Discovery

Black’s Law Dictionary defines discovery in practice as “the disclosure by the defendant of facts, titles, documents, or other things which are in his exclusive knowledge or possession, and which are necessary to the party seeking the discovery as a part of a cause or action pending or to be brought in another court, or as evidence of his rights or title in such proceeding.”
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Utah District Courts define discovery as“ the procedures by which each party learns about the information, documents and witnesses that the other party does not have to disclose”.

Example Sentence

The plaintiff sent a discovery request for the history of driving violations and court sanctions of the defendant.

Case Study

The case Roberts v. A.J. Dean Cement Company clearly demonstrated the fact that a request for discovery is something that must be complied with. Based on court records a default judgment was granted to the plaintiff as sanction for A.J. Dean Cement Company’s failure to obey an order to provide or permit discovery despite the request and considerable amount of time given to the defendant. The court also stated that the counsels representing A.J. Dean are fully aware of the discovery order since they were present at the damage hearing together with the plaintiff. The defendant also received a copy of the request for discovery hence no valid reason can be provided for the non-compliance of the discovery order.

Other Important Information

When you are involved in a car accident and is seeking relief from the person who is at-fault for the accident, disclosure and discovery are crucial aspects of the case. In determining the strength and weakness of a case, some of the information that are vital to the case must be disclosed by both parties. Other information must be discovered and this can be done by submitting a request for discovery.

Utah Courts identify discovery methods as follows:

Nolo Law says there are limits to what can be discovered or requested for discovery. These are:

  • Confidential conversations (between husband and wife, lawyer and client, doctor and patient, religious adviser and advisee are exempted from discovery request)
  • Private matters ( that are not relevant to the case such as health issues, sexual practices or orientation, sexual partners, spiritual or religious beliefs, immediate family relationships)
  • Privacy rights of third parties

It is possible that some sensitive information can be requested for discovery for its relevance to the case. These sensitive information (such as medical condition, financial information of a business or of an individual) must be kept confidential and must not be disclosed to the public. The judge can keep it confidential by issuing a protective order.

You may also read Rule 26.2  for the information that must be disclosed in personal injury actions.

Photo courtesy of Ammodramus. The image is in the public domain.

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