Discovery

Discovery in the United States

Contents:

A procedure used before civil trials that allows one party to obtain information about a case from the opposing party. Discovery assists litigants in civil suits prepare for trial. Evidence is basically gathered in three ways during discovery. The first is by deposition, where counsel for one party interviews the other party and the witnesses for the opposing side. A second method is through interrogatories, a technique by which one party poses questions to the other party for detailed written response. Finally, a party may obtain documents and records in the possession of the other side. While a judge does not directly supervise discovery, it is conducted under court auspices and judicial remedies are available if compliance with discovery initiatives does not otherwise occur.

See Also

Deposition (Civil Process) Interrogatories (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Civil dockets are often badly backlogged, and there is frequently a waiting period in excess of two years before a trial date can be obtained. Discovery occurs during this period and is intended to better prepare the opposing parties for trial. In practice, discovery often leads to settlements. As information is exchanged, litigants reassess their chances at trial. This, in turn, may prompt a litigant to modify a position or even drop the lawsuit. Discovery is not without problems. Parties may use the processes of discovery to wear down opponents through excessive requests. If the discovery process is drawn out unnecessarily, it produces delay and excessive cost. Some states have amended their rules of civil procedure to regulate discovery processes. Upon completion of discovery, most courts schedule pretrial conferences where judges and the parties meet to prepare for trial as well as explore settlement possibilities.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Discovery from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Discovery Definition

(Fr. deoouvrir, to uncover; to discover). The act of finding an unknown country. The nations of Europe adopted the principle that the discovery of any part of America gave title to the government by whose subjects or by whose authority it was made, as against all European governments. This title was to be consummated by possession. 8 Wheat. (U.S.) 543; 16 Pet. (U.S.) 367; 2 Washb. Real Prop. 518. An invention or improvement. Act Cong. July 4, 1836, § 6. In Practice. The disclosure of facts resting in the knowledge of the defendant, or the production of deeds, writings, or things in his possession or power, in order to maintain the right or title of the party asking it, in some suit or proceeding in another court. It was originally an equitable form of procedure, and a bill of discovery, strictly so called, was brought to assist parties to suits in other courts. In modern practice, a statutory proceeding is generally substituted, by which an inspection of books and papers, or an examination of a party, may be had on motion.

Discovery in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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(Fr. deoouvrir, to uncover; to discover). The act of finding an unknown country. The nations of Europe adopted the principle that the discovery of any part of America gave title to the government by whose subjects or by whose authority it was made, as against all European governments. This title was to be consummated by possession. 8 Wheat. (U.S.) 543; 16 Pet. (U.S.) 367; 2 Washb. Real Prop. 518. An invention or improvement. Act Cong. July 4, 1836, § 6. In Practice. The disclosure of facts resting in the knowledge of the defendant, or the production of deeds, writings, or things in his possession or power, in order to maintain the right or title of the party asking it, in some suit or proceeding in another court. It was originally an equitable form of procedure, and a bill of discovery, strictly so called, was brought to assist parties to suits in other courts. In modern practice, a statutory proceeding is generally substituted, by which an inspection of books and papers, or an examination of a party, may be had on motion.

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Notice

This definition of Discovery Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Plain-English Law

Discovery as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455):

A formal investigation governed by court rules that is conducted before a trial. Discovery allows one party to question other parties and sometimes witnesses and to force others to disclose documents or other physical evidence relating to the lawsuit.

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

A procedure designed to obtain facts known by the defendant, or referred to in papers in his possession. In general, either party may obtain discovery about any matter that is not privileged and that is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action. Even information that may be inadmissible at trial may be discoverable if it appears that the information will lead to admissible evidence. Parties may obtain discovery by depositions (in U.S. law), written Ann De Vries)

What is Discovery?

For a meaning of it, read Discovery in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Discovery.

Discovery

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled DISCOVERYDiscovery is a procedure by which one party obtains information from the adverse party in his case. This disclosure of information in criminal proceedings includes statements, documents, test results, reports, and other similar items. Although there is a very broad power to discover items
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

Some Constitutional Law Popular Entries

The Basic Methods of Discovery

There is some information in the United States Procedure Law section of this American Legal Encyclopedia about The Basic Methods of Discovery. For a wide overview, read about Steps in the Litigation Process

Meaning of Discovery

In plain or simple terms, Discovery means: The process through which parties to an action are allowed to obtain relevant information known to other parties or nonparties before trial.

