Opposing counsel set a motion last Friday evening (10/11) for hearing on the uniform motion calendar on Wednesday, 10/16. He did not serve me with a copy of the motion or the notice of hearing. I only became aware of the date as it was on the online docket. I called in to the court on 10/16 and was told that the judge was out sick. However, opposing counsel was not there and had not "signed in".
Today, he apparently set the hearing for next Tuesday, 10/22 at 8:45 a.m. (the online docket merely says "e-filing"). I'm pro se as I cannot afford a lawyer (and there are no pro bono family lawers in Palm Beach county). I live over 1,000 miles away from the court. The rules regarding service are set out in Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.516(b)(2). I have not designated to be served via email. Therefore, he is required to serve me by regular mail and wait 5 days for service to be mail. According to the court's AO regarding setting hearings on the UMC, it appears he was supposed to provide 4 days notice. He has set this on the docket for 4 calendar days from now without serving me, and he did not appear the last time he had this set up. I'm not available at that time as I have a business meeting. Am I required to cancel my meeting at such short notice and call in to the court simply because opposing counsel has taken this whim to put it on the docket? Is there anything I do to get this off the docket? (Please keep in mind that I have extremely little time to do anything AND get it to FL before 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, and that I can't e-file as a pro se litigant.)
I should also add that communicating with opposing counsel is not something I can do to reschedule this. He simply harasses, bullies and threatens me -- even threats of bodily harm have been made to me. Therefore, I have refused to communicate with him in ANY other fashion than by US mail.
As I said, speaking with him office is not possible. It would only result in him harassing me further. I can't fax or email the judge either as they do not allow that, nor can I do so with the clerk of the court as the clerk doesn't accept anything to do with court business I've been told (15th Judicial Circuit Court -- if that helps).
The last time opposing counsel did this (it's something he does frequently), I filed an objection and motion for continuance which I sent by FedEx to both the court and opposing counsel and they arrived the morning of the hearing. I did call in at the appointed time and the judge made me go ahead with the hearing anyway even though she had received my objection/motion. She said since I had seen it on the online docket, I had notice.
So, do you have any other suggestions since I cannot call in on Tuesday morning without having to cancel my meeting and potentially lose my job?
No, unfortunately, I can't. It's too short of notice and a mandatory meeting. I'll lose my job. Remember, I'm only becoming aware of this on Friday afternoon. And this is a brand new job.
I can't call him and won't. I'm a domestic violence victim and he represents my husband. He has done everything in his power to get my contact information and I can't take that kind of risk. He previously had my pleadings stricken for refusal to disclose my new home address and I appealed, my new state became involved as an amicus curiae regarding confidentiality of my address and phone number, and I won the appeal pro se. He shows no fax number on his website or in any of his pleadings. And I cannot and will not email with him again. The last time we engaged in email communication, he (the attorney -- not my husband) harassed me, threatened me with bodily harm, and sent me 25-30 emails per day for days on end. I had to file a police report about him here. The police here advised me to block his email address and change my email address, and not give him my new email address. Since they are my only real sourc of protection here, I did what they advised.
The FL bar advisory line told me I would have no chance of a successful complaint about him as he's opposing counsel and the nature of adversarial litigation and zealous advocacy is that he's allowed to threaten me.
So there's nothing I can send to the court to advise them of what he's done and that I will not be appearing? Are you essentially telling me that I *have* to appear even without ever seeing the motion or receiving *any* notice of it?
Since I can neither fax nor email that, it will not get there until Monday morning if I send it via Fedex. Is that good enough? What do I send them? I can write it, but what do I call it?
Also, what about the fact that he did not appear on the 16th, when he originally had it set? Why does he get the right not to appear then and to simply continue the date without again (a) consulting me or (b) serving me? I have no rights and he has all the rights, it seems.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX this judge isn't going to be at all helpful. She continued to tell me during the last hearing that this case was in Florida so where I live is absolutely none of her concern. She has never read a thing I've written or ruled in my favour. I assume she's not happy she was overturned by the appellate court now.
And just for your information, I HAD to move away from Florida. My husband beat me for years, tried to kill me and was arrested, then turned off water in the house and stole the business, leaving me with no water and no income. I don't drive because of a seizure disorder and had no way to go out and get a job or do anything else. So he drove me away from Florida and this divorce has now been going on for more than 30 months. I have NO rights, none. Due process doesn't exist for me in that court. The judge lets his attorney get away with whatever he wants. As she told me during the last hearing, he's an attorney and a gentleman. I'm neither. I'm just getting as much as I can on the record. I'm pretty sure this will be back in appellate court sooner or later.
So thank you for answering my question and being kind.
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