Discovery is a series of questions and requests that one party in a lawsuit sends to another party.

It can seem a bit daunting and complicated at first, and you may have questions as to what it all means and whether you really have to give the other side everything they are asking for. 

Often times, when a person first files a lawsuit they lack the specific evidence needed to prove their case.  The purpose of discovery is to allow both sides to gather the information that they may need to prove their arguments if the case were to go to trial.  Discovery requests must be answered truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.  It is not allowed to withhold documents or information that are properly requested.  However, an attorney can help object to individual questions which are not reasonably likely to lead to relevant information or if the question asks for information that is protected by privilege (such as attorney-client privilege). 

The time period to respond to Discovery Requests is only thirty days, so it is important to get all the requested information to your attorney as soon as possible, so that your attorney can review the answers and documents you have prepared and ensure that they are responsive and appropriate before sending to the opposing side.  If the answers or responses are not sent to the other attorney by the deadline, it can have result in a hearing where the judge may order you to respond in a certain time or you may be deemed to have admitted certain things, which could be detrimental to your case.

The following are the three most common types of Discovery Requests:


Interrogatories are a series of questions which must be answered truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.  These questions may ask you to name people that know about the situation, they might ask you to describe why you feel you are in the right, or they may ask more pointed questions about a particular incident or occurrence.  Your answers to these questions are typically sent to your own attorney first, so that your attorney can review them to ensure they are complete, responsive, and appropriate.

Requests for Production of Documents

Requests for Production of Documents ask that you supply physical or electronic copies of documents, contracts, emails, etc.  You only have to supply the requested documents which are in your possession (or the possession of someone under your control) or that you can reasonably obtain.  You should not be creating any new documents to fulfill these requests.  You should not include any documents which may be privileged, such as an email to or from your attorney regarding the case. 

Requests for Admissions

Requests for Admissions are a serious of questions that you are asked to either admit or deny.  Essentially, it is like a series of true or false questions.  These questions typically consist of questions that will attempt to get you to admit specific elements of the case such as, whether you ran the red light.  If responses to these questions are not sent before the deadline, the courts will deem that you have admitted all of those questions.  This often has serious repercussions to your case, and these questions should be taken seriously.

Call a Sioux City lawyer, an Omaha attorney, or a Sioux Falls lawyer to guide you through the entire process, make sure that you do not miss any crucial deadlines, and ensure you do not provide any information that is protected by privilege. Also be sure to check out our Trial Review blog for more posts like this one! http://blog.goosmannlaw.com/trial-lawyer-on-you-side 


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