Often you can use more than one discovery method to get the same facts or evidence. You can take a pick-and-choose approach to your methodology, or better yet, use a coordinated approach that aims multiple discovery methods at the same evidence.
Here are four common coordinated approaches to consider:
- Interrogatories and Demands for Inspection. You can use interrogatories (CCP §§2030.010–2030.410) and demands for inspection of documents (CCP §2031.010) in conjunction with one another to get all the evidence on a given point. For example, you can serve a set of interrogatories asking about contentions and facts in conjunction with a set of demands for inspection of documents seeking production of documents related to those contentions or facts.
- Interrogatories with Requests for Admission. You can coordinate interrogatories with requests for admission (CCP §§2033.010–2033.740). For example, you should serve Judicial Council Form DISC-001, Interrogatory 17.1 in conjunction with requests for admission to get the identity of witnesses, facts, and documents supporting the denial of any particular request for admission.
- Documents before or at depositions. If documents will be helpful in deposing a witness, you’ll want to obtain and review them to prepare for the deposition. Although documents can be requested in a notice of oral deposition (CCP §2025.220(a)(4)), it’s better to demand inspection of the documents from a party under CCP §2031.010(a) well in advance of the deposition, especially if the documents to be produced are so voluminous that they can’t adequately be reviewed at the time of the deposition. This also allows any discovery disputes to be resolved before the deposition goes forward. You can use a deposition subpoena to get documents from a nonparty, with or without a personal appearance at the deposition.
- Documents before medical examination. Defense counsel should obtain medical records for the examiner’s review before a medical examination (CCP §§2032.010–2032.650). Not only may experts be listed as trial witnesses (CCP §2034.260), they may also be used as consultants to advise counsel in asking deposition questions or in drafting salient interrogatories.
Need help creating your discovery plan? CEB has you completed covered in California Civil Discovery Practice, chapter 2. You can also get a framework for making strategic decisions about discovery in CEB’s Creating Your Discovery Plan.
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- Don’t Be Trapped by Your Deposition Outline
- Give Discovery Responses a Formal Introduction
- 5 Ways to Defeat Deposition Abuse
- 7 Rules for Drafting Interrogatories
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