Hello, I am involved in a small claims case in the state of Florida, Marion County. After Pre-Trial I received paperwork, but it was confusing, it stated I must provide a list of my witnesses and all evidence within 14 days - Must I provide BEFORE the final trial copies of every single piece of my evidence against the plaintiff, or simply a list of what I plan to bring? Please help ASAP!
Debt Collection Attorney
In a small claims action, if you, as the defendant, are planning on presenting evidence, you need to provide that evidence before trial. However, you are entitled to send the same questions and requests to the Plaintiff to find out his/her evidence as well so you can counter it and know what they have. Florida does not like trial by ambush and if you present something at trial that you have not provided to the opposing side, the judge will likely not allow you to use it.
In addition to what Tami (who is a Florida lawyer) has said above, I'd add only that it's often a good idea to check with the clerks of the local small claims courts if you have any procedural questions. Of course, it's the luck of the draw as to whether you'll get one on the phone who's willing to be helpful, but it's worth a call or two to try to find out, because particularly in small claims court, there may be local practices and procedures that vary from one county to the next, and it's best to check with the folks who either will accept the papers you file, or will "bounce" them back to you. And on occasion, they may even give you other helpful hints if you speak nicely and respectfully to them.
Please note that I practice law only in NY. As they say, "Your mileage may vary." Best of luck.