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I have been sued by a debt collector. I am fighting the case because I do not feel I owe the debt. I want the debt collectors

West Palm Beach, FL |

witness to show up at trial. The rules of civil procedure are invoked. In small claims the court has discretion on whether or not to allow a witness to appear by phone. However I couldn't find anything in the civil rules about whether or not a judge has discretion to allow the plaintiff's sole witness to appear by phone. I thought I had the right to cross examine the witness at trial and it was important for the witness to appear at trial because that way the judge or jury could see his mannerism, facial expressions etc.. is this not true. Can you please give me some direction as to whether it is a rule of evidence or procedure on forcing a sole witness to appear at trial or is there some case where the judge has ruled that the plaintiff has to appear at trial.

Thank you so much.

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Attorney answers 3


Although I can't speak specifically to FL civil procedure rules, most states have very similar rules. You can object to having the witness appear by phone. But ultimately, the issue is in the judges' discretion.

In CO, for example, a party may make a Request of Absentee Testimony (e.g. testify by phone), the other party must object to the request within 3 days. The preference is to have people testify in open court, it not absolutely mandatory and most court rules give the judge the discretion to decide.

In small claims court, the procedure is less formal.


In order to avoid a trial, very often the Debt collector's attorney will file a motion for summary judgment. Unless you have crafted your pleadings very carefully, the decision will be made without a trial. Hope this perspective helps!


You should visit with a qualified consumer attorney in your area. Lots of collectors sue with inaccurate or incomplete information. If there is an error on their pleadings, there may be an FDCPA violation.