How Do You Get Evidence In A Business Law Case?
In a typical business law case, there can be a lot of evidence that your business law attorney needs to gather to prove your case, or to defend against any allegations that are made against you. At trial, we always see lawyers with lots of paperwork, evidence, and witnesses. But how does an attorney get that information?
No Real Surprises
Information in any lawsuit, business law or not, and to some extent even in criminal law cases, is obtained in the process known as discovery. Unlike what you see on TV, where it seems that everything shown at trial is a surprise to the other side, in a real court, both sides have already gotten all the information the other side has (if they’ve done their job right). There are rarely any huge surprises by the time a case gets to trial.
Some ways that a party can get this information from the other side include:
- Interrogatories – Interrogatories are written questions that the other side has a specified time to answer. The answers are provided back to the answering party in writing, and the answers are provided under oath, under penalty of perjury.
You can ask almost anything in an interrogatory, so long as it isn’t privileged (such as attorney client privilege or trade secrets) or harassing. Written responses can sometimes be detailed—but if they aren’t, or if the question isn’t properly and fully answered, you can go to court and ask that they be completed more fully
- Documents – Again, subject to certain privileges, you can ask the other side to give you documents that are relevant to any matter in the case. In a major commercial litigation case, there can be an enormous amount of documents exchanged by the parties.
- Depositions – Depositions are where someone is asked questions verbally, in person. Everything said in deposition is transcribed by a court reporter, and the responses are made under oath, again under the penalty of perjury. Not everyone who is deposed necessarily will testify in trial. A great deal of information can be obtained in the course of a typical deposition.
We often think about deposing the other side—whoever we are suing or whoever is being sued. But you can depose anybody, and often, third parties have vital information that can be obtained in a deposition. In a major case, there can be 10, 20 or more witnesses that sit for deposition.
- Third Party Subpoenas – Sometimes, documents that you need aren’t in the possession of the other party. They are in the possession of a third party—a person or entity that is not a part of the lawsuit. You have the right to ask these parties for information they have, that you may need in your case.
Do you have the evidence you need for your business law case? We can help. Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.