Civil Discovery Process FAQ
What Is The Civil Discovery Process?
After filing the lawsuit, there will be an initial case management conference ("CMC"), and a lengthy period for civil discovery.
Discovery can be broken down into two items:
- Written discovery.
- Oral questioning at deposition.
During either type of discovery, the parties are allowed to ask questions that may be objectionable in court. The reason for court allowing these "fishing expeditions" is because even hearsay evidence could lead to a live witness or other evidence that would is admissible in court. This process means both sides get to ask each other in person and written questions.
Parties are also allowed to demand documents and things are produced for inspection and copying. If one side feels like the interview process is not being satisfied, a motion to compel and for sanctions may become filed when parlay and negotiations fail to bear fruit.
As noted, depositions are often taken as well during this process. During this process, each side gets to submit oral questions to witnesses in person, under penalty of perjury. Once the interview process is over, additional items or witnesses may be subpoenaed if necessary. Sometimes the deposition is video recorded.
Typically, motions for summary judgment/adjudication will get filed after or during discovery. Discovery is a vital part of the personal injury claims process. Without it, the plaintiff will almost never be able to prove his or her burden of each and every element of the case.