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Business of Law
Profile: Gill S. Freeman
Gill S. Freeman
Circuit Court Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit-Miami-Dade Circuit Court, 1997
Other Professional Experience:
Dean, Florida's College of Advanced Judicial Studies
Chair, Florida Supreme Court Standing Committee
Vice-Chair, Florida Supreme Court Gender Bias Commission
Chair, Gender Bias Study Implementation Commission
past president, Florida Association of Women Lawyers
She is presently assigned to the Complex Business Litigation Section of the 11th Judicial Circuit. She is the first and only judge to serve in that capacity in Miami Dade County. She practiced commercial and family law for twenty (20) years prior to her appointment to the bench. In March of 2008, Judge Freeman was invited to be a panelist at the State Department on issues of international access to justice. She has received Dade FAWL's Mattie Belle Davis Award and Dade County's "In the Company of Women Award". She is a recipient of State FAWL's Rosemary Barkett Award. Judge Freeman routinely teaches courses to judges on fairness issues, civil and family law
Areas of Practice or professional experience before becoming a Judge:
Securities Litigation, General Commercial, Family.
Bachelors of Education, Temple University
Masters of Education, University of Miami
Juris Doctor, University of Miami
Professional Civic Activities/Honors/Awards:
Chair of the Board of Directors, Spectrum Programs
CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES
Would you take an active role in coordinating discovery and other matters at a case management conference noticed pursuant to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.200(a)? Yes, in what type of case? See CBL Rules
a. When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call Chambers to seek an immediate ruling? Yes b. Do you consider the filing of a motion for a protective order with regard to a deposition as an automatic stay of the subject deposition, thus relieving the attorney or the witness from the obligation to attend? If No, what additional steps do you require for the deposition to be stayed? No, A copy of the motion must be submitted to chambers with Compliance to CBL Rule 4.3. Unless time does not permit for good cause, the matter should be set on motion calendar. c. Does your opinion on this depend upon whether the deposition was "short-noticed", i.e., noticed within an unreasonably short period of time before the deposition?Perhaps, however each situation is judged on its own merits. d. Do you allow emergency hearings for motions for protective orders where the time between the motion and the deposition is not sufficient for a non emergency hearing? Yes
Disposition of Motions Without Hearing
Are there any motions on which you would rule without the necessity of a hearing? Yes,which motions? Motion to Dismiss.
Do you have any procedures or preferences regarding any subject, including motion practice, with which you expect attorneys to comply? ( E.g. submission of Orders with Motion; Motions must be filed within 5 days prior to setting hearing, expectation that courtesy copies of motions be submitted by email, etc.) Yes: See Rules of Complex Business Litigation Division on the Court Website. Please indicate any attorney practices which you periodically observe and of which you disapprove (aka, "pet peeves")! Pettiness, lack of professionalism. Orders which have the signature of the judge alone, no text on the page.
Is there anything else that you want attorneys or litigants to know before they appear before you? If Yes, please so describe: They are to confer prior to arguing motions before the court and with regard to motions to dismiss and discovery prior to the filing of motions. They are to read and follow the Complex Business Litigation Rules. Professionalism is of the utmost importance which includes common courtesy.
Motion Practice: All Hearings
a. Do you prefer to receive memoranda in support of motions? Yes, do you prefer to receive them before or at the hearing? Before If before, how long before? There are filing and response times set forth in the CBL Rules. If you receive a memorandum, do you expect to receive an opposing memorandum? Generally, yes. See CBL Rules. b. Do you prefer copies of significant cases? If so, do you prefer they be highlighted? Yes. Not necessarily. c. How soon after the hearing should the order be submitted?In most cases orders will be entered at the close of the hearing, others a.s.a.p. d. Do you expect the attorney submitting the proposed order to advise you in the cover letter if the opposing attorney agrees that the proposal reflects the ruling? Yes If there is disagreement, do you expect a counter-proposed order from the other attorney? Yes, however disagreement must be disclosed in the cover letter.
