Litigation 101 for eDiscovery Tech Professionals: Vehicles for Discovery
By: Jane Gennarelli
November 28, 2012
** This blog series is intended to introduce new eDiscovery professionals to the litigation process and litigation terminology. Click here, here, here, here, here and here to go to the first six posts in the series.**
Discovery is the process by which the parties in a lawsuit exchange information that’s relevant to the case before the trial. The goal is that both sides have equal access to the facts. Discovery is very often the most time consuming and expensive part of a lawsuit, especially when large volumes of eDiscovery are involved.
The vehicles by which the parties request and exchange information in the discovery process are:
- Admissions: A party in a lawsuit can submit a list of facts and ask the other side to admit to or deny each. This is aimed at saving time and money: neither side needs to prove in court the facts on which both parties agree.
- Interrogatories: These are written questions submitted by a party in a lawsuit to the opposing party. They must be responded to in writing. They are aimed at getting information on facts that are relevant to the case.
- Depositions: This is testimony of a witness under oath before a trial. A deposition is aimed at getting at information that a witness knows. The witness – also known as the deponent – is represented by his/her party’s attorney and questioned by an attorney representing the opposing party. Depositions do not take place in the courtroom. Usually, they take place in a law firm conference room. A court reporter is present who transcribes everything that is said, and that court reporter generates and makes available a transcript after the deposition.
- Document Production: Each party in a lawsuit submits a request for production to the other side that describes the types of documents it would like turned over. For example, in a product liability case, the plaintiff might request to see documents regarding product testing and manufacturing quality control. Today, producing documents in litigation often means turning over both electronic discovery and paper documents. The volumes of materials that are turned over in cases involving large companies can be staggering. In an earlier post, we talked about the parties coming to agreement on the scope of production in the meet and confer. This is very significant and can make a huge difference in the cost of collecting, reviewing, and processing documents.
All of these mechanisms and processes combined make up the discovery phase of a lawsuit. The schedule for discovery is set by the judge and set forth in the case management order that we covered in last week’s post. In next week’s post we’ll continue discussing discovery, and specifically we’ll talk about what gets turned over and what doesn’t.
Please let us know if there are specific topics you’d like to see covered in this blog series.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.