Gainesville, FL asked in Civil Litigation for Florida

Q: Is it possible to depose parties without suing them? I heard about deposition before action.

I think I might have a cause of action in a complex case. I do not know whom to name as defendants and I want to conduct some discovery before filing complaint. What is the best way to go about it?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Read the entire Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, which you can find on-line. There is a rule allowing for petitioning the Court to allow for presuit depositions. That rule is rarely used, and in my 34 years of litigation practice, I have never used it. First, it costs just as much to file that petition as it would to file a lawsuit. Secondly, the petition must be served with a summons on whatever potential adverse parties you are currently aware of, and those parties must have the opportunity to respond to it, following which you must set up a hearing for the Court to rule on the petition. Thirdly, as long as you know at least one defendant to sue, you can file suit and THEN do discovery to determine who else, if any, to sue (in time to meet the statute of limitations deadline for each defendant). (Then you would follow the rules governing depositions of non-parties.)

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The rule to which Mr. Baron refers can be found here:

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