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. Judge Orders All Documents Unsealed in Garlock Bankruptcy

    October 17, 2014 | News and Blog

    National Law Journal reports that a federal judge has ruled on Thursday that "all of the evidence that led him to find misrepresentations by plaintiffs" in the Garlock Sealing Technologies asbestos-related bankruptcy case must be unsealed.... Read More

  2. In The News Today - September 29, 2014

    September 29, 2014 | News and Blog

    The Department of Justice has emerged as a "formidable banking regulator," writes Thomas P. Vartanian, chairman of the financial institutions practice at Dechert LLP. ... Read More

  3. In The News Today - September 25, 2014

    September 25, 2014 | News and Blog

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has submitted an amcius brief urging the Fifth Circuit not to overturn an order limiting discovery in long-running False Claims Act litigation in which "two whistleblowers allege State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. submitted fraudulent Hurricane Katrina claims to the National Flood Insurance Program", arguing that further discovery by the plaintiffs is unwarranted.... Read More

  4. Justice Catches Up To "Shakedown Specialist" Tort Lawyers

    August 28, 2014 | News and Blog

    According to an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, plaintiffs' firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd has been ordered to pay sanctions for fabricating evidence from a key witness in their securities fraud lawsuit against Boeing in 2009.... Read More

  5. In the News Today - February 25, 2014

    February 25, 2014 | News and Blog

    With discovery accounting for 50 to 90 percent of litigation costs, the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules is considering changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that would narrow pretrial discovery burdens.... Read More

  6. Kyl: Reforms Needed to Ease Discovery Burden

    January 21, 2014 | News and Blog

    Excessive litigation costs are hurting American companies and scaring foreign companies away from investing in the U.S., writes former Senator Jon Kyl in the Wall Street Journal.... Read More

  7. In the News Today - January 8, 2014

    January 08, 2014 | News and Blog

    Drafters of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act filed an amicus brief in the Halliburton fraud-on-the-market case, writing that the 1995 law did not address the theory.... Read More

  8. Congress Takes Up Skyrocketing Costs of E-Discovery

    November 06, 2013 | News and Blog

    A Congressional hearing looked at possible reforms that are intended to reduce the time and cost of civil litigation.... Read More

  9. U.S. Chamber Hails Introduction of Exculpatory Evidence Bill in U.S. Senate

    March 15, 2012 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act of 2012 in the U.S. Senate. The bill would require that federal prosecutors disclose evidence that is favorable to the defendant in the course of a criminal proceeding; outline when such evidence must be disclosed; and, provide meaningful remedies for violations of the rule.... Read More

  10. The Centre Cannot Hold: The Need for Effective Reform of the U.S. Civil Discovery Process

    May 13, 2010 | Research

    This paper examines the escalating crisis in the U.S. civil discovery system and how it can be remedied. Part I discusses the origins and development of civil discovery in the U.S., which sowed the seeds of the current crisis. Part II discusses how electronic discovery has led to increased abuses of the discovery system. Part III discusses prior efforts to reform civil discovery in the U.S. and why they have been largely ineffective. And Part IV discusses potential remedies to the problem, taking particular note of the relative merits of the approaches being adopted in various states, as well as reforms suggested by practitioners, such as the American College of Trial Lawyers.... Read More