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Disagreements When Coordinating Related Cases


Question:

When the assigned judges disagree on how to coordinate related cases, what should be done?

Answer:

There is no absolute answer to this question, but there is a logical process that should be followed.  Part of a judge’s responsibility according to the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3C(1) is that a judge “should cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.”  The first step then is for the judges to do their best to resolve the matter themselves.  If a legitimate disagreement cannot be resolved by the judges themselves, then they should next refer to a comprehensive administrative order or local rule that anticipates and addresses potential problems and conflicts related to case coordination while taking into account the local judicial culture and the consensus of the circuit’s judiciary to resolve the issue.  If the disputed issue is not addressed by the administrative order, then the matter may be referred to the administrative judge.  Ultimately, the chief judge of each circuit has the authority to resolve these matters pursuant to Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.215.

Background & Analysis