What is Discovery
If you’ve ever been in a lawsuit, chances are you have served the other party, or have been served by the other party, discovery requests. Discovery simply put is the exchanging of relevant information about the case that can help parties decide the best course of action to move forward, to come to an early settlement offer, or to help present the case in trial. If you are served Discovery Requests, you are required to respond to them. Not responding to them can lead to Court enforcement.
Types of Discovery
There are several different types of Discovery that are common in lawsuits:
Request for Disclosure – Disclosures are questions about the basic information of the case. The names of each party of the lawsuit, how you came to your number for damages, the legal theory of your case, any witnesses you might call at trial, etc. The Texas Supreme Court has upheld this Discovery Request and you are required to answer all the questions fully.
Request for Production – Production is the request for emails, photos, texts, written documents, bank statements, etc., anything that can be used as evidence at trial. Both parties in the lawsuit have the right to request Production. Your attorney has the opportunity to object to certain questions. If you are served with Request for Production, your attorney will advise you on how you should best answer those questions.
Request for Interrogatories – These are written questions regarding specific areas of the case that you are required to answer. Depending on the type and intensity of your lawsuit, there is a limit to the number of Interrogatories that you are required to answer. Your attorney has the right to object to these questions and will advise you on how to best respond. For example, under a Level Two Discovery the limit is 25 questions.
Request for Admissions – The purpose of Admissions is to get the party to admit to the accuracy of a statement or to the wrongdoing of something. It is important that these are answered, as not answering can be used by the other side as admitting to all of the questions.
As with all Discovery Requests, they must be answered within thirty days of receipt. Failure to answer them, or to reach an agreement with the other side for an extension (this is generally in the form of a Rule 11 Agreement), can result in the other side filing a Motion to Compel and the Court forcing you to answer.
If you have any questions, Guest & Gray is here to help.