In Florida (civil case), if a case management plan has been agreed to, is there a deadline for discovery?
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I agree with my colleague, and concur that you should seek legal counsel to represent you with this impending action in Court. The Court may have ordered a case management plan for one of two reasons. If the matter filed is assigned to the complex civil litigation division, or docket, the Court by rule may require a case management plan not unlike Federal Court. The period of discovery may be established in part based upon the scope of discovery. However, there has also been a recent order issued by the Supreme Court of Florida 20-23, Amendment 12, ordering each Chief Circuit Court Judge of Florida to adopt administrative orders requiring Judges presiding over civil litigation cases subject to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.010 to order case management plans in their respective cases. This order was issued effectively to cycle the significant number of state civil cases pending and or filed in Florida. This administrative order is passed down by the Chief Civil Court Judge placing specific timelines to complete most phases of litigation, i.e. pleading stage (complaint/answer), discovery, mediation, pre-trial motions/objections, and trial. These timelines to complete discovery may be specific by administrative order, but the practice thereof remains subject to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Judge in your case may have ordered a case management plan for either of the two above reasons. However, in either circumstance, and generally speaking, if your case is litigated in County or Circuit Court, you should seek the engagement of a qualified civil litigator/trial attorney to ensure effective representation. While case law states that Courts should afford deference to deciding cases on its merits rather than procedural technicalities, I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed, heard, or even experienced Courts granting judgments against pro se litigators because they simply do not have the training or experience following procedural rules. Attorneys in Florida have all been licensed by obtaining a J.D. from an accredited law school; however, mastery of procedure is achieved through practical practice of law, not education.
I hope that this helps.
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Discovery deadlines will depend on the type of case, local procedure and any Orders issued in the case that specify a deadline for discovery. Normally a Case Management Plan will include discovery deadlines. If you don't find it from your reading of the plan, it's time to sit down with an attorney and get his/her take on the status of your case. While individuals posing this type of question have normally concluded that they can handle their case without an attorney and nothing the attorneys who respond to question in this forum can say, will convince a pro se litigant otherwise, if your case is complex enough to need a Case Management Plan, it's time to hire an attorney to represent you, or the most likely outcome an any case plan is that you will lose, not on the merits of your claim or defense, but because a pro se litigant doesn't have the expertise or knowledge necessary to pursue the case on his or her own (any more than a patient needing surgery has the ability to perform surgery on him or herself.
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