Fla. Stat. § 92.525: A Potential Alternative During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the current travel restrictions and closures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many litigators have run into a common problem: How do I verify interrogatories, affidavits, and other litigation documents without access to an in-person notary?
Fla. Stat. § 92.525 provides a viable alternative to in-person or expensive tele-video notary services. Section 92.525 was passed in 2015 and allows for verification as to the content of documents filed for litigation. The statutory language outlines the required language and format necessary for proper use of Fla. Stat. § 92.525. This statute is most useful in a litigation practice.
It specifically helps when verifying interrogatories or affidavits. Do take note: the use of Section 92.525 is limited to the verification of content. This statute does not usurp traditional notary services for verification of identity.
Another issue that many litigators may face: a client who, due to work-from-home restrictions, is not able to print, sign, and scan the document at issue. However, you can use an electronic signature as a potential workaround.
Fla. Stat. § 668.004 provides that:
“…unless otherwise provided by law, an electronic signature may be used to sign a writing and shall have the same force and effect as a written signature.”
Fla. Stat. § 668.003 (1) defines an electronic signature as:
“…any letters, characters, or symbols, manifested by electronic or similar means, executed or adopted by a party with an intent to authenticate a writing… [a] writing is electronically signed if an electronic signature is logically associated with such writing.”
For certificates of parties and the form of signatures used in court documents, the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration govern.
What Do These Documents Require?
The signatures required on documents by subdivisions (a) [signatures by attorneys] and (b) [signatures of pro se litigants] of this rule may be:
- Original signatures.
- Original signatures that are reproduced by electronic means, such as on electronically transmitted documents or photocopied documents
- An electronic signature indicator using the “/s/”, “s/”, or “/s” [name] formats, authorized by the person signing a document electronically served or filed
- Any other signature format authorized by general law — so long as the clerk where the proceeding is pending has the capability of receiving and has obtained approval from the Supreme Court of Florida to accept pleadings and documents with that signature format.
Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.515.
As there is no specific signature requirement for a handwritten signature under Fla. Stat. § 92.525, an electronic signature should suffice to verify content.
How to Apply Fla. Stat. § 92.525 When You Need a Notary
The application and appropriateness for the use of Fla. Stat. § 92.525 is dependent upon the document being verified, and the area of law for which it is being used. However, where appropriate, Section 92.525 provides an efficient alternative to in-person notarization that has long-term application for the verification of content.
Austin Sherman’s practice focuses on insurance defense, municipal liability, personal injury defense, medical malpractice defense, automotive accident defense, and commercial litigation. Mr. Sherman is a proud Double Gator. While at the University of Florida, Mr. Sherman was a member of Florida Blue Key, Vice-President of the Moot Court Team, Vice-President of the John Marshall Bar Association, Student Government Senate Majority Leader, and Treasurer of Sigma Nu Fraternity. When Mr. Sherman is not working, he enjoys spending time with his, fiancé Aubrey, family, friends, and his black lab Judge.
Originally published on May 1, 2020. Updated February 1, 2023.