The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of the Middle District of Florida, and existing case law cover only some aspects of civil discovery practice. Many of the gaps have been filled by the actual practice of trial lawyers and, over the years, a custom and usage has developed in this district in frequently recurring discovery situations.
Originally developed by a group of trial lawyers, the Civil Discovery Handbook for the United States District Court Middle District of Florida, updated in 2001 and again in 2015, attempts to supplement the rules and decisions by capturing this custom and practice. This handbook is neither substantive law nor inflexible rule; it is an expression of generally acceptable discovery practice in the Middle District of Florida. It is revised only periodically and should not be relied on as an up-to-date reference regarding the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules for the Middle District of Florida, or existing case law. Judges and lawyers practicing in the Middle District of Florida should regard the handbook as highly persuasive in addressing discovery issues.
Parties who represent themselves will find the handbook useful as they are also subject to the rules and court orders and may be sanctioned for non-compliance. Judges may impose specific discovery requirements in civil cases by standing order or case-specific order. This handbook does not displace those requirements, but provides a general overview of discovery practice in the Middle District of Florida.