Written Discovery – Questions and Answers Once a Lawsuit Starts

Discovery

Either party may engage in “discovery” shortly after a defendant has been served with a lawsuit.  Discovery can be an effective way to learn about the facts of the case and available evidence.  Discovery may occur in several ways:  written discovery, oral discovery (a.k.a. depositions), and physical and mental exams.  This article will discuss written discovery and its purpose.

Written discovery

Parties may use written discovery to ask questions and request documents from the other party.  The main types of written discovery are Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admissions.

Form Interrogatories allow a party to ask common questions from a list of questions provided by the California courts.  The asking party simply checks the boxes of those questions that they want to ask.  This form includes questions about a party’s contact information, witness information and whether certain evidence exists such as video footage.

Special Interrogatories are typically written by a party’s attorney.  These interrogatories ask customized questions specific to the case.  For example, a special interrogatory may ask the dates of a person’s employment or the party’s whereabouts on a specific date.

Request for Production of Documents require a party to provide specific documents and records.  The responding party may either provide copies of these documents or arrange for the other party to make copies at a certain time and place.  Not all records requested are relevant and you should discuss with your attorney which documents need to be produced.

Requests for Admissions ask a party to admit whether certain facts are true in order to limit the facts in dispute.  For example, the parties may agree an accident occurred on a specific day involving specific people.  These Requests can be a cost-efficient way to reduce unnecessary discovery.

Your attorney should formulate a discovery strategy from the start of the lawsuit.  Learning as much as possible about the available evidence will help you make critical decisions during the course of your case.  The experienced attorneys at Chauvel and Glatt can guide you through this process in the most efficient way possible.

Stay tuned for our next post about Depositions in our litigation series.

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