Florida Supreme Court Issues New Format Requirements for Responses to Written Discovery Requests

Shawn L. Taylor    August 17, 2022

Practitioners follow Florida Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 1.280 and Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.425 when preparing and responding to discovery requests. When reviewing compliance with written discovery requests, courts also look to these rules and others to determine whether responses are sufficient and use the appropriate format. 

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court issued a new rule under the general provisions governing discovery, effective October 15, 2021. The new rule amends Rule 1.280 to require litigants to state the deposition question, interrogatory, or discovery request followed by the answer, objection, or other response when responding to production and admissions requests, written deposition questions, and interrogatories. It falls under a new subdivision (i), titled “Form of Responses to Written Discovery Requests.” 

The full text of the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 1.280(i) is as follows: 

“(i) Form of Responses to Written Discovery Requests. When responding to requests for production served pursuant to rule 1.310(b)(5), written deposition questions served pursuant to rule 1.320, interrogatories served pursuant to rule 1.340, requests for production or inspection served pursuant to rule 1.350, requests for production of documents or things without deposition served pursuant to rule 1.351, requests for admissions served pursuant to rule 1.370, or requests for the production of documentary evidence served pursuant to rule 1.410(c), the responding party shall state each deposition question, interrogatory, or discovery request in full as numbered, followed by the answer, objection, or other response.”  

Penalties for Failing to Comply 

Failure to comply with the new provisions may subject litigants to sanctions and other penalties under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 1.380. These could include an order compelling discovery responses that comply plus awarding filing expenses for the motion seeking compliance/sanctions.  

If the noncompliant party does not correct the responses after being ordered to do so, it could be subject to any combination of the following:  

  • Contempt of court order 
  • Order that the fact in question establishes the claim of the party obtaining the order  
  • Order to prevent the noncompliant party from supporting or opposing claims or defenses 
  • Prohibiting the noncompliant party from introducing designated matters into evidence 
  • Striking pleadings or stay orders until there’s compliance 

The changes for practitioners will likely include revisions to standard operating procedures to include written discovery request(s) with response(s). This may also lead to a request from respondents’ attorneys for written discovery in Word or .doc format to make it easier to include the written discovery requests in their response.  

tags: Compliance, Florida, Legislation


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