By Mike Hamilton, J.D.
What has become a common trend of late, Florida has joined 30 other states in adopting rules that specifically address e-discovery issues. Starting in September, Florida’s new e-discovery rules will go into effect within its state courts. Home to 16 Fortune 500 corporations and 93,000 lawyers, Florida has revamped its rules of civil procedure to standardize guidelines to make e-discovery less costly and promote greater e-discovery education among judges and attorneys.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) has served as a template for states wishing to incorporate their own e-discovery amendments. Florida on the other hand, while taking bits and pieces from the FRCP, diverged from the federal rules in several key areas. Below are some of the key provisions in the amended Florida rules of civil procedure (to read the amendments in its entirety, click here).
- Discovery includes Electronically Stored Information (ESI): Expressly authorizes discovery of ESI
- Meet & Confer Optional: Unlike under the FRCP, which require that meet and confers take place under all circumstances, the Florida rules specify that only within complex litigation do the rules “require the parties in a complex civil case to address the possibility of an agreement between them addressing the extent to which electronic information should be preserved.”
- Proportionality: Similar to the FRCP, parties may object to discovery requests, but the moving party must prove “the information sought or the format requested is not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost.” Courts also have the right to shift costs between parties.
- E-Discovery Sanctions: Absent exceptional circumstances, a court may not impose sanctions on a party for failing to provide electronically stored information that was lost as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system.
Florida e-discovery attorney Ralph Losey recently spoke with the E-Discovery Beat and addressed the rule changing process. Listen to the full recorded interview here.
Mike Hamilton, J.D. is a Sr. E-Discovery Analyst at Exterro, Inc., focusing on educating Exterro customers, prospects and industry experts on how to solve e-discovery issues proactively with technology. His e-discovery knowledge, legal acumen and practical experience give him a valuable perspective on bridging the gap between IT and legal teams. You can find him on Google+, Twitter and Linkedin.