In order for the parties to find out information necessary to prove their cases at trial, they are allowed to engage in discovery before trial. The Ohio State Bar has prepared an informative video about Discovery in Civil Cases.
Discovery is an important process because it allows you to collect the information you need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of both your case and the case of the opposing party.
There are several discovery tools any party can use to get information from the other side:
- Interrogatories: written questions which one party may serve on the other. The recipient of the interrogatories is required to answer the questions completely within 28 days after they are received.
- Request for Admissions: written statements of fact which a party may serve on another party. The recipient must file a written response either admitting or denying each statement of fact within 28 days of receipt or the statements will be considered to be admitted.
- Request for Production of Documents: written demands for production of documents from the party on which they are served. The recipient must produce copies of all requested documents within 28 days of the receipt of the demand and may be required to appear at a certain place and time to produce the originals for inspection.
- Depositions: in-person interviews by one party of another or any non-party witness. The person called to a deposition must appear and answer questions under oath before a court reporter.
If a party does not comply with the requests for discovery, the court may prohibit parties from using the evidence, grant lawyer fees for the delay, or grant judgment to the opposing party.
When the judge believes that settlement is not possible, all discovery has been completed and all motions have been decided, the judge will set the matter for trial.