Welcome back! Here is part two of our 5-part series on the discovery process in Texas Court. Discovery is the stage where parties gather information from each other before going to trial. After the parties submit written questions to each other regarding clarity in the case (interrogatories), the next phase is "request for production."
Requests for production are similar to interrogatories but instead of a person's response to questions, parties seek objective evidence. Documents, videos, photos, electronically-stored information, and any tangible items are included. This request must specify the items, as well as a reasonable time and place for the items to be produced (usually within 30 days of the request). The party may be able to test the items, such as audio or video, to make sure the information sought is available and clear.
It is important to be mindful of what you request because hard data can swing both ways as far as showing different sides of a case. For example in a divorce case where the wife accuses the husband of infidelity, the wife might request text messages from the husband's phone that can corroborate that claim. She must be aware though that all of her text messages are also fair game, and her messages could contain evidence that might be used against her. This is especially vital if the messages have been erased and she cannot verify if her messages contain incriminating evidence or not.
Some other elements of requests for production include the destruction of evidence - where an item may not be destroyed unless authorized by the court, expenses of production - the rule that the requesting party must pay for the acquisition of items (inspections, testing, photography), and a motion for entry - where a party main gain entry to a property to gather evidence and samples.
Hard data is undeniable, and its inclusion in the case is vital. The requests for production phase allows this information to be uncovered, scrutinized, and used in a proper way for parties to argue their case. The discovery process continues with "request for disclosure," which we'll get into for the next post. Remember, if you believe you are involved in a situation that requires legal action, please call Reich and Binstock today.