Organizing Discovery

table_165508067For discovery to be useful in a case, it must be organized. One effective way to organize discovery is with an issue table. Issue tables are a way to keep track of the main issues, the elements of the claims and defenses, and the relevant evidence.

Issue tables are best explained with an example, so here’s a sample issue table designed for a simple negligence case. Of course, the issues you include in your table will depend on the facts and law governing your particular case.

Always review your issue tables frequently and revise them as necessary; when you learn about new issues and facts, update your tables. And depending on the nature and complexity of your case, you may decide to have separate tables for each cause of action or defense. In some cases, you may decide to add a column for subissues.

ISSUE TABLE

__________ Discovery Cutoff

__________ Discovery Motion Deadline

__________ Trial Date

CLAIM: NEGLIGENCE
Issue Plaintiff’s Evidence Defendant’s Evidence
Standard of Care
Duty
Breach
Injury
Causation
DEFENSE: CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE
Issue Plaintiff’s Evidence Defendant’s Evidence
Damages
Plaintiff’s Negligence
Causation

If you found this sample helpful, you’ll love all the other discovery letters, checklists, and tables in CEB’s Creating Your Discovery Plan. For comprehensive coverage of all discovery issues, turn to CEB’s California Civil Discovery Practice.

Related CEB blog posts:

© The Regents of the University of California, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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