Frequently Asked Questions Regarding

Remote Video Depositions

Under the Florida Rules of Court and the Code of Civil Procedure (“Florida Rules”)

Does Florida allow for depositions by video conference?

Florida allows a court, on motion, to allow telephonic depositions. See Rule 1.310(b)(7). (Selections from the rules are reprinted at the end of these Frequently Asked Questions.) Counsel desiring a remote video deposition should therefore move for a court order broad enough to cover the circumstances of a remote video deposition.

Before whom may a remote video deposition taken?

Depositions within the United States may be taken before any notary public or judicial officer or before any officer authorized by Florida statute to take acknowledgments or proofs of execution of deeds, or by any person appointed by the court in which the action is pending. See Rule 1.300(a). Under Rule 1300(c), the parties may stipulate that the deposition be taken by any person.

This Rule also grants parties the power to stipulate as to the manner of the deposition.

May the presiding officer of a remote video deposition be an employee of, or otherwise associated with counsel for a party?

Consistent with the rules of many states, the Florida rules have a disqualification for interest provision. However, the Rule explicitly allows the parties to stipulate to a waiver of this provision. See Rule 1.300(d).

May a presiding officer participate remotely in a deposition?

There is no express requirement that the presiding officer be co-located with the deponent.

In a remote deposition, who may swear in the deponent?

Rule 1.310(c) specifies that, if a deposition is taken by telephone, the witness must be sworn in by a person co-located with the witness. Again, counsel should consider the possibility of a stipulation or court order to address this and similar issues.

Do Florida rules expressly permit video recording of depositions?

Fla. R. Civ. P. Rule 1.310(b)(4) allows recording a deposition by “videotape,” without court leave or stipulation, subject to certain notice requirements.

Must a “court reporter” or any other stenographer be present during a deposition recorded by audiovisual means?

Unlike most states, Florida requires that a videotaped deposition also be recorded stenographically. However, Florida allows the parties to waive this requirement by stipulation. See Rule 1.310(b)(4)(b). Florida does not require that the stenographic recording be converted to a transcript.

Selections from Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

RULE 1.300.

PERSONS BEFORE WHOM DEPOSITIONS MAY BE TAKEN

(a) Persons Authorized. Depositions may be taken before any notary public or judicial officer or before any officer authorized by the statutes of Florida to take acknowledgments or proof of executions of deeds or by any person appointed by the court in which the action is pending.

….

(c) Selection by Stipulation. If the parties so stipulate in writing, depositions may be taken before any person at any time or place upon any notice and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions.

(d) Persons Disqualified If the parties so stipulate in writing, depositions may be taken before any person at any time or place upon any notice and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions.

RULE 1.310.

DEPOSITIONS UPON ORAL EXAMINATION

….

(b)Notice; Method of Taking; Production at Deposition If the parties so stipulate in writing, depositions may be taken before any person at any time or place upon any notice and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions.

(4) Any deposition may be recorded by videotape without leave of the court or stipulation of the parties, provided the deposition is taken in accordance with this subdivision.

(A) Notice.A party intending to videotape a deposition must state in the notice that the deposition is to be videotaped and must give the name and address of the operator. Any subpoena served on the person to be examined must state the method or methods for recording the testimony.

(B) Stenographer. Videotaped depositions must also be recorded stenographically, unless all parties agree otherwise.

(C) Procedure.At the beginning of the deposition, the officer before whom it is taken must, on camera: (i) identify the style of the action, (ii) state the date, and (iii) swear the witness

(D) Custody of Tape and Copies.The attorney for the party requesting the videotaping of the deposition must take custody of and be responsible for the safeguarding of the videotape, must permit the viewing of it by the opposing party, and, if requested, must provide a copy of the videotape at the expense of the party requesting the copy.

(E) Cost of Videotaped Depositions. The party requesting the videotaping must bear the initial cost of videotaping.

(7) On motion the court may order that the testimony at a deposition be taken by telephone. The order may prescribe the manner in which the deposition will be taken. A party may also arrange for a stenographic transcription at that party’s own initial expense.

(c) Examination and Cross-Examination; Record of Examination; Oath; Objections. … The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken must put the witness on oath and must personally, or by someone acting under the officer’s direction and in the officer’s presence, record the testimony of the witness, except that when a deposition is being taken by telephone, the witness must be sworn by a person present with the witness who is qualified to administer an oath in that location. The testimony must be taken stenographically or recorded by any other means ordered in accordance with subdivision (b)(4) of this rule. If requested by one of the parties, the testimony must be transcribed at the initial cost of the requesting party and prompt notice of the request must be given to all other parties. All objections made at time of the examination to the qualifications of the officer taking the deposition, the manner of taking it, the evidence presented, or the conduct of any party, and any other objection to the proceedings must be noted by the officer on [sic] the deposition. ….