July 30, 2019 Top Story

Fact Witnesses Can Be Compensated for Assistance with Case and Discovery Preparation

Florida court rules that professional fact witnesses can bill at their regular hourly rate

By Martha L. Kohlstrand

Lawyers may compensate fact witnesses in professional fields for their time in assisting with a case and discovery preparation, so long as this work is “directly related” to giving testimony in a proceeding, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled.

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In Trial Practices, Inc. v. Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP, the Florida high court held that although it would not permit compensation for all “assistance with case and discovery preparation,” this type of preparation was compensable if it was directly related to the witness preparing for, attending, or testifying at proceedings. ABA Section of Litigation leaders say that even though the decision opens the door wider for fact witness compensation, attorneys should take care when deciding what expenses are and are not compensable.

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