M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center, 5th Floor
Pensacola, FL 32502
All proposed Orders should be submitted in MS Word format to: Esc.DivM.email@example.com
Please see information below for specific requirements regarding submitting proposed Orders.
All other email should be sent to Judge Clark’s Judicial Assistant, Sak Sam at: Sak.Sam@flcourts1.gov
Please copy (cc) all opposing counsel and pro se parties on all emails and correspondence with Judge Clark’s office.
Communicating With Judge Clark's Office About Pending Cases:
Judge Clark is restricted by principles of judicial ethics from communicating about pending or impending cases outside of hearings or documents filed in the court file and served on all parties. This restriction also applies to Judge Clark's Judicial Assistant, Mr. Sam.
Impartiality is the most basic principle of judicial ethics. It means that all parties to a pending case are included in all communications with the court regarding that matter - no party has special or secret access to the judge.
Communication to the judge without prior notice to the opponent is “ex parte” and improper except in extreme circumstances and as specifically provided by applicable law. If the litigant does not know of any applicable law permitting a particular ex parte communication, then the particular ex parte communication is improper.
Judge Clark will not discuss pending cases with any party outside of a hearing. Mr. Sam cannot take a message pertaining to a pending case from a litigant or other person to Judge Clark.
Mr. Sam's responsibility is to schedule hearings and maintain Judge Clark's calendar. Once a motion is filed or the matter is ready to be set for a final hearing or trial, the lawyer or litigant may contact Mr. Sam to schedule a hearing. Mr. Sam may communicate regarding potential dates and times for hearings. Mr. Sam is not permitted to engage in discussions regarding the issues in any pending case with anyone for any purpose.
Since Mr. Sam cannot make decisions on disputed matters and cannot communicate to Judge Clark regarding things litigants say about disputed matters, no purpose is served by telling her about disputes.
If a party is represented by an attorney, all court documents must be filed by the party’s attorney. Likewise, all communication with the judge’s office must be through the party’s attorney or the attorney’s staff.
A party who is not represented by an attorney is referred to as a “Pro Se Litigant.” Pro se litigants (parties without a lawyer representing them) may find the resources listed at the bottom of this page useful.
Scheduling and Cancelling Hearings
Merely filing a motion or petition with the Clerk does not bring the matter before the judge. It is the moving party’s responsibility to schedule the motion for a hearing with the judge’s office. Prior to contacting the judge’s office to schedule a hearing, the motion must be filed with the Clerk.
Hearings are scheduled by phone with Judge Clark’s Judicial Assistant, Mr. Sam. If your telephone system has the capability, arrange conference calls with opposing counsel’s office to coordinate the date and time for hearing prior to calling the judge’s office. This will eliminate calling the judge’s office several times and ensure the hearing is on everyone’s calendar. If your telephone system does not have the capability for conference calling, please contact the judge’s office for dates to coordinate with opposing counsel. It will be the moving party’s responsibility to coordinate the hearing. Dates will not be protected/final until the judge’s office is notified that the hearing has been coordinated. Always contact the Judicial Assistant by phone to confirm the hearing date. Please do not rely upon voice mail or email for scheduling as messages are sometime unclear, incomplete, or the particular time may no longer be available.
Make sure you allow enough time for both sides to be heard. Judge Clark strictly adheres to the amount of time requested. Each side has half of the scheduled hearing time. It is each party’s obligation to keep track of that party’s time. While a party is speaking, and while a witness is responding to a party’s question, that party’s time is running.
Once the hearing time is confirmed, the moving party shall prepare, file, and serve a Notice of Hearing. Please send a copy to the Judicial Assistant.
The Notice of Hearing shall include:
* The date, time (Central Time), and location of the hearing
* The total amount of time that has been scheduled for the hearing
* The full title of the motion being heard and the filing date
* If a response to the motion has been filed, include the title of the response and the filing date
* A Certificate of Service listing the name, address, and email address of all opposing counsel and pro se parties
* The required ADA notice pursuant to Administrative Order 2015-32: https://www.firstjudicialcircuit.org/sites/default/files/document_librar...
The required ADA notice for Escambia County is provided at the bottom of this page.
When scheduling hearings, please notify the Judicial Assistant of any potential security concerns or special needs for the hearing.
