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In re Amendments To The Florida Rules Of Civil Procedure-2019 Regular-Cycle Report.

Supreme Court of Florida

December 5, 2019

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE-2019 REGULAR-CYCLE REPORT.

          Original Proceeding - Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

          Ardith Michelle Bronson, Chair, and Scott Michael Dimond, Past Chair, Civil Procedure Rules Committee, Miami, Florida; and Joshua E. Doyle, Executive Director, and Mikalla Andies Davis, Staff Liaison, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner

          Kurt E. Alexander of Rigdon Alexander & Rigdon, LLP, Merritt Island, Florida; and Eleni Blumenfeld-James of Aderant, Culver City, California, Responding with comments

          PER CURIAM.

         We have for consideration The Florida Bar's Civil Procedure Rules Committee's (the Committee) regular-cycle report of proposed amendments to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.140(b). We have jurisdiction[1] and adopt the majority of the Committee's proposals.

         BACKGROUND

         The Committee proposes amendments to rules 1.090 (Time); 1.350 (Production of Documents and Things and Entry Upon Land for Inspection and Other Purposes); 1.380 (Failure to Make Discovery; Sanctions); 1.442 (Proposals for Settlement); 1.510 (Summary Judgment); 1.540 (Relief from Judgment, Decrees, or Orders); 1.610 (Injunctions); 1.650 (Medical Malpractice Presuit Screening Rule); 1.730 (Completion of Mediation); 1.830 (Voluntary Binding Arbitration); forms 1.902 (Summons); 1.923 (Eviction Summons/Residential); 1.984 (Juror Voir Dire Questionnaire); 1.996(a) (Final Judgment of Foreclosure); 1.996(b) (Final Judgment of Foreclosure for Reestablishment of Lost Note); and Appendix I-Standard Interrogatories Forms, form 1 (General Personal Injury Negligence-Interrogatories to Plaintiff), and form 2 (General Personal Injury Negligence-Interrogatories to Defendant). The Committee also proposes new rule 1.535 (Remittitur and Additur) and new form 1.952 (Proposal for Settlement). Consistent with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.140(b)(2), the Committee published its proposals for comments prior to filing them with the Court. The Committee received one comment concerning proposed new form 1.952 (Proposal for Settlement), but the Committee declined to revise its proposal. The Board of Governors of The Florida Bar unanimously approved all the Committee's proposals. After the Committee filed its report, the Court published the proposals for comments. The Court received two comments. One comment suggested a revision to proposed new rule 1.535 (Remittitur and Additur). The other addressed the proposed amendments to rule 1.442 (Proposals for Settlement). After considering the comments, the Committee revised proposed new rule 1.535 but declined to revise the proposed amendment to rule 1.442.

         AMENDMENTS

         After considering the Committee's proposals, the comments thereon, and the Committee's response, we adopt the majority of the Committee's proposals. We adopt proposed new rule 1.535 (Remittitur and Additur) with some modifications. We decline, at this time, to amend rule 1.442 (Proposals for Settlement) and to adopt proposed new form 1.952 (Proposal for Settlement). We discuss the more significant amendments below.[2]

         Subdivision (b)(1) (Failure to Comply with Order) of rule 1.380 (Failure to Make Discovery; Sanctions) is amended to allow courts to find a deponent in contempt if he or she refuses to obey a court order directing the deponent to produce documents.

         Subdivision (a) of new rule 1.535 (Remittitur and Additur) requires a party to serve a motion for remittitur or additur within the time provided in rule 1.530(b) and requires the motion to specify the applicable law that is the basis of the motion, the amount the movant contends the verdict should be, and either the specific evidence that supports the amount stated or a statement of the improper elements of damages. Subdivision (b) of the new rule, which we have revised, requires that if a motion for remittitur or additur is granted, the court must state the specific statutory criteria relied on when granting the motion. Finally, subdivision (c) of the new rule provides that any party that is adversely affected by an order granting remittitur or additur may reject the award and elect a new trial on the issue of damages only within fifteen days of such order.

         Subdivision (b) (Mistakes; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence; Fraud; etc.) of rule 1.540 (Relief from Judgment, Decrees, or Orders) is amended to clarify that the term "judgment" includes final "orders" for purposes of rule 1.540(b)(4).

         Rule 1.610 (Injunctions) is amended to provide that if an order granting a temporary injunction fails to provide a timeframe within which the bond must be posted, the bond shall be posted within five days of entry of the order setting the bond.

         Form 1.984 (Juror Voir Dire Questionnaire) is amended to include a new paragraph 6 that asks the level of education of the juror. The rest of the paragraphs ...


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