Discovery is the part of a lawsuit during which each party gets to learn about the other side's case. By the uniform rules the period for discovery is set at 6 months in the State and Superior courts of the State of Georgia. The time for discovery can be shortened or enlarged by the judge. Extensions are quite common and a first request for extension is almost routinely granted. Discovery may be oral or written. Oral discovery comes in the form of a deposition. Written discovery may be in the form of interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions.
Depositions are somewhat like what you may have seen on television or in film. The party giving the deposition sits beside his lawyer on one side of the table. The other party's lawyer sits on the other side of the table. At the head of the table is the court reporter who takes down every word that is said at the table. See our Depositions page for a sample transcript, as well as some general advice about giving deposition testimony.
Interrogatories are simply written out questions that ask the other party for information. They may be as straightforward as "state your name, address, and telephone number." Or they may involve careful thought such as, "describe and explain in detail how the collision occurred." See our Interrogatories page for a more detailed explanation of interrogatories, their purpose, and some sample forms.
Requests for production of documents are just what they sound like, they are written out requests for some person to produce documents. The requests are worded so as to require the actual physical production of originals in person. For example, "produce all of your statements, invoices, checks, cancelled checks, and other documents evidencing any payments on the account referenced in the Complaint." In practice it is quite common for a responding party to send copies of requested documents. See our Documents Requests page for more details on Requests for production of documents, and some sample forms.
Requests for Admissions are not as commonly used as the other two forms of discovery but can be quite effective. A request to admit is typically a statement that you ask the opposing party to agree with. For example, "Admit that on the evening of the Incident you had been at the Limelight, a local club/bar." Now if this statement is true it is going to be hard for the party to deny the statement but it may be damning to admit the substance of the request. See our Admissions page for more details on requests for admissions and some sample forms.
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