All criminal hearings, all criminal trials, and all civil jury trials are held in a courtroom. All civil hearings except jury trials are held in the judge’s Chambers. If a courtroom is needed for a civil hearing or non-jury trial, please notify the Judicial Assistant when calling to schedule the hearing or non-jury trial.
A hearing may not be necessary if the motion is stipulated. These matters can be expedited if the moving party states within the motion that they have conferred with opposing counsel/party who has no objection or if opposing counsel/party indicates his or her approval by initialing the proposed order. The judge will review all cases with a stipulated motion before deciding whether to approve the stipulation.
Cross-setting or “Piggy-Backing” Hearings:
When a hearing is initially scheduled, the time set aside for the original motion is deemed to be sufficient for that matter only. Adding additional motions is not possible unless there are no objections by opposing counsel/parties to doing so and adequate additional time is available. Judge Clark will not hear motions which have not been properly scheduled and noticed.
If a case or issue resolves, notify the judge’s office immediately and cancel all scheduled hearings so the time can be cleared for other hearings. Valuable calendar time is lost because reasonable notice is not given that could be used for other hearings. A Notice of Cancellation or Notice Withdrawing the Motion will be necessary.
Only the party who scheduled the hearing has the authority to cancel the hearing. If the hearing was scheduled by Court Order, the hearing will not be cancelled or rescheduled without authorization by Judge Clark.
Trial/Hearing Notebooks and Courtesy Copies of Motions/Depositions/Memoranda:
If you wish to provide Judge Clark with a hard copy of Motions, Memoranda, or Trial/Hearing Notebooks, please do so at least five (5) business days before the hearing or trial. If the courtesy copies contain anything that has not previously been filed with the Clerk, you must provide them to all other attorneys/parties at the same time.
If the issues raised at the hearing will require Judge Clark to review deposition/hearing transcripts, please ensure that the transcripts have been filed in the court file well in advance of the hearing. If the transcript exceeds fifteen pages, hard copies are very much appreciated, but are not required. If you will be providing hard copies of transcripts, please do so at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
Electronic or hard copies of the cases cited in your motion/response/memorandum of law upon which you intend to argue at the hearing are appreciated, but not required. If you will be providing copies of cases, please do so at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
Last Minute Filing of Responses, Replies, Case Law, and Memoranda
Judge Clark prefers to review motions, responses, and case law well in advance of the hearing. As such, responses, replies, and memoranda filed on the eve of the hearing are discouraged. In addition, there is a delay of up to three business days between the time a document is e-filed and the time it is posted in the court file (and thus visible to the judge). Please be advised that Judge Clark does not have sufficient time to read an extensive assortment of case law and memoranda submitted at the last moment before the hearing.
Submitting Proposed Orders
Please email all proposed orders, with the case name/style, case number and title of proposed order specified in the subject line of the email, to: Esc.DivM.firstname.lastname@example.org
When preparing a proposed order subsequent to a hearing, an advance copy should be provided to opposing counsel to determine whether there is an objection as to form prior to its submission to the judge. The proposed order should then be provided to the judge with a cover letter or email indicating opposing counsel has approved the form of the order. Opposing counsel must be copied on the cover letter or email. This will result in the proposed order going directly to the judge for consideration/signature. In the event there is a disagreement as to the form of an order, the parties must contact the Judicial Assistant and arrange for a telephone conference with the judge.
All orders must be submitted in MS Word format. When saving and naming orders in MS Word format, please name orders as follows: Case # and Title of Order. Examples: 19CA1234 Order Granting Continuance; 19CA2345 Order Denying SJ; 19CA3456 Order Granting Leave to Amend
The title of all orders must be self-explanatory (i.e., Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Compel; Order Granting Plantiff’s Motion to Amend). No order should simply be titled “Order.”
The proposed order must have substantive language of the ruling on same page as judge’s signature line. Orders that contain only the judge’s signature on the last page should not be submitted.
Immediately above the judge’s signature space, please include the following language:
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida.
Do not include blanks for the judge to fill in the date the order is signed. Orders are signed electronically; the date and time the order was signed will appear immediately below the judge’s signature.
Below the judge’s signature space, please include the words “Copies provided to:” and list the names and email addresses of all persons who are to receive a copy of the order through the e-portal. Please list the names and mailing addresses of all persons who are not registered to receive filings through the e-portal so that we may provide them with a copy of the order by regular mail.
