Sarasota, FL asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for Florida

Q: Given that Florida is a fact pleading State, is it accurate to state that the Court must hear testimony from plaintiff ?

Throughout more than 3 years of litigation the Court has made Rulings and Judgments based entirely on Plaintiffs Counsel's motions and pleadings, adverse to me, the indigent pro se Defendant. I have not been HEARD, Judicial Bias, Motion for Recusal of Judge?The Plaintiff has never appeared or testified in court, and I lack subpoena power.

2 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: No, it's not always required that the court hear testimony.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Live testimony in Court is normally heard ONLY at the trial of a case (the end stage of the case) or, occasionally, in some kind of evidentiary hearing conducted under special circumstances, such as where testimony is taken to prove the reasonableness of attorney's fees being claimed. In most or all other stages of a case, the Judge can, and often MUST, make rulings WITHOUT taking live testimony. For example, on a motion for summary judgment, the Judge only considers affidavits, transcripts of deposition testimony (taken out of court), and documentary evidence, and litigants must present those materials by a certain time in advance of the hearing (to both the Court and the other side).

Frequently, pro se litigants show up at summary judgment hearings thinking the Judge will hear their side of the story via live testimony and are shocked that the Judge won't allow them to testify and that the Judge rules against them without their testimony - when the Judge has in fact has NO CHOICE but to rule against that pro se litigant who failed to comply with the rules of court. Well, they wouldn't be shocked if they had consulted an attorney about how to handle the proceeding or had read and understood the entire set of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Florida or Federal, depending on which Court the case is in).

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