Business disputes oftentimes lead to business litigation. No one wants to go down this route if they can avoid it, but sometimes there is no other option to attempt to resolve conflicts. For business leaders in New Jersey and New York who find themselves entangled in litigation, it can seem like the process drags on. In particular, the discovery phase of a lawsuit can seem to be a point where things bog down, as both sides of the dispute attempt to solidify the factual basis for their stance in the case.
So, what can our readers expect from the discovery phase of business litigation? Each case is unique, but there are a few methods that are common in most lawsuits: depositions, interrogatories and requests for production of documents.
Depositions are used by one side to ask questions of a principal person or potential witness on the other side. In business litigation, that person might be a CEO or CFO, for example. A deposition can be very much like what happens when a person testifies as a witness in a courtroom: an attorney asks the person questions, and the person must answer truthfully under oath. But, depositions typically occur in an office setting instead of in a courtroom, with only a few attorneys and a court reporter present.
Interrogatories are written questions sent by one side to the other. The discovery rules of the jurisdiction determine how many questions can be asked. The side that receives interrogatories must answer within a set amount of time. The same is true for requests for production of documents. These are a list of requests for specifically identified documents, or documents that are responsive to a certain inquiry, like all timesheets for a certain employee, for example. In the end, all business litigation is unique to the facts at hand, so the methods of discovery that are used in any given case will be different as well.