Please do not submit proposed orders prior to the hearing. We do not have the resources necessary to hold and retrieve proposed orders for a pending hearing. We prefer proposed orders to be brought to the hearing or submitted following the hearing as described above.
Orders are required to be submitted within 15 days of the date of ruling, unless otherwise approved by the Court.
Final dispositions, settlements and closing reopened cases
The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure require a final disposition form shall be filed with the Clerk by the prevailing party at the time of the filing of the order or judgment which disposes of the action. See Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.545 and Form 1.998. If the action is settled without a court order or judgment being entered, or dismissed by the parties, the plaintiff or petitioner immediately shall file a final disposition form with the clerk.
When an action is settled and the terms of the settlement provide that the court will retain jurisdiction to enter a final judgment upon failure of the settlement the action should nevertheless be disposed of, without prejudice to enforce the settlement. This may be accomplished by providing an order adopting the settlement, reserving jurisdiction and disposing of the action. A final disposition form must be provided with the proposed order adopting the settlement. The instructions to the final disposition form provide "(J) Disposed by Judge—a judgment or disposition is reached by the judge in a case that is not dismissed and in which no trial has been held. Includes stipulations by the parties, conditional judgments...and any matter in which a judgment is entered excluding cases disposed of by default…"
After an action is disposed, there are many filings which "re-open" the action (e.g. Motions to Compel Fact Information Sheets, Motions for Writs of Possession, Motions for Writs of Garnishment, and Motions to Reschedule Foreclosure Sales). Reopened actions must be closed after the disposition of the matter that re-opened the action. All orders disposing of matters that reopened an action must contain the following, or substantially similar, language: "This disposes of all pending matters. The Clerk is directed to close the action." The court will reject proposed orders disposing of matters that re-opened an action when the proposed order does not contain language closing the action.
Information for Pro Se Litigants (Parties who are not represented by an attorney)
Judge Clark and her judicial assistant, Mr. Sam, are not permitted to give legal advice. “Legal advice” means suggesting things that might be filed, evaluating the sufficiency of information on a form, interpretation of any document, evaluating the conduct of an opposing party or lawyer, and giving an opinion about the likelihood of success of an action in litigation.
Judge Clark will not discuss pending cases with any party outside of a hearing. Mr. Sam cannot take a message pertaining to a pending case from a party, family member, or other person to Judge Clark.
Mr. Sam is not permitted to recommend specific lawyers or advise a party on how to handle the matters pending before the judge.
Mr. Sam does not have the authority to excuse a party from court appearances. Only a judge can grant that request.
Communication with Judge Clark regarding cases assigned to her can take two forms:
1. Written documents filed in the court file (with a copy served on all parties); and
2. Court hearings (including final hearings and trials).
Mr. Sam's responsibility is to schedule hearings and maintain Judge Clark's calendar. Once a motion is filed or the matter is ready to be set for a final hearing or trial, a party may contact Mr. Sam to schedule a hearing. Mr. Sam may communicate regarding potential dates and times for hearings. Mr. Sam is not permitted to engage in discussions regarding the issues in a pending case with anyone for any purpose.
Since Mr. Sam cannot make decisions on disputed matters and cannot communicate to Judge Clark regarding things litigants say about disputed matters, no purpose is served by telling him about disputes.
Resources that may be helpful to parties who are pro se (not represented by an attorney):
Legal Services of North Florida
1741 N. Palafox St.
Pensacola, Florida 32501
Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association – Lawyer Referral Service
260 S. Tarragona Street, Suite 160
Pensacola, FL 32502
The Florida Bar Referral Service
651 E. Jefferson St. Tallahassee, FL 32399
The Escambia County Law Library
M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, FL 32502
Florida Rules of Court Procedure
Escambia County Clerk of Court
Florida Standard Jury Instructions
ADA Notice (required to be included in all Notices of Hearing):
Administrative Order 2015-32, signed by the Chief Judge of the First Judicial Circuit, requires that all notices for court proceedings include the following notice (as amended by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.540) in either Times New Roman or Courier 14 point bold font. Please include this ADA notice at the end of all notices of court appearances (i.e., Notice of Hearing):
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:
Court Administration, ADA Liaison
Escambia County 190 Governmental Center, 5th Floor
Pensacola, FL 32502
Phone (850) 595-4400 Fax (850) 595-0360;
at least 7 days before your scheduled court appearance, or immediately upon receiving this notification if the time before the scheduled appearance is less than 7 days; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.