I just don’t get. The discovery problem. At Jackson Law we work really hard to comply with the rules and to make sure that our discovery responses are top tier. No issues. After all, if I don’t properly answer the Request for Disclosures, the Request for Production or the Interrogatories, the evidence in the case may be barred at trial. If the other side requested videos, photographs, witness statements, etc and those documents were not provided to them, then that evidence does not come in.
From time to time, we are hired to take over a divorce/family law case from another lawyer. Very often with a pending trial setting coming up shortly. I call these the Humpty Dumpty cases because the case has usually taken a great fall and I am asked to put it back together again. In one of my cases that I recently got, we have done an exhaustive discovery review. What did we find? The previous lawyer on the file did the bare bones possible on my client’s responses to Request for Disclosure and did not maintain an organized bate stamped compilation of my client’s Request for Production responses.
The fact is, previous counsel when, she handed the file over to my client, did not provide a copy of what she provided to the other side regarding the Request for Production. No thumb drive with an organized list of documents, no binders holding the docs, and no bate stamping. I called the previous lawyer on my side of the case and asked her about that. Her response: “I gave everything to SC – my client. She had nothing. I called the opposing party’s previous counsel, yes both sides have fired and hired, and asked her about it. She did not have any copies of what my client had responded having given it all to the opposing party’s new lawyer. Finally, I had to call my opposing counsel and ask him to provide the documents – which he has done. Problem is, am I positive that this is a complete copy of my clients responses. I can’t be sure. So, this is what we have had to do –
- I drafted a Motion for the Court to Determine Status of the Discovery Responses;
- I drafted a Motion for Continuance based upon the discovery issue;
- I drafted a Motion for Modification of the Discovery Period – this allows our side to “late supplement” the discovery responses.
These motions together with the trial setting, all occur in 10 days.
Discovery is THE biggest issue in any case. Failure to comply with the rules means your evidence is barred at trial. Barred! At Jlaw we take this issue very seriously and we do it right.