What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process in litigation where one party “discovers” any relevant evidence that the other party may know or own. Written discovery is written requests or questions to the opposing party. The opposing party then provides written responses to these questions. Written discovery is comprised of interrogatories, requests for admissions and requests for production of documents.
Requests for Admissions
Requests for admissions are requests for the opposing party to admit various facts concerning the case. These are most effective for narrowing down the issues of a case and determining which facts are in dispute. Generally, a well written set of requests for admissions can narrow down the disputed facts and issues to two or three.
Interrogatories are written questions to the opposing party that allows the requesting party to learn what the other party knows. The requesting party can find out the opposing party’s recollection of the accident or incident. The requesting party can ask the opposing party about any witnesses or reports for the accident. A well written set of interrogatories can able the requesting party to discover everything the opposing party knows about the case generally, and the specific disputed facts of the litigation.
Requests for Production
Requests for production of documents can be the most useful written discovery tool in lawsuits. These requests allow a party to receive relevant documents that the opposing party has control over. In product liability cases, this can be extremely helpful. An effective set of requests for production can obtain accident reports, accident videos, product designs, internal company emails, documentation of similar accidents and other documents related to liability issues.
General Discovery Issues
Written discovery works both ways, Defendant’s routinely serve written discovery on Plaintiffs. It is important to understand the process and justification for written discovery. It is also important that parties respond to the written discovery fully and truthfully. Parties that do not can be sanctioned and more importantly, abusing the discovery process causes a breakdown in our judicial system.