Christmas Party? Bah Humbug.
On Friday, December 6, 2013, Stopa Law Firm had its annual Christmas party. I took the staff to Busch Gardens for the day. The event was planned months in advance, with the calendar blocked off for all attorneys and staff.
Unfortunately, in foreclosure-world, judges sometimes sua sponte set hearings and CMCs over which we have no input. Hence, even though we blocked off the calendar for that day, two hearings were set for December 6, 2013. One of those was set by a Tampa judge who, when I alerted him to the previously-scheduled Christmas party, graciously reset the CMC for a different date. That courtesy was much appreciated, and it speaks to the professionalism exhibited by the judiciary in the Tampa area.
A second CMC was set by a judge in Volusia County. In that case, I filed a similar motion to reschedule, alerting the Court to the previously-scheduled Christmas party. Without a hearing, the court’s staff advised my office that the motion had been denied and our in-person appearance was required on December 6.
Convinced the court did not realize the facts, I took a few minutes and drafted this, more comprehensive, Emergency Motion to Continue Hearing or Appear Telephonically. I explained how the party had been planned months previously, that the Court gave no input on the CMC hearing date (set with just a few weeks notice), and that it would be unfair to require an attorney from my firm to miss the Christmas party on such facts. Alternatively, I argued that we should be allowed to appear by phone because the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration require phone appearance for hearings of 15 minutes or less absent “good cause.”
This is the Order I received in response.