2. Case Preparation – discovery of evidence; witness depositions and pretrial motions:

     This page is continued from Civil Law Self-Help >>>> Civil Proceedings:


     There may be “discovery,” where the litigants must provide information to each other about the case, such as the identity of witnesses and copies of any documents related to the case.  The purpose of discovery is to prepare for trial by requiring the litigants to assemble their evidence and prepare to call witnesses.  Each side also may file requests, or “motions,” with the court seeking rulings on the discovery of evidence, or on the procedures to be followed at trial.

     Discovery may include a deposition, requiring a witness to answer questions about the case before the trial.  The witness answers questions from the lawyer under oath, in the presence of a court reporter, who produces a word-for-word account called a transcript. [1]

initial disclosure – the requirement that parties make available to each other, without first receiving a discovery request, contact information for all involved parties, a copy of all relevant documents and data compilations, a damages computation, and relevant insurance agreements. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)-(D).

pretrial discovery – conducted before trial to reveal facts, develop evidence and prevent parties from surprising each other at trial.


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: United States Courts, “Civil Cases”: http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/civil-cases


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