The Discovery Process
- What is Discovery?
- What is a Deposition?
- Is there a time limit for how long a deposition may last?
- What are Interrogatories?
- Is there a limit to how many Interrogatories can be asked?
- What if someone refuses to cooperate with discovery?
- Can I object to Discovery?
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process which allows each party to try to secure information from the other party, or from others, about the case to help them prepare for trial or to enable them to resolve the case once the facts are more fully developed. The right of "Discovery" includes the right to obtain documents, written answers to written questions (Interrogatories) and the ability to inspect (persons, places and things). Sometimes discovery includes the right to seek a medical or mental evaluation of a party or others. There are many formalities involved, but generally, Discovery is a process to help parties and their lawyers learn what the facts are either from the other party or from third parties.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is an opportunity to take the sworn testimony of a party or witness prior to trial. This may done to learn facts about the case or to secure evidence just in case the witness is not available at trial (then the sworn deposition testimony might be substituted for live testimony at trial). The testimony is taken by one party's attorney asking questions of the witness (or the other party) while a court reporter "takes down" the testimony for subsequent transcription.
Is there a time limit for how long a deposition may last?
Yes, the rules change and have certain exceptions, but generally in Georgia there is a seven hour limit unless extended by agreement or by the court.
What are Interrogatories?
Interrogatories are written questions which require a written and sworn response. They can be used to learn more about the other party's position or understanding of the facts of the case.
Is there a limit to how many Interrogatories can be asked?
Yes, in Georgia, you are permitted to ask only fifty (50) Interrogatories unless the court grants permission for more.
What if someone refuses to cooperate with discovery?
If someone refuses to cooperate by failing to produce requested documents, failing to answer Interrogatories, or failing to appear at a deposition, the Court may sanction that person in many different ways, including striking their pleadings and assessing litigation costs against them.
Can I object to Discovery?
Yes, a proper document must be filed with the Court. The Court will then determine whether the discovery request should be complied with or not.