Motion Practice: Motion Calendars
a. Days and times: Tues, Wed. & Thurs. 9:00 a.m. b. Length of Motion Calendar Hearings: 5 minutes per side per hearing. c. Under what circumstances, can cases be added to a filled motion calendar? It is an open motion calendar. I will hear all the motions that are set. I will hear appropriate motions not set 5 business days in advance, provided all the parties agree to appear. d. What special procedure should be followed, if any? Proper notice as referenced above and the movant must bring a copy of the motion and the notice. e. Do you allow hearings by conference call? Yes 1. Under what circumstances? Generally when requested and for most good reasons. 2. What procedure should be followed for telephone hearings?Call the JA and make arrangements as may be necessary. 3. If you advise the parties that you will have a hearing by phone, or announce a ruling by phone, do you allow any attorney to appear in person in your chambers for the hearing? No unless all counsel agree. 4. If any or all parties appear by phone, do you allow a court reporter to be present in your chambers or courtroom?Yes 5. If any or all parties appear by phone, do you allow a court reporter to be present in one of the party's offices? Yes f. What is the name and telephone number of the motion calendar clerk for your division? N/A Open motion calendar. g. If a motion calendar hearing is cancelled,reset or resolved by counsel, should counsel advise your office? No h. Should courtesy copies of pleading and motions be forwarded to Chambers? Yes, No, No, for motion calendar for all other matters yes. i. What motions do you consider inappropriate for Motion Calendar? Anything evidentiary, anything that takes more than 5 minutes to a side.
MOTION PRACTICE: SPECIAL APPOINTMENTS
a. Which motions are routinely heard only at specially set hearing? Summary Judgments, temporary injunctions, anything evidentiary in nature all require special sets. b. What is the procedure for allowing matters to be specially set? Copy of motion delivered to chamber, only email to the Complex Business litigation section. (Also require compliance with CBL Rule 4.3.) With a Special Set request form. c. Do you have a back up calendar for special appointment hearings to be set on short notice, i.e., if you have a cancellation? No d. If counsel seek to re-set a specially set hearing, is court notice and approval necessary? Yes except motion calendar
POST TRIAL OR POST SETTLEMENT:
a. Do you review post trial motions to decide whether a hearing will be allowed? Yes b. If a case is settled, what procedure should be followed to advise your office? The parties must submit paperwork to close the files. It could be voluntary dismissal, settlement or judgment. c. When do you schedule motions to approve a minor settlement? At the end of motion calendar, however they do not occur in this division.
TRIAL RELATED MATTERS
a. What is your daily/weekly trial schedule? Generally, 3 weeks set aside for trials. b. Do you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes c. How long prior to trial must motions in limine be filed? d. When do you want counsel to submit jury instructions and verdict forms? e. Is it helpful to have jury instructions submitted in electronic form? If yes, what form and/or software program do you prefer? f. Do you allow individual exhibit books for jurors? g. What facilities do you have available in your courtroom or in the courthouse for use by attorneys at trial? Check all that apply: a.X-ray viewer b Elmo c.Television d.VCR e.DVD player f.Other Screen h.What reasons in your view would justify granting a continuance? Exiqent circumstances. i. What is your policy on granting a continuance? Granted when reasonably necessary. Not granted because this is the first time up. And, what is your policy for either rolling the case over or removing it from the trial docket? Each case is analyzed under its own particular circumstances. Does the case need to be re-noticed or does it depend on the reason for the continuance? If a case is continued it is reset contemporaneously with the continuance. j. When a case on the trial calendar is not reached because of the court's schedule, what is your practice and procedure for rolling the case over? Has not happened in this division to date. k. Do you generally try the oldest case first? Yes l. Do you specially set cases for trial? Rarely If Yes, based on what criteria? Length of trial, witnesses out of the country. m. Jury Selection: 1. Describe the extent of the involvement by the Court as well as any special procedures you use: I do a voire dire as to general matters including responses to the jury questionaire. 2. Are time limitations imposed on the parties? If Yes, how long?: No 3. Describe any special procedures that you observe for the exercise of challenges? 4. Are there any practices you have observed recurrently by attorney during voir dire of which you disapprove? If Yes, which ones? Yes. Attempts at pretrying the case. n. Opening statement/closing argument 1.What rules do you apply when attorneys seek to use demonstrative aids during opening or closing argument? They must be disclosed prior to trial. 2.While recognizing that each case is unique, do you impose time constraints for: a. Opening? No b. Closing? NO what are they? The times are agreed to prior to trial for the opening and at the charge conference for closing. 3. If the type of case affects the amount of time allowed, please indicate the time routinely allowed for opening/ closing in each of the following: o. In non-jury cases, do you routinely impose time limits on opening or closing arguments? If Yes, what are the limits? No p. Do you have any preferences or protocols regarding bench trials that you would like attorneys to know about? If Yes, what are they? Yes, See attached suasponte order. q. Are there any standing orders, notices, or forms regarding scheduling, discovery, trial, or other matters that you regularly use or about which you would like to advise the members of the bar? If Yes, could you please provide a copy with your response to this questionnaire? See Complex Business Litigation Rules.
Michael Cotter, Bailiff
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