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Discovery in a Civil Lawsuit

Posted on : December 26, 2016
Discovery in a Civil Lawsuit

In our last blog post we discussed the process we discussed what happens when the insurance company refuses to pay you what you deserve. A “civil action” has been filed in State Court and the Complaint and Summons have been served upon the Defendant. What happens next? Discovery in a Civil Lawsuit happens next.

The Discovery Process

Once the Complaint and Summons are served upon the Defendant, and it is deemed to be proper service, the Defendant has thirty (30) days in which to answer the Complaint. The answer from the Defendant is pretty straightforward in that practically every paragraph is denied by the Defendant. Defendants do this for a number of reasons.

However, the best answer is to simply deny all allegations until such time those allegations are proved otherwise. As a side note, the rules only require notice be given in a Complaint. In other words, if you are rear-ended and suffer a severe brain injury, the Complaint need only state that your head was severely injured, not that you suffered a severe brain trauma with all of the medical terms spread over the Complaint.

The bottom line is that the State Court Defendant normally has 30 days to answer the Discovery once it is served upon them. When the Plaintiff serves Discovery upon the Defendant at the same time as the Complaint and Summons, the Defendant has 45 days to answer the Discovery. For more information, look at Rule 33 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.

DISCOVERY, WHAT?

Discovery, what? Not the space shuttle or a Land Rover, but we are talking about discovering what the Defendant and Plaintiff has in their possession in order to prove their cases. How is Discovery conducted? Discovery is a generally broad term used by Attorneys to speak of the time after which the initial pleadings (think complaint/answer) are completed.

Forms of Discovery include, Interrogatories (questions), Requests for Production of documents (give me your papers), Requests for Admission (admit or deny it is true), and Depositions (Attorneys ask the parties and witnesses questions under oath). Generally, the party receiving the Discovery has 30 days in which to answer the questions, produce the papers, and admit something is true.

As I told you in previous blogs, the Law Firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. carefully drafts each part of Discovery to each Defendant, for every case is different and requires the Discovery tailored exactly to fit the case’s needs.

INTERROGATORIES

Interrogatories are questions, nothing more and nothing less. A sample interrogatory would be “Please state your name, current home address, mobile telephone number, place of work and address, date of birth, and social security number.” It is that simple. So when you hear an Attorney mention Interrogatories, then simply think questions.

In the next blog post, we will discuss the other types of Discovery that I mentioned above for Discovery in a Civil Lawsuit . Also, in a future blog post I am going to discuss “MyCase” which allows the clients of Pepper & Odom, P.C. to log onto to their file and see what is happening with their cases. For personal injury Attorneys that get results, call us at Pepper & Odom Law Firm, 601-202-1111.

By: Attorney Daniel C. Jones

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