RULE 1.01 SCOPE AND CONSTRUCTION OF RULES
(a) These rules, made pursuant to the authority of 28 U.S.C. Section 2071, Rule 83,
Fed.R.Civ.P., and Rule 57, Fed.R.Cr.P., shall apply to all proceedings in this Court, whether civil
or criminal, unless specifically provided to the contrary or necessarily restricted by inference from
the context. The Court may prescribe by administrative order procedures for electronic filing and
related matters in civil and criminal cases. The administrative order shall govern, notwithstanding
these rules, which otherwise will govern to the extent not inconsistent with the administrative order.
(b) These rules are intended to supplement and complement the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and other controlling statutes and rules of
Court. They shall be applied, construed and enforced to avoid inconsistency with other governing
statutes and rules of court, and shall be employed to provide fairness and simplicity in procedure,
to avoid technical and unjustified delay, and to secure just, expeditious and inexpensive
determination of all proceedings.
(c) The Court may suspend application and enforcement of these rules, in whole or in
part, in the interests of justice in individual cases by written order. When a judge of this Court in
a specific case issues any order which is not consistent with these rules, such order shall constitute
a suspension of the rules with respect to the case only, and only to the extent that such order is
inconsistent with the rules.
(d) In all circumstances in which these rules, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, other rules as prescribed by the Supreme Court of the United
States, or any statute of the United States, or the Federal Common Law, do not apply, the
practices, pleadings, forms and modes of proceedings then existing in like causes in the Courts of
the State of Florida shall be followed.
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RULE 1.02 DIVISIONS OF THE COURT
(a) The Middle District of Florida consists of those counties and places of holding court
as designated in 28 U.S.C. Section 89.
(b) The District shall be divided into five Divisions to be known as the Jacksonville,
Ocala, Orlando, Tampa and Ft. Myers Divisions, as follows:
(1) The Jacksonville Division shall consist of the following counties: Baker,
Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St.
Johns, Suwannee and Union. The place of holding court shall be
(2) The Ocala Division shall consist of the following counties: Citrus, Lake,
Marion and Sumter. The place of holding court shall be Ocala.
(3) The Orlando Division shall consist of the following counties: Brevard,
Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia. The place of holding court shall
(4) The Tampa Division shall consist of the following counties: Hardee,
Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota. The
place of holding court shall be Tampa.
(5) The Fort Myers Division shall consist of the following counties: Charlotte,
Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry and Lee. The place of holding court shall
be Fort Myers.
(c) All civil proceedings of any kind shall be instituted in that Division encompassing the
county or counties having the greatest nexus with the cause, giving due regard to the place where
the claim arose and the residence or principal place of business of the parties.
(d) All criminal proceedings of any kind shall be docketed and tried in that Division
encompassing the county or counties in which the alleged offense or offenses were committed;
provided, however, an indictment returned in any Division shall be valid regardless of the county
or counties within the District in which the alleged offense or offenses were committed.
(e) The Court may, within its discretion, or upon good cause shown by any interested
party, order that any case, civil or criminal, be transferred from one Division to any other Division
for trial, or from one place of holding court to another place of holding court in the same Division.
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RULE 1.03 DOCKETING AND ASSIGNMENT OF CASES
(a) Upon the filing of the initial paper or pleading in any case the Clerk shall docket the
proceeding as a civil, criminal or miscellaneous action. Each case or proceeding shall be given a
six-part docket number, which includes: (1) the one-digit number indicating the division of the
Court; (2) the two-digit number indicating the year in which the proceeding is initiated; (3) the code
indicating the docket to which the case is assigned; (4) the sequence number of the case or
proceeding; (5) a designation consisting of a letter or series of letters disclosing the division in
which the proceeding is pending; and (6) the code indicating the judge to whom the case is
assigned (the code shall conform to the code assigned by the Administrative Office of the United
States Courts) followed by the initials of the magistrate judge to whom the case is assigned.
(b) Each case, upon the filing of the initial paper or pleading, shall be assigned by the
Clerk to an individual judge of the Court who shall thereafter be the presiding judge with respect
to that cause. Individual assignment of cases within each Division shall be made at random or by
lot in such proportions as the judges of the Court from time to time direct. Neither the Clerk nor any
member of his staff shall have any power or discretion in determining the judge to whom any case
is assigned. The method of assignment shall be designed to prevent anyone from choosing the
judge to whom a case is to be assigned, and all persons shall conscientiously refrain from
attempting to circumvent this rule.
(c) No application for any order of court shall be made until the case or controversy in
which the matter arises has been docketed and assigned by the Clerk as prescribed by subsection
(b) of this rule, and then only to the judge to whom the case has been assigned; provided, however:
(1) When no case has previously been initiated, docketed and assigned,
emergency applications arising during days or hours that the Clerk’s Office
is closed may be submitted to any available judge resident in the appropriate
Division, or, if no judge is available in the Division, to any other judge in the
District, but the case shall then be docketed and assigned by the Clerk on
the next business day and shall thereafter be conducted by the judge to
whom it is assigned in accordance with subsection (b) of this rule.
(2) When the judge to whom a case has been assigned is temporarily
unavailable due to illness, absence or prolonged engagement in other
judicial business, emergency applications arising in the case may be made
to the other resident judge in the Division or, if more than one, to the judge
who is junior in commission in that Division. If no other judge is available in
the Division such applications may be made to any other available judge in
(d) The judge to whom any case is assigned may, at any time, reassign the case to any
other consenting judge for any limited purpose or for all further purposes.
(e) The Clerk shall accept for filing all prisoner cases filed with or without the required
filing fee or application to proceed in forma pauperis. However, a prisoner case will be subject to
dismissal by the Court, sua sponte, if the filing fee is not paid or if the application is not filed within
30 days of the commencement of the action.
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