Responding to Discovery
Discovery is an important, but time-consuming part of litigation. To make the process move smoothly, we have created this guide for our clients on how to prepare responses to discovery requests we receive from other parties.
What is Discovery?
Discovery the general term for the stage in litigation where each party can send requests for information to the other parties or other people who might have information related to the case. The types of discovery requests we may receive or that we may send to other parties are Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories (written questions about the lawsuit), and Requests for Admissions (written statements that the other party requests that you either admit or deny). Additionally, each party may request to conduct depositions, which is an opportunity to ask the opposing party questions under oath before trial. Parties may also request an inspection of any building or property that is subject to the lawsuit.
Discovery identifies the claims and defenses made by the parties and to help narrow issues for the court as many issues are often undisputed. The standards for what information can be requested in a discovery request are very lenient, and the basic rule is that parties can ask for any information that is relevant or might lead to the discovery of relevant information. As such, these requests may seem excessive or not directly related to the litigation, but for the most part, you are expected to answer the questions or provide the documents.
How can I view the requests we receive?
When we get a discovery request from another party, we will send you an email that contains a link to a spreadsheet containing each request and any instructions that came along with the requests. Before sending this link, we will review the discovery requests to determine questions you may not be required to answer and will indicate this on the spreadsheet. If we have not indicated otherwise, you must respond to each request.
How do I respond to Requests for Admissions or Interrogatories?
When you access the spreadsheet, you will see that each request is listed in a blue box with a white box below for your responses. Please please review each request and provide your answers to the questions in the white boxes. You need not save the spreadsheet as it will automatically save your changes as you go along.
Once you have completed the responses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know they are complete. We will then prepare the formal responses. After we prepare the final responses, we will review your responses for any information that needs to be clarified, or that should not be disclosed to opposing counsel due to a privilege or other objection.
The final step before sending these to opposing counsel will be for you to sign the discovery responses. Usually, we can send you an e-sign version that you can sign on a computer, smartphone or tablet. There are some attorneys, however, who insist on physical signatures and it is usually easier to comply with their request than to spend time and money fighting over a signature. As such, we will let you know if a physical signature is required. If a physical signature is required, you can either stop by our office to sign the requests, or I can email you a copy to print, sign, and mail back to our office.
How do I respond to Requests for Production?
We will send the requests for admission to you in an editable spreadsheet. When you locate the requested documents, you can upload a copy for our firm by going to www.rickdavislegal.com/docs. For more information on how to upload documents using this website, please visit http://rickdavislegal.com/using-dropbox-to-send-us-files/.
We have uploaded the documents you provided to our office into the “Documents Received from Client” folder so you can review what we have in our file. You need not provide us with new copies of any document we already have in our office; however, please do not assume we have a document if it is not in this folder.
This link can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet, or computer with a copy of the documents you wish to provide. If you have text messages with the other parties to this case or that otherwise respond to a discovery request or if you have photos or videos on your phone that you would like to share, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to provide this information at http://rickdavislegal.com/sharing-text-messages-through-dropbox/.
If you have physical documents and would prefer not to scan them, you can either mail any responsive documents to our office or bring them by at your convenience. We will then scan the documents and create electronic copies for the discovery responses and can either return your originals after scanning or we can hold them until the end of the case.
If you have emails that are relevant to your case, you can either download PDF or MSG copies of the emails and upload them to the Dropbox. In the alternative, you can forward emails to my assistant, Erin, at email@example.com and she can upload them for you.
Once you have uploaded all documents, we ask that you send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. This will help us to know when you are finished versus when you have uploaded some documents with more to follow.
How much time do I have to respond?
As you can see, there are quite a few steps we must complete before we can submit the final responses to the other side. Therefore, please try to provide your responses as soon as possible, and no later than one week from when we send you the request. If you cannot respond in this timeframe, I ask that you please contact our office as soon as possible so we can seek an extension from the other side on our time to respond to the discovery requests. Please note that if we do not respond before the deadline, the judge may rule that we have admitted the requests for admission or he may order you to pay attorney fees for the other side’s attorney. Therefore, it is important that we try to respond to these requests quickly.
We appreciate your assistance with preparing responses to discovery requests, if you have any questions about your case, the discovery or anything else, please contact us. If you prefer to set a time to come in and discuss these requests, we would be happy to meet with you. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (913) 283-8300, or you can schedule an appointment online at www.rickdavislegal.com/appointments.