In the State of Florida, depositions may be taken in preparation for court cases. Depositions are oral interviews, conducted under oath, in order to determine what information a witness will provide in trial. Both plaintiffs and defendants may conduct depositions.
Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1.130 indicates that any party may take a deposition after a legal action commences. A deposition may be taken of any party, including the opposing plaintiff or defendant in a civil lawsuit. Permission of the court, or leave of the court, is not necessary except in certain limited circumstances such as when a defendant is to be deposed by a plaintiff within 30 days of entering an initial pleading and no special circumstances apply.
A party to a court action who wishes to take a deposition must provide reasonable written notice to the person who is going to be deposed. The notice must state the time and place where the deposition will take place, and must include the address of the person being deposed or a description sufficient to identify that person. Depositions are generally taken in person, but the court may order a telephone deposition upon request. The deposition may generally be video recorded without advanced permission of the court, and depositions should also be recorded by a stenographer unless the parties agree otherwise.
Depositions are very important for the development of trial strategy and may also be used for impeaching witnesses, or calling their testimony into question. If a witness provides different testimony when questioned under oath in trial, the statements made during the deposition may be raised.