Before anyone ever sets foot in a courtroom, much research has been done in the form of pre-trial discovery. Discovery is responsible for the bulk of time—and many expenses—involved with a lawsuit. As the plaintiff in a case involving the copyright infringement of one of my novels, I’ve had close-up look at how it all works. I’ve posted about initial disclosures and interrogatories, so today I’ll address another part of the discovery process: admissions of fact and requests for production.
Admissions of Facts
Admissions of facts is when each party lists facts which the other party must admit or deny. Generally, these are facts the requesting party is confident they can prove, but occassional for an unprepared attorney it’s a fishing expedition. Wording of these admissions is important. If you have any objection about the wording, or can admit/deny only in part, talk to your attorney so he can help you respond. You want to be very honest in your answers, but at the same time, you don’t want the opposing party to be able to infer something from your statement that is not true.
If you have nothing to hide, admissions of facts should not be difficult.
Properly responding to admissions prevents wasted time in court. Admissions are often sent with interrogatories, and they are notarized and treated as being answered under oath. Needless to say, if a respondent denies an admission, which in fact is true and it is later proven to be true, the admission will stand as evidence of their dishonesty. Again, honesty and disclosure are the best policy if you have nothing to hide.
Reproduction of Documents
The most tedious part of discovery after the initial disclosures is the reproduction of documents. If you have done a thorough job in the initial disclosures, however, many of the documents requested will have already been shared with the opposing party. This includes screenshots, social media posts, bank statements, affidavits, video, emails, and so forth. Reproductions often correspond to the interrogatories and admissions, asking for the documents to back up the statements. It can be very tedious, time-consuming, and costly to gather these documents. If you feel the opposing party has requested something that has no bearing on the case, or if you have any other objection, again you should discuss with your attorney. As with other parts of discovery, fully reproducing relevant documents in important and should be done honestly and thoroughly.
If the opposing party does not respond or concede with any discovery requests (interrogatories, admissions, or reproductions) you can petition the court to compel more information.
In my case we are past the initial disclosures, interrogatories, admissions, and reproductions, but there is still a lot of work to be done in these areas. I am grateful for my talented attorney, Shawn P. Bailey, who has done excellent work on the case. Click here to read more and to donate to help send a message to protect authors’ copyright.
Next time we’ll talk about subpoenas and depositions and their role in discovery and copyright lawsuits.