Florida Estate Lawsuits and Production of Documents
In your Palm Beach inheritance lawsuit, are you seeing the documents you need to make your case? If you are in the middle of an inheritance dispute, are you getting to see the documents necessary to successfully argue your case? Have you seen important bank statements, bank records, medical reports, financial statements, and POA’s? Ask your probate litigation attorney if he or she is filing a request for production of documents to the other side or any party. While the Florida Probate Rules do apply, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure are very important here. There’s a very specific rule, 1.350 of Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure, about requesting and producing documents. You should know what your rights are, and how to get documents through the discovery phase of your inheritance lawsuit. Ask your probate attorney for more information or read the rule in its entirety below.
RULE 1.350 PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND THINGS AND ENTRY UPON LAND FOR INSPECTION AND OTHER PURPOSES
(a) Request; Scope. Any party may request any other party (1) to produce and permit the party making the request, or someone acting in the requesting party’s behalf, to inspect and copy and designated documents, including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, phono-records, and other data compilations from which information can be obtained, translated, if necessary, by the party to whom the request is directed through detection devices into reasonably usable form, that constitute or contain matters within the scope of rule 1.280(b) and that are in the possession, custody, or control of the party to whom the request is directed; (2) to inspect and copy, test, or sample any tangible things that constitute or contain matters within the scope of rule 1.280(b) and that are in the possession, custody, or control of the party to whom the request is directed; or (3) to permit entry upon designated land or other property in the possession or control of the party upon whom the request is served for the purpose of inspection and measuring, surveying, photographing, testing, or sampling the property or any designated object or operation on it within the scope of rule 1.280(b).
(b) Procedure. Without leave of court the request may be served on the plaintiff after commencement of the action and on any other party with or after service of the process and initial pleading on that party. The request shall set forth the items to be inspected, either by individual item or category, and describe each item and category with reasonable particularity. The request shall specify a reasonable time, place, and manner of making the inspection or performing the related acts. The party to whom the request is directed shall serve a written response within 30 days after service of the request, except that a defendant may serve a response within 45 days after service of the process and initial pleading on that defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. For each item or category the response shall state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested unless the request is objected to, in which event the reasons for the objection shall be stated. If an objection is made to part of an item or category, the part shall be specified. When producing documents, the producing party shall either produce them as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall identify them to correspond with the categories in the request. The party submitting the request may move for an order under rule 1.380 concerning any objection, failure to respond to the request, or any part of it, or failure to permit the inspection as requested.
(c) Persons Not Parties. This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for production of documents and things and permission to enter upon land.
(d) Filing of Documents. Unless required by the court, a party shall not file any of the documents or things produced with the response. Documents or things may be filed when they should be considered by the court in determining a matter pending before the court.