Articles Posted in Federal Court Lawsuit Overview

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Subpoenas are a type of discovery where we can get information and documents from non parties — people or companies who are not in the lawsuit.

The other types of discovery we have discussed so far — initial disclosures, interrogatories, request for production, and request for admissions — are only to the parties in the case. The Plaintiff (who filed the case/lawsuit) and the Defendant (who was sued and who has answered the lawsuit).

Why would we use a subpoena?

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A request for admission is where one party asks another party to admit or deny some fact or combination of fact and law. Let’s take a look at this.

What rule allows for request for admissions?

These come under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 36. At the bottom of this post we have copied the rule so you can read it for yourself.

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Request for production of documents is a type of discovery that instead of asking for written answers (like interrogatories), this request is for paper and electronic documents. You can think of it as “Don’t tell me what the documents or videos say, just give me the documents or videos etc.”

What can you request with this type of discovery?

Basically any physical item or piece of data however it is stored. Here are examples:

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One common form of discovery is called an interrogatory which means one party in your lawsuit sends the other party a written question (or series of questions) that must be answered in writing.

What is an interrogatory used for?

Interrogatories are used to get information from the other side. So you might ask things such as:

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After the parties have met to prepare a proposed scheduling order, then discovery begins and it starts with “initial disclosures” in a federal consumer protection lawsuit.

What are initial disclosures?

These include information and documents that each side gives to each other, without being asked. Almost all other forms of discovery only require a response when the other side asks you for documents or information.

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Now is the time for “discovery” which is the biggest part of the case before the trial. This is where the parties exchange information and documents so each side can be prepared for trial and to evaluate settlement options

Despite what we see on TV shows, the big picture idea of trial is not to have surprise witnesses and documents at trial. Instead, both sides are given the opportunity to ask each other questions to find out what each side knows about the case.

Here are the basic types of discovery:

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The lawyers for the defendant have met with us on your case and we have all submitted to the judge a proposed scheduling order — now it is time for the judge to enter the actual order which gives everyone the deadlines and other rules for the case. This is called the scheduling order.

Does the order have to be the same as the proposed order the parties give to the judge?

No. Often it is but sometimes there are minor changes made. And occasionally there are significant changes between what the parties submitted and what the judge actually puts in his or her order.

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Since the defendant has answered your federal court lawsuit, now we meet with the lawyers for the defendant to pick out proposed deadlines and the schedule for the case so let’s talk about that now.

The lawyers meet by phone or in person to discuss the case In some parts of the country the meeting has to be in person but normally in Alabama we do this by phone. We will reach out to the lawyers and pick a date to speak about the case.

Normally we will go ahead and prepare what is known as a “Report of the parties planning meeting” which lays out the deadlines as well as other required information.

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Now is the time for the defendant to answer (respond to) your consumer protection complaint filed in federal court. What does this mean and what happens next?

What is an answer?

The “Answer” responds to the complaint. So the complaint alleges certain facts. The answer either admits or denies those facts.

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The defendant has filed a motion to dismiss your consumer protection lawsuit in federal court — what happens next?

What is a motion to dismiss?

A motion is where the person filing it is asking the court to do something. To take some action.

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