Discovery and Business Disputes: What You Should Know
Discovery is a pre-trial process during which parties to a lawsuit are required to exchange material information with one and other. If you or your company is involved in the early stages of business litigation in Florida, you need to know how discovery works. It is an important part of successfully resolving a case. Indeed, information obtained during discovery could help build the foundation of your case—whether you are bringing or defending a legal action. Here, our West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys highlight four things to know about discovery and commercial disputes.
- Discovery Helps to Determine If a Case Can Be Settled
Most business disputes are resolved without litigation. In fact, even if a lawsuit has already been filed, it is entirely possible that the parties will still reach settlement before a trial. During discovery, parties to a dispute are able to obtain a lot of information, which will go a long way to clarifying the strength of each party’s legal case. At this point in time, parties may be able to better determine if a case can reach a settlement.
- The Process Works in Both Directions
Whether your company is being sued or it is considering filing a lawsuit, it is important to understand that discovery runs in both directions. Put another way, both parties will get a chance to obtain relevant information from the other side and they will be required to turn over relevant evidence. Even if you are the one that filed the lawsuit, you are still subject to discovery. The defendant has the right to seek evidence.
- All Information Exchanged is Under ‘Oath’
During discovery, parties to a dispute have a legal duty to exchange complete and accurate information. For the purposes of Florida law, the discovery process is conducted under oath. In other words, failure to be forthright in providing documents, records, or other information during discovery is akin to providing false testimony while under oath. You must take discovery seriously.
- Two Aspects of Discovery: Documents and Testimony
As a general matter, the evidence exchanged during discovery can be divided into one of two categories: documents and testimony. In most civil cases, the parties will be given deadlines to turn over all relevant evidence and a deadline—sometimes the same deadline—to provide truthful answers to written questions sent by the other side. These questions are often called “interrogatories.” Should the case get deeper in the process, oral depositions may also be taken. However, that is not always the case—written answers to questions may be sufficient.
Call Our West Palm Beach, FL Business Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business law attorneys are standing by, ready to protect the rights of your company. We have extensive experience with all aspects of commercial litigation. If you have questions about discovery in a business law case, we are prepared to help. Call us at our West Palm Beach office or Miami office to arrange a confidential initial consultation.