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Senate moves Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act

Senior Editor Regular News

Moving quickly in the first week of session, the Senate voted 37-0 on March 7 to approve the “Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act.”

Sen. David SimmonsSponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee and backed by the Trial Lawyer Section, SB 7006 is a largely ministerial bill designed to make it easier for civil litigants to issue subpoenas across state lines.

Senate Judiciary Chair David Simmons, R-Longwood, told fellow committee members in January that by following the 41 other states that adopted the legislation, Florida could shed the cumbersome, 1920s era “Uniform Foreign Depositions Act” that it first adopted in 1959.

“It has really been insufficient to deal with the issues of all types of discovery that exist in a civil litigation environment,” Simmons said.

Modeled after the Rule of Federal Procedure 45, the new measure would essentially give court clerks the ability to “domesticate” a “subpoena” issued by a “foreign jurisdiction,” according to a Senate analysis.

The goal is to give attorneys the ability to serve a subpoena on an out-of-state witness without hiring a second attorney or obtaining the approval of a second court.

“Anything that can make our litigation process less expensive and more efficient we should all support,” Simmons said.

A companion, HB 783, by Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Bradenton, passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee March 13.