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Coordinating With Your Opposing Counsel Is Not Only the Right Thing to Do, But it is also a Powerful Tool.

In the very least, it is well established that “a basic element of procedural due process is notice and an opportunity to be heard. Jade Winds Ass'n, Inc. v. Citibank, N.A., 63 So. 3d 819, 822 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) (quoting Shlishey the Best, Inc. v. CitiFinancial Equity Servs., Inc., 14 So.3d 1271, 1273 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009); see also Williams v. Primerano, 973 So.2d 645, 647 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) (“A fundamental requirement of due process is ‘notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties ... and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.’ ”) (quoting Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314, 70 S.Ct. 652, 94 L.Ed. 865 (1950)). Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.080(a) provides: “Unless the court otherwise orders, every pleading subsequent to the initial pleading and every other paper filed in the action, except applications for witness subpoena, shall be served on each party. ...” (emphasis added). Further, rule 1.080(b) explains that when a party is represented by an attorney, “service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party is ordered by the court.Jade Winds Ass'n, Inc. v. Citibank, N.A., 63 So. 3d 819, 822 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) (citing In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Judicial Admin., 126 So. 3d 222 (Fla. 2013)). Florida courts have made clear “the “shall” language confirms that the instruction is mandatory, creating “an obligation impervious to judicial discretion.”” IndyMac Fed. Bank FSB v. Hagan, 104 So. 3d 1232, 1236 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012) (quoting City of St. Petersburg v. Remia, 41 So.3d 322, 326 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)).

This simply means that not only would an attorney be in violation of the rules of professional conduct and local rules in your respective counties throughout the State, but also directly in contravention to the rules of law. I think it would be highly problematic, strategically sound to contest strongly any motions moving forward without coordination where again the local rules requiring coordination for any hearing, the relevant procedural rules, and case law regarding notice to a represented party’s attorney be disregarded. The problems no doubt would be compounded by the fact that such a disregard for the rules and case law is often based on nothing more than an assumption that there is no obligatory mechanism in place. I personally have seen judge’s conduct an impromptu hearing on whether or not the parties actually complied with the coordination attempts, and if after the coordination they in fact spoke to one another in an attempt to resolve the problem before the hearing. Some practitioners appear to actually be certifying their participation in the mandatory process, and yet have no proof to back it up, which can and frequently does, end up in professional problems and perhaps even money coming out of pocket by way of sanctions or some near equivalent. As attorneys, we are all obligated to coordinate with each other as the above cases verify.