Lawsuits explained – Part 4 of 8
In the entry titled Lawsuits explained Part 3 we looked at the pleadings phase of a business lawsuit in Florida. We next turn to the second phase, which is the discovery phase.
In this phase of a business lawsuit, the parties generally exchange and obtain information and take depositions. The focus of this entry is on depositions and how those work. The next entry will examine how the parties can obtain information in a lawsuit other than by depositions.
The Discovery Phase in a lawsuit
The second phase is the discovery phase in which the parties try to verify what they think they know and learn information of which they were unaware. They do this with the other party or parties in the lawsuit and with parties outside the lawsuit known as third-parties.
The Rules of Procedure that govern civil lawsuits in Florida provide the parties with ways to obtain documents and information in their discovery efforts and, along with past cases or precedent that have interpreted those Rules, place certain limits on those.
Those options include depositions, which are essentially question and answer sessions under oath conducted by a lawyer and recorded by a stenographer also called a court reporter that the party taking the deposition hires and pays. Unlike some of the other discovery options available, a party can use a deposition to obtain or clarify information and to even obtain documents from another party in the lawsuit or from a third-party.
Depositions can also be videotaped in addition to the court reporter and like the court reporter, the party taking the deposition hires and pays for that in most cases. Depositions are coordinated between the parties unless a Judge orders them and prescribes the time and location for them.
Ordinarily however, because lawyers are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner, this is all coordinated very easily between the parties without the need or expense of involving the Judge.
The articles section of the this website contains articles on discovery and depositions and what to do and what not to do in them, but the best preparation is a frank and direct discussion with your counsel before the deposition. There are also some examples on YouTube now of depositions that have gone horribly wrong that make for interesting viewing.
The Palm Beach Business Lawyer Blog
Board Certified expert in Florida business law, David Steinfeld has almost 25 years legal experience.