To prove claim in court, need evidence. Allegations in pleadings are just a start...
- Evidence law complicated, can't fully appreciate it until Evidence in 2nd year.
- We will think of evidence less technically, and (see Yeazell, bottom pp.408/409) look it as "that which proves or disproves something the law says matters."
- In real world of civil litigation, discovery consumes a lot of time and resources. To really get this subject, real-world experience is really key—Q&A mastery comes with experience.
- Formal requirements of discovery do not occupy the full field of information flow, a lot of time discovery takes a more informal form.
Until a decade ago, no obligation to turn anything over that was not specifically asked for in discovery.
- Former goal: to comply in a technically accurate manner but as narrow as possible in a form that's hardest for other side to use.
- This hands-off approach considered time consuming and detrimental to less-skilled attorneys and their clients.
- Too much of a "game" for the drafters of the FRCP.
- So in early 90s, various districts experimented with mandatory initial "disclosure."
- Later adopted across all districts in the full-out FRCP.
- Certain materials you know are material must be turned over, even without a specific request.
- Witnesses (to car accidents, for example), copies of contracts at issue in suit, etc.
- THEN move to interrogatories, document requests, depositions, etc.
Basic organizing concept of relevance. (Rule 26
, p.71 of Suppl.)
- Relevant to any claim or defense, includes all non-privileged information.