Discovery is the investigative phase of preparing for a lawsuit. It takes place before a trial begins and outside of the courtroom, usually involving depositions that can occur face-to-face or remotely with video conferencing technology . It’s common for clients to have questions about what happens during discovery and what they will need to reveal about their case. Here are the answers to some common questions about the discovery process.
What information is shared during discovery?
Generally, any information that is relevant to the case, even if only tangentially, has to be provided to the opposing side during discovery, if it is requested. Only information that is legally protected or privileged is exempted. This information may include anything a witness saw, heard, or said that is relevant to the case; the identity of anyone who may have additional information about the case; and any documents that relate to the dispute. Only information that was obtained through privileged conversations, such as between husband and wife or lawyer and client, is excluded from discovery. In some cases, information that violates someone’s privacy, such as information about health or sexual orientation, is exempt as well. Sometimes, the court may require that information be disclosed during discovery but may bar the other side from sharing it and leave it out of the court record to protect confidential or private information.
How is information obtained during discovery?
Depositions are part of most discovery processes. They can happen in a central location in person, or they may be conducted via video conferencing. A court reporter will record the deposition as the attorneys question witnesses to obtain information. Interrogatories are similar to depositions, except that the questions are written, but answers are still given under oath. The attorneys may also ask for specific evidence and request admission of certain facts so that the two sides don’t need to argue about basic, agreed-upon information.
Pulone Reporting Services can make your discovery process easier with conference room rentals, legal transcription, and court reporting in Palo Alto, California and the Silicon Valley area. To schedule one of our services, please call (408) 280-1252.