How Does The Discovery Process Work In A Business Lawsuit?
After a lawsuit is filed, the other side will have to file a responsive pleading. This is a response to the lawsuit. It could be as simple as an answer or something more complicated such as a demurrer or motion to strike in State Court (California), a Motion to Dismiss (Federal Court (FRCP 12(b)), a Motion to Quash Service etc.. Then, we get into what’s called a discovery phase. The discovery phase is a process whereby one party can find out information about the other party that will assist them in their case.
There are different types of discovery.
One option is called interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions asked to the other side or to your business. When responding you must asset any objections within the responses to preserve those responses for trial.
Production of Documents
Another type of discovery is a production of documents request, where one party asks the other party for documents. A document could be a photograph, a video, an email, a letter, a contract, or anything else of the sort. Again, you have a certain time frame to respond. The responses must contain any objections, you must respond that you have the documents, you don’t have the documents, another party has the documents or the documents don’t exist. The actual documents must be produced unless you have a viable objection and you are correct about your objection.
Requests for Admissions
Another popular form of discovery is request for admissions. A request is typically a written statement. One party asks the other party to either admit or deny a set of facts. Again, you have a certain time frame to respond. The responses must contain any objections. If you do not respond with the time frame all the statements are deemed admitted. If you are defendant and it says your floors are unsafe and you do not respond then its deemed admitted that your floors are unsafe.
A very popular but expensive form of discovery is called a deposition. In a deposition, you will give oral testimony that will be recorded by video and/or audio, with a court reporter. Typically, one attorney is asking questions to a party, representative or third party, trying to get more information about the case. Again making objections on the record are important to preserve the objections when in Court. The cost of the Court reporter and videographer can be thousands of dollars.
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