After an attorney files a lawsuit, the trial won’t take place for perhaps 18 months or even longer, depending how full the court’s trial calendar is. During these months, the attorneys for both sides will undertake what is referred to as formal Discovery. The Discovery rules essentially enable each side to find out the evidence and information known to the opposing side.
Prior to the adoption of modern Discovery rules over 50 years ago, many cases were resolved by “trial by ambush.” That is, both sides would show up on the first day of trial not knowing what to expect in terms of the evidence that would shortly be introduced by the opposing side. Not surprisingly, such trials often descended into chaos.
The reforms brought about by modern Discovery rules now give each side the right to request all the evidence and other information known to the opposing side.
For a more detailed explanation of this process, contact a licensed estate litigation lawyer Coeur d’Alene ID residents can get help from for their legal matters.
These Discovery tools include:
- Interrogatories – These are questions which must be answered, under oath, by the opposing party. Interrogatories can ask for information about such things as the names and addresses of witnesses, a description of the accident or harm claimed in the lawsuit, and any other information arguably relevant to a case.
- Requests for Production – These are requests for the opposing party to produce physical items, usually copies of records such as medical records, police reports, prior years tax returns, and any other documents arguably relevant to case.
Requests for Admission are a type of discovery, although some courts do not technically consider them as discovery tools. However, they can be a powerful tool in prosecuting or defending a lawsuit.
Each side is allowed to send the opposing party a set of statements of facts which must be answered within 30 days. The following are examples of Requests for Admission:
— Admit that at the time of the collision the defendant’s motor vehicle was driving over 70 miles per hour.
— Admit that the plaintiff’s wages for the past five years never exceeded $30,000 per year.
— Admit that the plaintiff contractor did not have a valid contractor’s license at the time the plaintiff built the defendant’s home.
The advantage of sending Requests for Admission is two-fold.
- It enables one side to see what issues of fact are going to be contested by the other side at trial.
- Even if the opposing side wins the lawsuit, if that party ‘Denied’ a Request for Admission that turns out to be proven true at trial, the denying party must pay all of the costs incurred in proving that the denied fact was actually true.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bendell Law Firm PLLC for their insight into finding an attorney.