You’ve got a business dispute, you’ve tried everything in your power to get it resolved, and it looks like you are going to be taking this case to court and filing a lawsuit. Well, you talked to somebody, and they said that if you file a lawsuit you might get entangled in a process called discovery. What is discovery? Discovery is just as it sounds; it’s a process for the parties to learn information, confirm facts and evaluate the evidence and the witnesses in the case.
There are basically three ways that a discovery is done in cases in California. The most common form – or the initial stage – is written discovery, which usually involves interrogatories. The word interrogatories sounds a lot like “interrogation”, and that is exactly what it is. It is a series of questions designed to get specific facts, dates, events, times and amounts from you. And then, there is also a request for production of items, most commonly documents or other tangible things that can be evaluated. So, in a discovery dispute you might get a request for a copy of the contract that’s underlining the dispute in the case. There are also times when they can ask to produce or see things. They might have an inspection to see where the job that is in dispute occurred and to evaluate the workmanship or the quality of the materials used on the job site. All of these processes are used to learn more information about the case, and that’s why it’s called discovery.