In our last post we discussed discovery in general and in this post we will address written discovery specifically.
Written discovery normally includes the following:
1. Request for admissions;
2. Request for production of documents;
3. Interrogatories; and
Request for admissions are very useful in nailing down specific facts that you then do not need to prove through other means such as depositions. The basic idea is you take single facts and make the other party answer either “admit” or “deny” to each single fact. If the answer is “admit” then the fact is established for this litigation against the party that admitted it. If the answer is “denied” and you ultimately prove the fact, then you can recover your expenses and attorney fees related to your efforts to prove this fact that should have been admitted.
Here is an example of a request for admission: “Admit or deny that at the time of the wreck on January 1, 2009, you were using your cell phone.”
Either the other party will admit it, thus saving you time and effort in subpoenaing phone records or asking deposition questions or if the party denies it and you prove it is true, the other party may be on the hook for your expenses and fees in proving this.
Request for production of documents require the other party to give to you documents and other tangible items (CDs, tapes, maps, emails, etc). These are very important to use as you need to know what documents the other side has to be prepared in your case.
Here is an example of a request for production: “Produce all documents related to training of the defendant truck driver by you prior to the wreck made the basis of this lawsuit.”
Interrogatories are similar to what the word sounds like – interrogation. They allow you to interrogate the other party by written question to find out what the other party knows.
Here is an example: “State in detail when you first became aware that the Plaintiff’s vehicle was stuck on the railroad tracks and state in detail every action you took from that moment until the collision.”
Subpoenas are discovery devices that are used against non parties. These are normally used to gain documents from a non party. The most typical example we see in an Alabama injury lawsuit is a subpoena to a doctor for all of her medical records related to the plaintiff.
Written discovery is not as “glamorous” as taking depositions. Lawyers typically do not brag about the skill they used in drafting request for admissions like they do about destroying a witness in a deposition but often what allows for a wonderful deposition is superior written discovery.
Our next post will cover depositions in an Alabama injury lawsuit.