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  • Writer's pictureKonstantine Demiris

What is litigation "discovery?"

Many times litigators use the term "discovery" to refer to matters that they wish to discover from the opposing party or from another source. But what exactly is "discovery" in civil litigation matters in California?

One of the primary purposes of discovery is to take out the "game" element from trial preparation to allow parties to obtain the evidence they need to evaluate and resolve their dispute beforehand. It is also used to prepare for trial by obtaining necessary evidence.

Obtaining discovery can narrow the issues for trial and promote settlement. However, engaging in discovery can be costly although it may pay dividends as an investment.

California has enacted the Civil Discovery Act, which codifies much of the law on discovery in California.

Various forms of discovery include:

  • depositions;

  • interrogatories (or written questions);

  • requests for admissions ("RFA" of facts and documents);

  • requests for production ("RFP") or demands for inspection, testing, sampling and production, of items, documents or things, and

  • subpoenas

There is also the California Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act, both of which are non-litigation discovery tools that can be used to discovery information.

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