and just trial process.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein

Fred Koberlein is a trial attorney who opened Koberlein Law Offices after acquiring extensive legal experience in three legal practice areas, which are: personal injury law; criminal defense; and local government matters which require you to appear or present your matter before your local government Boards, government Councils, and government Agencies. Mr. Koberlein began trial preparation through an externship as a legal clerk with the Judges of the Third Judicial Circuit for Florida prior to his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law.  After law school Mr. Koberlein was dedicated to becoming a trial attorney and worked with the Public Defender's Office from 2004 to 2007, where he was promoted to handling felony cases within eight months of hire.  Mr.  Koberlein has handled over 1500 criminal cases ranging from possession of cannabis, DUI, serious felonies, white-collar crimes, violations of probation hearings, and countless motion hearings. Mr.  Koberlein began practicing in the areas of personal injury and insurance defense during 2006.  Mr. Koberlein's experience in prosecuting personal injury claims against those insurance companies he was not representing and defending other insurance companies and their customers provided a unique experience where he was able to learn what each side anticipates from the opposing party.Next, Mr. Koberlein was hired by a City to defend the City's interests and three additional Cities quickly followed and retained Mr. Koberlein to protect their interests.  Currently, Mr. Koberlein represents a total of four (4) municipalities in the North Florida area.  As Mr. Koberlein focused on civil litigation he remained passionate about representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes as well as civil litigation issues. Mr.  Koberlein has the experience and reputation to negotiate a favorable resolution in your matter, and if that is not possible, to provide the best, most zealous trial representation available.  Utilizing competent and trusted investigators and experts, your case will be prepared so that the best result will be achieved.  If you or a loved one is hurt, damaged, or is facing criminal charges, you want a qualified, hard-working attorney who will explain your options to you in a straightforward, commonsense, and honest manner. Education and Practice Experience: University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Bachelor of Science, 1997 University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida; 1998 University of Florida, College of Law; Gainesville, Florida; 2003 Bar and Court Admissions: Florida Bar, 2004 – Present All 67 Counties in Florida All 20 Circuits in Florida U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Professional and Civic Activities: Florida Bar Trial Lawyers, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Business Law Section, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, 2004 – Present Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004 – Present Third Judicial Bar Association, 2004 – Present Mr.  Koberlein is committed to his clients and devotes himself to protecting their interests from the beginning to the end of their case.  Mr. Koberlein has spent his career helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges, fight insurance companies, and proceed through the bureaucratic process of local governments.  Mr. Koberlein welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and evaluate your legal needs and provide you with an experienced and competent analysis.

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