Things to Remember About Discovery
Discovery is the process that allows legal disputes to be resolved fairly. This is important to keep in mind when engaged in this sometimes contentious process. Remember that whether you like it or not, the facts tend to come out during discovery. You have to be honest do not try to hide anything or fool anyone. The violations related to discovery abuse can be severe. Sometimes discovery is able to narrow the issues between the parties such that mediation or some other resolution method is better than trial. In other cases, discovery is little more than a lengthy, expensive, invasive, and infuriating precursor to trial. If you are represented with an attorney, be up front with them, it will assist them in doing their job correctly. Not everything has to be given during discovery, but your attorney is the best person to decide what, if any, information is not legally discoverable.
When the court believes that one party has abused the discovery process there can be severe consequences. When one party fails to produce a document requested the seeking party can move the court to compel the other party to give the evidence. If the court grants the motion to compel and the party still refuses, the court can sanction the non-producing party. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure specifically names failure to comply with discovery request or related court orders as grounds of sanctions. In the beginning these sanction amounts can be relatively light but can increase over time.
In addition to sanctions if you refuse to honestly comply with discovery requests you can not only pay the court, you may have to pay for the expenses of the other side. Usually courts reviewing these decisions have found them appropriate, because the court reserves them for the worst kinds of discovery abuse.
Do Not Go It Alone
Discovery is a powerful legal procedure. Some cases proceed to discovery only for one or both sides to come to an understanding that either eliminates or limits their disagreement. In other cases, one or the other party discovers evidence which facilitates their position and without discovery would be worse off. In either case, discovery is a process that requires some of the best in the legal tradition of the United States, honesty and fairness. If you are entering this process, keep these two principles in mind and proceed accordingly.
Contact our legal team at Levin & Perconti today for more tailored guidance on using the civil justice system to hold wrongdoers accountable. Nursing home abuse and neglect is never acceptable, and tools like discover exists specifically to bring the truth to light.