Discovery is a process undertaken in a lawsuit to learn about the opposing party’s knowledge, theories and witnesses. Often referred to as a “fishing expedition,” discovery allows a party to learn what another party or witness will testify to at trial, as well as their knowledge about facts which may be helpful or detrimental to that party’s position.
Discovery is often done through depositions (an oral examination under oath before a court reporter), interrogatories (written questions under oath), and requests for production of documents (written requests for documents). Another discovery tool allows a party to ask the other side to admit or deny certain facts.
In litigation, effective use of discovery will often determine the outcome of the case. Discovery also, in many instances, helps parties learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their case and to determine if settlement is in their best interest.