Requests for Disclosure – the most basic form of Texas Discovery.

Requests for Disclosure are issued in almost all lawsuits.

Requests for Disclosure are designed to produce the most basic information about a lawsuit.

The Request for Disclosure are issued pursuant to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 194.  Many attorney’s will include the request inside their initial pleading.  The language will say something like “Pursuant to Rule 194, you are requested to disclose, within 30 days of service of this request, the information described in Rule 194.2.”  In its most basic form as applied to family law cases, the following information is requested:

 

  • It asks for the correct names of the parties to a lawsuit. Many years ago, a guy (call him Billy Sr.) was served a lawsuit that was really for his son.  The Plaintiff had the wrong guy.  But Billy Sr., thinking he was smarter than everyone else,  laughed, ignored the Plaintiff, thinking that the lawsuit was no good because they had the wrong guy.  Alas, Plaintiff took a default judgment against Billy Sr. for some untold amount of money.  Billy Sr. ended up stuck with this.  The Request for Disclosure is designed to make sure we have the correct parties to the lawsuit – names, and spellings.
  • It asks if there are any other potential parties.  This request, usually not applicable in a family law case, attempts to illicit information about any other person or entity that might be liable on a claim.
  • It asks for a general description of the legal theories in a case and the factual basis that supports the theory.
  • It asks for the amount and method of calculating economic damages.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of any person who might have knowledge of facts relevant to the case.  If there is anyone out there who knows anything about you or your spouse, they are persons with knowledge of relevant facts.  This is everybody.  The child’s doctor, dentist, etc.  Your neighbors, your friends.  Anybody.
  • Experts – experts are allowed to make opinions before the court. In general, any opinion as to the value of a business, the alcohol dependency of a party, custody evaluation, or attorney’s fees will require the opinion of an expert.  Under Rule 194.2(f), the expert’s name, address and telephone number must be provided together with a brief statement as to the experts mental impressions and opinions.  If the expert has reviewed any documents, tangible things (anything), reports, models, or data compilations, these materials must be provided.
  • Any witness statements.

Rule 194 is set out in full as follows:

Rule 194. REQUESTS FOR DISCLOSURE

194.1 Request

A party may obtain disclosure from another party of the information or material listed in Rule 194.2 by serving the other party – no later than 30 days before the end of any applicable discovery period -the following request: “Pursuant to Rule 194, you are requested to disclose, within 30 days of service of this request, the information or material described in Rule [state rule, e.g., 194.2, or 194.2(a), (c), and (f), or 194.2(d)-(g)].”

194.2Content

A party may request disclosure of any or all of the following: (a) the correct names of the parties to the lawsuit;

(b) the name, address, and telephone number of any potential parties;

(c) the legal theories and, in general, the factual bases of the responding party’s claims or defenses (the responding party need not marshal all evidence that may be offered at trial);

(d) the amount and any method of calculating economic damages;

(e) the name, address, and telephone number of persons having knowledge of relevant facts, and a brief statement of each identified person’s connection with the case;

(f) for any testifying expert:

(1) the expert’s name, address, and telephone number;

(2) the subject matter on which the expert will testify;

(3) the general substance of the expert’s mental impressions and opinions and a brief summary of the basis for them, or if the expert is not retained by, employed by, or otherwise subject to the control of the responding party, documents reflecting such information;

(4) if the expert is retained by, employed by, or otherwise subject to the control of the responding party:

(A) all documents, tangible things, reports, models, or data compilations that have been provided to, reviewed by, or prepared by or for the expert in anticipation of the expert’s testimony; and

(B) the expert’s current resume and bibliography;

(g) any indemnity and insuring agreements described in Rule 192.3(f);

(h) any settlement agreements described in Rule 192.3(g);

(i) any witness statements described in Rule 192.3(h);

(j) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills that are reasonably related to the injuries or damages asserted or, in lieu thereof, an authorization permitting the disclosure of such medical records and bills;

(k) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills obtained by the responding party by virtue of an authorization furnished by the requesting party;

(l) the name, address, and telephone number of any person who may be designated as a responsible third party.

194.3 Response

The responding party must serve a written response on the requesting party within 30 days after service of the request, except that:

(a) a defendant served with a request before the defendant’s answer is due need not respond until 50 days after service of the request, and

(b) a response to a request under Rule 194.2(f) is governed by Rule 195.

194.4 Production

Copies of documents and other tangible items ordinarily must be served with the response. But if the responsive documents are voluminous, the response must state a reasonable time and place for the production of documents. The responding party must produce the documents at the time and place stated, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court, and must provide the requesting party a reasonable opportunity to inspect them.

194.5 No Objection or Assertion of Work Product

No objection or assertion of work product is permitted to a request under this rule.

194.6 Certain Responses Not Admissible

A response to requests under Rule 194.2(c) and (d) that has been changed by an amended or supplemental response is not admissible and may not be used for impeachment.