Going to civil trial in Circuit Court on a contested residential foreclosure action. At trial, do I need to produce copies of and enter into evidence things already in the Court's file, in the docket, such as the complaint and previous orders of the court? Do I need to bring copies of what's in the court file for the Judge at trial? Or is that not necessary because they're already on record?
You don't need to provide copy of the bare pleadings, which it sounds like to what you are referring. So, generally, you don't need to bring copies of the complaint, motions, orders. etc.
HOWEVER, you do need to bring "evidence", which includes copies of any exhibits attached to the complaint, motions, etc. For example, if you are going to introduce copies of checks you sent to pay your mortgage payment (to prove you made on time payments), you will need to be prepared with copies and introduce them into evidence at trial. The trial is your ONE chance to present/defend your case. So even if some evidence may have already been admitted and used in another context (e.g. a motion), you still need to bring it with you at trial and use it accordingly.
No one here can really coach you through a trial. And even the above advice is only general in nature. I wish you the best.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
I agree with Mr. Berkus. Also, you will want to check the clerk’s website for the presiding judge’s preferences or rules for his/her trial docket. Your particular Judge may have additional rules and preferences for conducting trial. And, I must stress Mr. Berkus’ point that this advice is general and no one here can ‘coach’ you through a foreclosure trial. These trials (and many times homeowner’s defenses) are highly particular on the evidentiary front. There are rules regarding how/what/when evidence may be produced and potentially admitted into evidence for the court to consider. I don’t know when your trial date is, but if there is any time, I would advise consulting with an attorney. With the potentially short time frame before trial, it may be a difficult endeavor, but may be very much worth it.
In my opinion, you are facing a difficult obstacle and without the benefit of experienced counsel, you risk everything by proceeding without a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, at least consult with one on an as needed basis. Sorry to hear about your legal dilemma.
The Sarasota Docket is all digital so (theoretically at least) all documents are available. Most judges are quite adept at getting to each document quickly, but you must be prepared to tell them INSTANTLY what number that document is for maximum effectiveness. Also, having each document in your binder for IMMEDIATE reference, and being able to rip it out of your binder and hand to the judge is VERY EFFECTIVE. The Rules of Evidence and a judge's preference determine what actual documents they will want to see and touch physically, and the substantive law here in the 2nd Appellate Circuit is quite specific...you sound as if your case is quite far progressed and you will definitely require an attorney for maximum chance of success.