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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I am the plaintiff in a small claims matter in the state of

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I am the plaintiff in a small claims matter in the state of Florida. At the pretrial hearing the judge invoked Florida Rules of Civil Procedure as opposed to small claims rules. An order was drafted by the defendant's attorney stating same. Both the Defendant and I proceeded as if we were now under the F.R.C.P. However, the judge has not yet signed the order, but both the defendant and I proceeded as if we were under F.R.C.P. Certain events have occurred that would now negatively impact me if we were found not to be under operating under the F.R.C.P. Could the judge just act as if he never made the pronouncement at the pretrial and just not sign the order. Is this not judicial misconduct?

Thank you for your question.

A "bench order" or an oral order from the judge is effective when made without necessity of signing a written order. If the judge now decides to change his mind and go back to proceeding under the small claims rules, this is within his discretion unless there is something arbitrary and unfair about the decision (in which case it would be an abuse of discretion and would be reason for overtturning the judge's decision on appeal).

The judge would not just "act" as if he never ordered that the case proceed under the civil procedure rules. He would need to actually order that the proceeding go forward under the small claims rules.

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Best Regards,
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to know.

Great! Let me know if you need anything else.

Good Luck!