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Mark P. Stopa, Esq.
September 14, 2011Honorable Michelle D. SiscoCircuit Court Judge800 East Twiggs Street, Room 506Tampa, FL 33602RE: Bank of America. N.A. v. Rodriguez;Hillsborough County Case No. 10-CA-2713Your Honor:I am in receipt of your September 9, 2011 Order, wherein you granted Plaintiff’s Motionfor Extension of Time to file an Amended Complaint,
and without hearing. Lest therebe no misunderstanding, I have no qualms about this Order being entered
and withouthearing, as an extension of time is a ministerial act that did not need a hearing. However, withall due respect, I am troubled at how you hand-wrote on the Order that Plaintiff “has sixty (60)days from the date of this Order to file an Amended Complaint.” An extension of time isreasonable. But sixty days?Here’s what troubles me. In recent months, i.e. since the senior judge system ended,circuit judges in Hillsborough have been very assertive about their desires to move cases along,often adjudicating motions without hearings, sometimes even threatening sanctions againstdefense lawyers and homeowners. By way of example, it is not uncommon for me, when amotion to dismiss is denied, to see a judge curtly say I have ten days to answer, acting as if I’msomehow delaying, even though the motion had arguments that have been granted dozens of times in similar cases. I’m not saying you’ve done that, or that this happened in this case, but, asa general matter, this is the dynamic now in place in the Hillsborough courts, and in light of recent judges’ meetings, I trust you realize what I mean.As such, and given the dynamics here, I am, respectfully, troubled at how cavalier theCourt was in granting a 60-day extension of time to file an Amended Complaint. Let’s put it thisway – I’m confident that if the Motion to Dismiss were denied, then this Court would never havegiven me 60 days to file an Answer. Heck, I wouldn’t even have asked for 60 days.Respectfully, if I’m not being given 60 days to file an Answer (which is far more time-consuming than drafting an amendment to a complaint that has already been drafted), then whyshould a Plaintiff be given 60 days to file an Amended Complaint?