What Does Discovery Mean?


Once a lawsuit is filed, each side will have an opportunity to conduct what is referred to as discovery. Discovery gives each side an opportunity to investigate the others’ claims and prepare for trial.

There is oral discovery and written discovery.

Written discovery consists of written questions that must be responded to in writing. Written discovery falls into three types of requests.

1) Request for Production of Documents: This form of discovery requires that a party produce documents relevant to their claim.

2) Interrogatories: This form of discovery consists of written questions relevant to the action.

3) Request for Admissions: This form of discovery requests that a party admit or deny certain questions. 

There is also oral discovery. A common example of oral discovery is a deposition. A deposition is an examination of a party or person under oath. There will be a court reporter present to record the deposition. Some depositions are also filmed.  Similar to trial, an attorney is allowed to ask questions of this individual who is referred to as the deponent.

The deponent’s attorney will be present and may object to the questions similarly to trial. The transcript of the deposition may be used at trial subject to certain limitations.