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.