Understanding the Discovery Process In a Litigation Case

Discovery is the process of fact-finding in a legal case. It typically is required in most types of litigation. Both parties need to gather important information and learn essential details that will build their case. The key to successful resolution of a case is to ensure that you have all the pertinent details. Only then can a complete and proper conclusion be reached. Understanding the discovery process is the first step in starting litigation.

Interrogatories and Requests for Admission

Interrogatories are written questions regarding the details of the case. Questions may be broad or detailed. These documents are utilized as one of the ways of obtaining information in a case. The questions must be answered honestly, and the interrogatories may be admitted into evidence in the case. You and your attorney should review the questions and answers together. If some questions are unfair, your lawyer will object to them.

Documents Must Be Provided in Discovery

Documents that include details of the case must be provided as part of discovery. Documents may include written contracts, emails, computer files, and other items. There may be many documents that relate to the case. These must be shared between parties before the case moves forward. Hearings will be set during which time the attorneys may request information through depositions and other methods.

Evidence Spoliation

Parties who know there is a dispute have a duty to preserve evidence.  Sometimes laptops are “lost” or documents are “misplaced.”  Other times, something is repaired (like a car or a building) before the other side has a chance to investigate.  These situations can create an argument that evidence was destroyed and that can be very damaging to your case.  Follow the rule to preserve evidence and give the other side a chance to investigate before making repairs whenever possible.

Depositions in the Discovery Process

Depositions are legal interviews that are conducted as part of the discovery process. The other party’s attorney will ask questions while a court reporter takes down the deposition. The deposition is designed to provide the other party with important information that is used to develop the case. Your attorney should be present and can be consulted before answering difficult questions. You should spend as much time or more preparing for your deposition as it takes to be deposed.

Other Information about Discovery

Discovery is a legal process that should not be taken lightly. What you say, and the information you provide, will become part of the case. For this reason, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney before you take part in discovery. Both sides will provide useful information through the discovery process. Not all items requested by the opposing attorney are admissible. Your lawyer will take charge of the case, and will work to protect your rights.

Discovery is part of the litigation procedure. When you are involved in a legal case it is advisable to seek representation from a reputable attorney. Contact the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC for a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Understanding the Discovery Process, or any other commercial litigation matters, please feel free to contact Joel E. Sannes at 480.461.5307, or log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.