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Discovery



Discovery is the process engaged by either the Plaintiff and/or Defendant in which the initiating party seeks to cause the other party to disclose certain facts or documents which are in his exclusive knowledge or possession. This information is necessary to the party seeking the discovery as part of a cause of action. In many cases, Discovery can alleviate trial all together, which is the primary goal. The most common forms of Discovery are: 1. Interrogatories: A list of questions which must be answered by the Defendant within a certain time frame. Their purpose is to obtain information from the Defendant. An Interrogatory usually attmpts to expand on the Defendant's Answer. For instance, an Answer may deny all allegations of a Complaint (general denial) and nothing more. Interrogatories are helpful in forcing the Defendant to be specific as to any actual defense. 2. Request for Admissions: A series of statements, not questions, drafted and sent to the Defendant to either be admitted or denied. They attempt to more clearly focus the dispute. In many instances, they can undermine a defense if the Defendant admits or denies statements contracting his Answer. 3. Request for Production of Documents: Written request of the Defendant to produce for the record copies of pertinent letters, contracts, checks, etc. which the Defendant has in his possession and which are being relied upon as a defense to the allegations of the Complaint. For instance, if the Defendant states they have paid by check, he would be forced to produce the cancelled check. 4. Deposition: Testimony of key parties in lawsuit which is recorded by a Court Reporter. A transcript is usually made and entered into the record. This transcript of all dialouge between parties present can be used at trial for cross-examination. Often a person will state one thing during deposition and then contradict himself when on the witness stand. This can be helpful. Many times, simply going through the motions of Discovery will resolve the matter. The defendant might realise they have no defense and offer settlement.


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