Discovery in Maryland Civil Litigation Cases

The discovery process is an essential aspect of a civil litigation case. The methods of discovery are written discovery, oral discovery, and third-party interviews. Sometimes discovery is formal and other times it is not. Read below to learn more about discovery in Maryland civil litigation cases. And if you have any questions, reach out to an accomplished civil litigation lawyer today.

Tools of Discovery

Each court has different rules that are controlled by statute rules of the court. The civil litigations attorney must know what the courts require. Generally, everyone has the same tools of discovery which are interrogatories, requests for admissions, or requests for production of documents. Depositions allow the attorney to question the witnesses or parties under oath. The lawyer has the power to subpoena people and third parties, and the power to use expert witnesses who may testify to certain issues that are difficult for the jurors to fully comprehend without an explanation from an expert witness. These tools are the same across all jurisdictions although they might have different names. An attorney might use things that are not specifically discovery such as hiring a private investigator or conducting online research. They might conduct interviews of third parties on their own that are on the record. Discovery in Maryland civil litigation cases allows the attorneys to learn more about what the case is about.

Documents Needed to be Obtained for Discovery

Depending on the case, the documents a person needs are the ones they believe will help them make their case. The attorney should know how to structure their document requests involving corporate conduct and look for certain documents that regulate how corporate officers are supposed to conduct themselves.

The most effective tool is email. Emails are crucial in civil litigation. But other helpful documents in civil litigation typically are business records, financial records, medical records or other transactional records, such as contracts or drafts of contracts. The attorney wants documents that show the transaction at issue and the drafts of those to get an idea about what people were thinking as they worked towards their final version of documents. The lawyer wants anything that might poke holes in their theory of the case. If there are agreements that undercut their version of events or documents, they need those too.

What is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a command from the court to appear at a time and place for a hearing or deposition. The practicalities of serving a party with a subpoena revolve around where the person is located and the rules of the court for issuing subpoenas. People or entities that are within the jurisdiction the attorney is working in are subject to the subpoena power of their local courts. The attorney cannot issue a subpoena for a person who lives in California because the subpoena power of Maryland has no authority in California. Subpoenas have jurisdictional limits imposed by each court. That means the subpoena power of the state does not cross over into another state. The attorney must comply with the other states’ rules if they want to subpoena a person or entity from a distant state.

Witness Testimony

There are two ways to invite witnesses to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf. If the witness is friendly and their testimony is favorable, an attorney could coordinate their testimony with them informally. Presumably, the individual wants to help and is willing to do so. Subpoenas are served by a process server and people might get upset about that. One way to invite a witness to testify is to ask and schedule. That is the best way. The other way is to issue a subpoena and command that an individual be in court at the time and place of their choosing if they are a hostile witness.

If you have any questions about discovery in Maryland civil litigation cases, get in touch with a dedicated lawyer today.