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Motion for Discovery (Explained: All You Need To Know)

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What Is A Motion For Discovery

A motion for discovery is a type of motion that a party to a civil lawsuit can file to request an order from the court compelling the other party to disclosure of certain documents, information, or material from the other party.

Typically, a party will file a discovery motion at the pre-trial stage when the parties are preparing their case to be heard by the court.

When filing a motion for discovery of evidence, it’s important that you or your attorney make a request that is specifically designed to get information relevant to the case.

The party filing the motion to discover must have a reasonable belief that the other party will likely have some information or records in their possession to disclose.

What Is A Motion In Court

A motion in court is a legal document filed requesting that a judge or the court make an order.

Typically, the party seeking a court order will file a motion for a particular legal matter to be addressed by the court.

A motion can be presented in writing or orally before a judge.

Consider a motion to be a procedural device where a party brings a specific issue to the court’s attention and seeks a judgment on that limited issue.

What Is Discovery In Law

Discovery in law is a stage in civil proceedings where the parties seek to get the disclosure of documents, evidence, or information from the other party.

In the United States, the legal system is designed to give civil claimants rights to ask the other party for information and documents as in most cases, the other party may have the most relevant pieces of facts and information necessary to resolve the dispute.

For example, if Company A sues Company B for damages, each company will have the right to submit a request for discovery asking the other party to disclose specific information, documents, or records.

Discovery Request

The discovery process is the procedural mechanism where parties to a lawsuit receive and exchange evidence relevant to the case.

In many states, the general rule is that a party does not have an automatic right to discovery.

As a result, if the party wishes to engage in discovery, it must formally request it.

Motions for discovery are motions that are presented by litigants wishing to engage in discovery.

For example, in a divorce case, a motion for discovery can request information relating to the other party’s income, assets, retirement accounts, phone records, children, and so on.

Motion For Discovery Definition

What is the definition of “motion for discovery”?

Discovery motions are legal requests filed by a party engaged in legal proceedings requesting an order from the court to compel the other party to disclose certain information, documents, or records.

In other words, a “motion” for “discovery” is a “request for an order” to get “information and documents”.

How To File A Motion For Discovery

Let’s look at how to file a motion for discovery to maximize the chances that the court will grant it.

Any motion for discovery must be filed in accordance with the applicable rules of civil procedure.

Keep in mind that this article is to provide you with general information and should not be considered as legal advice.

Be sure to consult a litigation attorney or a qualified lawyer to know exactly what to do for your case.

With that out of the way, let’s see how you can file a motion for discovery.

Specific Discovery Demand

A motion for discovery in court should be filed by making a specific demand pertinent to the case.

The party filing the motion for discovery must have reasons to believe that the other party has some information or record in its possession and that it would be relevant for the adjudication of the case.

In addition, the motion must specifically identify what information is being requested from the other party.

Motion Reasonableness 

Another factor to consider when filing a motion and demand for discovery is that the motion must be reasonable.

A “reasonable” demand will depend on the nature of the case, its complexity, and how much cost or burden it will put on the other party to disclose the information.

For example, if a plaintiff wants to sue the negligence of the other party relating to a car accident, it would be reasonable to get documents relating to the defendant’s driver’s license, automobile ownership, and so on.

However, it would not be reasonable to get every single email or record relating to the defendant’s car that had nothing to do with the car accident.

Filing of Motion

When the moving party has assessed the nature of documents it is looking to get from the other party, considers the request to be reasonable, and where the other party does not wish to voluntarily disclose, a motion for discovery can be filed.

The motion for discovery will need to state exactly what documents are needed from the other party and be reasonable for the court to allow it.

Once the other party receives the motion for discovery papers, it may choose to comply with it in some way or contest it.

Court Hearing

If the moving party’s motion to discover evidence is contested by the opposing party or counsel, then a hearing must be held where the court renders an order against the non-moving party, partially accepts the motion, or rejects it.

For the court to grant a motion for discovery, the request must comply with the civil rules of procedure.

For example, a party would not be able to compel another party through the courts to disclose client-attorney privileged information or records.

Alternatively, if a company has a trade secret of some kind, it may not be possible in some cases to compel another party to disclose sensitive business information or trade secrets.

Motion For Discovery Example

In the United States, each party generally has the right to ask for information, evidence, documents, materials, witness information, and make inspections in an attempt to prepare their case.

This is called the discovery process.

Let’s look at an example of when a motion for discovery may be filed in order to get a court order compelling the disclosure of evidence by a party.

Imagine that a plaintiff files a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In this context, the plaintiff needs to prove that the doctor acted in a way that deviated from the accepted norms and standards that a prudence and diligent doctor should have observed.

The plaintiff requests information relating to the doctor’s disciplinary record and certain email communications he may have exchanged with another doctor prior to causing the plaintiff damages.

The doctor’s attorney refuses to provide that information.

The plaintiff will then file a motion for discovery outlining why the request is reasonable and relevant to the case, demonstrating that the other party is unreasonably resisting discovery, and refusing the share the records.

In this case, the judge has to decide if the reluctant party should be ordered to disclose the information or should it protect the doctor by preventing irrelevant and unreasonable discovery requests.

Ultimately, the judge makes a decision and either accepts the plaintiff’s motion for discovery, partially grants it, or rejects it.

Motion of Discovery Takeaways 

So, what does motion for discovery mean?

How do you file a motion for discovery?

One of the most important phases in a civil lawsuit is the discovery phase.

Civil litigants will generally want to engage in discoveries as part of their process to begin preparing for trial.

Discovery is the formal process where the parties exchange information and records with one another and exchange witness information.

In certain cases, a party may have some information in their possession that the other party considers relevant and useful for their case.

If the party in possession of the information or record does not disclose it voluntarily, then the other party may file a motion for discovery.

For example, if a party sues another for breach of contract, the plaintiff may request specific payment records from the defendant to be shared during discovery.

If the other party refuses to share the required information, a motion can be filed asking for the discoverable information to be shared.

I hope I was able to explain to you the meaning of motion for discovery and what it entails.

Good luck!

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

What Is Motion for Discovery Overview

  • In the context of a lawsuit or legal proceedings, a party may use a discovery motion to ensure that it gets the disclosure of relevant information pertinent to the dispute
  • The purpose of a motion for discovery is to get certain records or information from the other party allowing the moving party to prepare its case for trial 
  • If the court grants the motion, it will then order the other party to respond to the requests formulated in the motion within a specific timeframe
  • The court may also refuse a motion for discovery if the request is not pertinent to the case, is abusive, is not reasonable, imposes significant burden on the other party, is targeting privileged information, or for other reasons 
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Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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