Under Florida law, parties who choose to pursue claims in civil lawsuits must abide by any applicable rules of procedure. This means, in part, that they must either answer discovery requests or set forth a valid objection explaining why they are refusing to answer. Parties that do not willingly respond to discovery requests may be compelled to do so by the courts. In a recent opinion issued in a case involving a boating accident, a Florida district court discussed the parameters of discovery in personal injury cases. If you were hurt in a boat collision, it is advisable to confer with a Florida personal injury attorney about what damages you may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.
The Defendant’s Requests and Motion
Reportedly, the defendant began the subject proceeding pursuant to the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime claims by requesting the right to exoneration and the limitation of liability of all claims arising out of a boating accident in August 2020. The plaintiffs filed answers and affirmative defenses to the claims. The defendant then served discovery requests on the plaintiffs, which the plaintiffs answered.
Allegedly, the defendant contacted the plaintiffs about deficiencies in the discovery responses. The plaintiffs did not respond, and the defendant moved to compel complete responses and requested reasonable attorneys’ fees for the cost of pursuing the motion. The plaintiffs did not respond.
Parameters of Discovery in Federal Cases
Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may obtain discovery about any matter that is relevant to its defense or claim, as long as the information or material sought is not privileged. Further, a party can file a motion to compel the opposing party to respond to discovery requests.
A party moving to compel discovery must first prove the matter requested is proportional and relevant. The opposing party then bears the burden of demonstrating that the requested discovery is unduly burdensome or unreasonable. In the subject case, the defendant requested, among other things, data from one of the plaintiff’s social medial accounts and alleged it had the right to obtain such information as it pertained to damages.
The court explained that social media posts and information may be subject to discovery, as long as it meets the threshold of being relevant to the claims or defenses of the party seeking it and is proportional to the needs of the case. Here, the court found that the defendant’s requests met the threshold and granted the motion. The court ordered the plaintiffs to pay the costs associated with pursuing the motion as well, stating that it was required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when motions to compel are granted.
Speak to a Trusted Florida Attorney
Many people in Florida enjoy recreational water sports, but unfortunately, negligent acts often lead to accidents on the water. If you were injured in a boating accident, it is smart to speak to an attorney about your options for seeking compensation. The trusted Florida lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A., possess the knowledge and resources needed to help you seek just results, and if you engage our services, we will zealously pursue any damages you may be owed. You can reach us at 800-283-7442 or via the online form to set up a meeting.