Concept of Discovery in Judicial Assistance

In this context, a definition of Discovery may be as follows: Pretrial procedures that can be used by one party to obtain facts and information about the case from the other party or from third parties in order to assist the party’s preparation for trial.

Discovery Explained

References

See Also

  • Civil Procedure
  • Federal Courts

Discovery (Administrative Record)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of discovery. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Administrative Record is provided. Finally, the subject of Judicial Review in relation with discovery is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Discovery (Adversary Proceedings)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of discovery. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Adversary Proceedings is provided. Finally, the subject of Proceedings in relation with discovery is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Discovery (Adversary Proceedings)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of discovery. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Adversary Proceedings is provided. Finally, the subject of Practice in relation with discovery is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Discovery (Civil Procedure)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of discovery. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Civil Procedurein relation to discovery is provided. Note that a list of bibliography resources and other aids appears at the end of this entry.

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Adversary System; Civil and Criminal Divide; Counsel: Role of Counsel; Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Aspects; Grand Jury; Preliminary Hearing.

    Deposition; Immunity; Interrogatories; Self-Incrimination.

    Cook, James, Explorations of ; Explorations and Expeditions: U.S. ; Vancouver Explorations.

    Related Case Law

    Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).

    Fisher v. United States, 425 U.S. 391 (1976).

    Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995).

    Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U.S. 103 (1935).

    Nobles v. United States, 422 U.S. 225 (1975).

    Wardius v. Oregon, 412 U.S. 470 (1973).

    Taylor v. Illinois, 419 U.S. 522 (1988).

    Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545 (1977).

    Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78 (1970).

    Further Reading (Books)

    American Bar Association. Standards Relating to Discovery and Procedure before Trial. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association, 1969.

    Standards Relating to Discovery and Procedure before Trial, Supplement. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association, 1970.

    “Discovery and Procedure before Trial.” In Standards Relating to the Administration of Justice, vol. 2, 11-1 to 11-94. 2d ed., Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

    Standards for Criminal Justice: Discovery and Trial by Jury, 3d ed. Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association, 1996.

    Brennan, William J., Jr. “The Criminal Prosecution: Sporting Event or Quest for Truth?” Washington University Law Quarterly no. 3 (June 1963): 279-295.

    Imwinkelried, Edward J. “The Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Non-Testifying Experts: Reestablishing the Boundaries between the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Protection.” Washington University Law Quarterly 68 (1990): 19-50.

    LaFave, Wayne R., and Israel, Jerold H. Criminal Procedure, 2d ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co, 1992.

    Louisell, David W. “Criminal Discovery and Self-Incrimination: Roger Traynor Confronts the Dilemma.” California Law Review 53 (1965): 89-102.

    Mosteller, Robert P. “Discovery against the Defense: Tilting the Adversarial Balance.” California Law Review 74 (1986): 1567-1685.

    Traynor, Roger J. “Ground Lost and Found in Criminal Discovery.” New York University Law Review 39 (1964): 228-250.

    Van Kessel, Gordon. “Prosecutorial Discovery and the Privilege against Self-Incrimination: Accommodation or Capitulation.” Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 4, no. 4 (Fall 1977): 855-900.

    Further Reading (Books 2)

    Fisher, Robin. Vancouver’s Voyage: Charting the Northwest Coast, 1791-1795. Vancouver, Wash.: Douglas and McIntyre, 1992.

    Marquardt, Karl H. The Anatomy of the Ship Captain Cook’s Endeavour. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1995; 2001.

    Robert MoultonGatke/a. r.

    Further Reading (Articles)

    Discovery Channel Tests The Leverage of Licensing, The Washington Post; November 29, 2004; Annys Shin

    Discovery Hopes for Payoff on Crime Channel, The Washington Post; November 27, 2007; Frank Ahrens – Washington Post Staff Writer

    Discovery Communications, Inc., Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns; January 1, 2007

    Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.(CHANNELS), Television Asia; January 1, 2009

    Discovery says Wallenda’s next walk is in Chicago, AP Online; April 3, 2014; By DAVID BAUDER

    Liftoff: Discovery Soars on July 4th, AP Online; July 4, 2006

    Discovery, CBS in Talks on Times Channel, The Washington Post; May 22, 2007; Frank Ahrens – Washington Post Staff Writer

