Rule 1.200 (Pretrial Procedure) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure governs case management conferences and pretrial conferences. The rule provides as follows:
(a) Case Management Conference. --At any time after responsive pleadings or motions are due, the court may order, or a party, by serving a notice may convene, a case management conference. The matter to be considered must be specified in the order or notice setting the conference. At such a conference the court may:
- schedule or reschedule the service of motions, pleadings, and other documents;
- set or reset the time of trials, subject to rule 1.440(c);
- coordinate the progress of the action if the complex litigation factors contained in rule 1.201(a)(2)(A)--(a)(2)(H) are present;
- limit, schedule, order, or expedite discovery;
- consider the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and voluntary exchange of documents and electronically stored information, and stipulations regarding authenticity of documents and electronically stored information;
- consider the need for advance rulings from the court on the admissibility of documents and electronically stored information;
- discuss as to electronically stored information, the possibility of agreements from the parties regarding the extent to which such evidence should be preserved, the form in which such evidence should be produced, and whether discovery of such information should be conducted in phases or limited to particular individuals, time periods, or sources;
- schedule disclosure of expert witnesses and the discovery of facts known and opinions held by such experts;
- schedule or hear motions in limine;
- pursue the possibilities of settlement;
- require filing of preliminary stipulations if issues can be narrowed;
- consider referring issues to a magistrate for findings of fact; and
- schedule other conferences or determine other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action.
(b) Pretrial Conference. --After the action is at issue the court itself may or shall on the timely motion of any party require the parties to appear for a conference to consider and determine:
- the simplification of the issues;
- the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
- the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof;
- the limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
- the potential use of juror notebooks; and
- any matters permitted under subdivision (a) of this rule.
(c) Notice. --Reasonable notice must be given for a case management conference, and 20 days' notice must be given for a pretrial conference. On failure of a party to attend a conference, the court may dismiss the action, strike the pleadings, limit proof or witnesses, or take any other appropriate action. Any documents that the court requires for any conference must be specified in the order. Orders setting pretrial conferences must be uniform throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
(d) Pretrial Order. --The court must make an order reciting the action taken at a conference and any stipulations made. The order controls the subsequent course of the action unless modified to prevent injustice.
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