Discovery is the pretrial process in which each party in a lawsuit gets evidence from the opposing party through interrogatories, requests for documents, admissions and depositions. Originally designed to prevent trials by ambush and to ensure fairness in litigation, plaintiffs’ attorneys now routinely abuse the process to burden defendants in hopes of forcing them into a quick, costly settlement. Read More...

One party may demand excessive amounts of unnecessary information, which in turn imposes significant costs. The defending party will then often find it more economical to settle the case, rather than increase the high costs of producing the unnecessary amounts of evidence, as they are responsible for covering these costs, not the requester. Additionally, defendants filing motions challenging what are acceptable discovery requests also wastes time and resources. As a result, defendants face pressure to settle quickly rather than endure lengthy, burdensome discovery requests, as U.S. courts rarely impose loser-pays obligations.

Discovery abuse has become increasingly problematic in recent years due to the introduction of electronic data storage. Not only has the volume of documents expanded, but the need to store large volumes of electronic data has required companies to dedicate entire floors to support attorneys reviewing documents – at a cost that can easily run into the millions of dollars.

ILR collaborates with organizations with the common goal of educating litigators and judges to ensure that new discovery provisions are implemented in practice. Those seeking discovery documents should be required to pay the costs of the information they request, which would stifle plaintiff lawyers using discovery as a weapon to pressure settlement of claims, regardless of their merit.


Suggested Resources


All Results for Discovery

  1. MDLs Surge to Majority of Entire Federal Civil Caseload

    March 15, 2019 | News

    For the first time, multidistrict litigation makes up more than half of the federal civil caseload, according to a new Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) study profiled by Law360.... Read More

  2. Unstable Foundation:
    Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It

    October 24, 2017 | Research

    Unstable Foundation examines the pervasive flaws afflicting the United States' class action system. Class actions rarely provide meaningful compensation for class members, and are poorly suited to deterring wrongful conduct.... Read More

  3. 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice

    September 10, 2015 | Research

    101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system. It considers fair and effective measures to improve the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, and rein in excessive awards.... Read More

  4. Law Prof Traces Deceptive Practices in Garlock's RICO Cases to Baron & Budd Law Firm

    February 25, 2015 | News and Blog

    Legal Scholar Lester Brickman's memo in the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy traces the roots of "many of the firms Garlock claimed were manipulating their clients' evidence" to Baron & Budd Law Firm.... Read More

  5. Law Professor Memo Asserts Discovery Abuse by Plaintiffs Firms in Garlock Case

    February 24, 2015 | News and Blog

    A memo submitted by a law professor to federal Judge George Hodges in the Garlock Sealing Technologies' bankruptcy proceedings alleges discovery abuse by plaintiffs' firms. ... Read More

  6. In The News Today - January 8, 2015

    January 08, 2015 | News and Blog

    Two days after the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial about "how former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg is trying to make public potentially exculpatory evidence that the U.S. Justice Department has been keeping under seal," the DoJ announced they will "let the sun shine on the evidence."... Read More

  7. In The News Today - December 19, 2014

    December 19, 2014 | News and Blog

    Gulf Oil Spill claims administrator Patrick Juneau set a June 8, 2015 deadline for individuals and businesses to claims as part of BP's estimated $9.7 billion settlement. ... Read More

  8. Chevron Granted Discovery Against Ecuador's NY-Based PR Firm

    December 02, 2014 | News and Blog

    Chevron has been granted the ability to conduct discovery regarding the country of Ecuador's $6.4 million public relations contract with Brooklyn, NY firm MCSquared, thanks to a ruling by New York federal judge Lewis Kaplan.... Read More

  9. In The News Today - November 4, 2014

    November 04, 2014 | News and Blog

    J.P. Morgan says it may lose as much as $5.9 billion "related to litigation in excess of its legal reserves." ... Read More

  10. In The News Today - October 30, 2014

    October 30, 2014 | News and Blog

    In addition to "90 percent of asbestos cases in Madison County" being filed for out of state residents, defense attorneys say one way to shrink what has become a "national asbestos docket would be to reduce the number of cases set for trial during each trial week."... Read More