    Discovery Evolutions Hold Promise for Greater Privacy Benefits for Litigants, Mondaq Business Briefing; October 27, 2013; Lynch, Matthew

    Discovery Continues to Grow, License! Global; June 1, 2011; Phillips, Sam

    DISCOVERY II IS STILL FIT FOR THE BACK COUNTRY, The Columbian (Vancouver, WA); May 30, 1999; THOMAS RYLL, Columbian staff writer

    Discovery.com Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff; Company to Focus On TV Operations, The Washington Post; November 14, 2000; Carrie Johnson Neil Irwin

    Discovery Closer to Going Public; Cable Network’s Parent in Talks to Buy Newhouse’s Stake, The Washington Post; September 22, 2007; Frank Ahrens – Washington Post Staff Writer

    Discovery’s Travel Arrangement; Web Site to Sell Exotic Trips to Adventurous Viewers in Deal With Away.com, The Washington Post; October 16, 2000; Neil Irwin

    Discovery Buys Chain of Stores For $10 Million; Bethesda Cable Channel Owner Plans a Push Into Retailing, The Washington Post; May 13, 1995; Paul Farhi

    Discovery Hails Remarkable Feat by Health Unit; Zz Group’s New Business Rises 15%, The Star (South Africa); September 4, 2013

    DISCOVERY PARK TO MARK 10 YEARS OF INNOVATION WITH 4 DISCOVERY LECTURES IN APRIL, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; March 27, 2012

    Discovery Communications finally will go public, Deseret News (Salt Lake City); December 17, 2007; Sam Schechner and Jessica E. Vascellaro Associated Press

    For Discovery Communications, the Revenue Growth Lies in Television Networks Overseas, The Washington Post; December 18, 2012; Overly, Steven

    Discovery at 20: Global Strategy; Little Room Left in U.S. to Grow [Correction 6/28/05], The Washington Post; June 20, 2005; Annys Shin

    Discovery’s New Program: A Spring IPO, The Washington Post; December 14, 2007; Frank Ahrens – Washington Post Staff Writer

    Discovery in State Statute Topics

    Introduction to Discovery (State statute topic)

    The purpose of Discovery is to provide a broad appreciation of the Discovery legal topic. Select from the list of U.S. legal topics for information (other than Discovery).

    The Basic Methods of Discovery

    There is some information in the United States Procedure Law section of this American Legal Encyclopedia about The Basic Methods of Discovery. For a wide overview, read about Steps in the Litigation Process

    Meaning of Discovery

    In plain or simple terms, Discovery means: The process through which parties to an action are allowed to obtain relevant information known to other parties or nonparties before trial.

    Concept of Discovery in Judicial Assistance

    In this context, a definition of Discovery may be as follows: Pretrial procedures that can be used by one party to obtain facts and information about the case from the other party or from third parties in order to assist the party’s preparation for trial.

    Discovery Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Civil Procedure
    • Federal Courts

    Resources

    Further Reading

    Discovery in the Context of International Disputes

    Discovery Pursuant to Customary International Judicial Assistance in International Civil Litigation

    Analysis of the Discovery Pursuant to Customary International Judicial Assistance

    The Basic Methods of Discovery

    There is some information in the United States Procedure Law section of this American Legal Encyclopedia about The Basic Methods of Discovery. For a wide overview, read about Steps in the Litigation Process

    Meaning of Discovery

    In plain or simple terms, Discovery means: The process through which parties to an action are allowed to obtain relevant information known to other parties or nonparties before trial.

    Concept of Discovery in Judicial Assistance

    In this context, a definition of Discovery may be as follows: Pretrial procedures that can be used by one party to obtain facts and information about the case from the other party or from third parties in order to assist the party’s preparation for trial.

    Discovery Explained

    References

    See Also

    • Civil Procedure
    • Federal Courts

    Resources

    See Also

    • Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad
    • Taking of Evidence Abroad
    • Obtaining Evidence Abroad in Criminal Cases
    • Conflict of Laws
    • Service of Process

    Discovery Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

    The process by which lawyers learn about their opponent’s case in preparation for trial. Typical tools of discovery include depositions, interrogatories, requests for admissions, and requests for documents. All these devices help the lawyer learn the relevant facts and collect and examine any relevant documents or other materials.

    Discovery: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Discovery. This part provides references, in relation to Discovery, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Discovery by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Discovery and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Discovery or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Discovery and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Discovery. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Discovery should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Discovery when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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