What are Discovery Requests?

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Attorney Tom Giannotti is here to explain what discovery requests are. Learn more about the topic here…

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► Hi, I’m Tom Giannotti, attorney with Butler Kahn. Today I want to talk about a question that we’ll get from clients occasionally, and that’s what are discovery requests, or as I like to call it, why do I have to answer all these questions?
► Well, discovery requests are part of the discovery process, and this is just a process that’s designed to make sure that both sides have a fair opportunity to discover information about their case, avoid a trial by ambush. And usually discovery is going to come in two main forms, at least that our clients will see. And that’s written requests and depositions.
► Written requests are going to be what we call interrogatories, requests for production, and sometimes we call it requests for admission. Depositions are just verbal questions and answers under oath, and as are written requests expected to be answered under oath. So these are important. And in the case of written requests, you will most likely need to gather some documents and provide a lot of information, even if some of that may seem irrelevant to your case or intrusive of your privacy. And you’ll probably also be questioned about your written responses later in a deposition.
► In many cases, the other party still has a right to ask for things that aren’t themselves admissible as evidence in your case, so long as they are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. That’s what the rule provides, and it just means that just because what they’re asking for is in itself admissible, if it’s going to lead to something else that’s admissible, then they’re allowed to ask for that thing. So in other words, the rules for discovery are broad, but they’re not without limits. For example, the other side is not entitled to ask for your attorney’s work product or your privileged communications with your lawyer. And just like opposing lawyers who often argue about what evidence gets admitted at trial, lawyers will often argue about what’s the proper scope of discovery?
► Your lawyer may object to the other side of discovery and vice versa. And parties can move the court to compel the production of information if they can’t reach an agreement on what is the proper scope of discovery. And this, particularly when it comes to responding to written requests, is an often tedious, unpleasant process, but it is important. And as lawyers, we don’t want to burden our clients with unnecessary burdens, and it’s especially true for a client who has suffered a debilitating injury or lost a loved one, but again, we need to work with our clients to make sure that our clients are providing complete, truthful, and accurate responses. Hopefully this has been helpful. Thank you for watching.

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