Working with your attorney when you are the plaintiff in California is the topic of this blog post.
This blog post is part one of a two part series.
The best way to work with your attorney when you are the plaintiff in California and are filing a complaint against any person or company is to develop a roadmap that will allow both you and your attorney to plan how best to present your side of the case in court.
Your attorney will be using the roadmap that you have both developed to enable them to come up with a comprehensive litigation strategy.
It is very important that you work with your attorney closely as that will greatly increase the likelihood you will either reach a favorable settlement or prevail at trial.
This article will discuss the important role of pretrial discovery as well as the various types of pretrial discovery when filing a complaint and how you can work with your attorney in this process.
The pretrial discovery process allows all parties to a lawsuit to request that the opposing party provide them with all information and documents that are relevant to their claims or defenses involved in that particular lawsuit. As a general rule the pretrial discovery process begins soon after the defendant has been served (as soon as 10 calendar days in some cases) although it varies as each case is unique. The pretrial discovery phase ends approximately 30 calendar days before the trial date in most situations.
Working with your attorney during the pretrial discovery phase is very important and can make the difference between winning and losing your case. The knowledge gained through pretrial discovery can enable your attorney to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both your case and the opposing party’s case; preparing for trial, and facilitating any possible settlement.
Most common forms of pretrial discovery.
Most common forms of pretrial discovery:
- Written interrogatories:
Written interrogatories are questions that are served on the opposing party and typically request that they provide all facts, identify all persons having personal knowledge of the facts, and identify all documents in support of the facts which support their claim or defense.
- Requests for production of documents:
Requests for production of documents are served on the opposing party requesting that they produce all documents supporting their case, including but not limited to, correspondence, bank and financial records, and other documents that are or may be pertinent to the issues involved in that particular lawsuit.
- Requests for admission:
Requests for admission are served to the opposing party requesting that they admit or deny certain pertinent facts, and/or admit that certain attached documents are genuine.
Requests for admission are designed to reduce the number of issues that have to be tried or to establish whether or not certain documents such as a contract are genuine. For example in a breach of contract case the plaintiff would serve requests for admission requesting, among other things, that the defendant admit that they signed the contract on a certain date and that a copy of the contract which is attached is a genuine copy of the contract that they signed.
Depositions are used to request that the opposing party be questioned under oath, typically in an attorney’s office regarding all matters that are relevant to any of the issues involved in that particular lawsuit. The party being deposed can also be requested to produce specified documents at the deposition as well. During the deposition a certified shorthand reporter creates a verbatim record of everything that is said during the deposition.
The responding party is required to verify their discovery responses under penalty of perjury except for depositions at which the party being deposed is questioned under oath.
Ways that you can assist your attorney:
There are several ways that you can assist your attorney in advocating more effectively on your behalf and developing a roadmap.
- Keep your attorney informed:
Tell your attorney every possible fact that might pertain to your case as soon as you hire them. Also provide your attorney with any and all documents or other items that might be relevant even if you are not sure whether that particular fact is even important. It is always better to disclose all of the information and documents that you have to your attorney. Your attorney has been trained to sift through information and documents to determine which are useful and which are not. Your attorney may be able to use a fact or document you thought was not important as the basis for a creative legal argument.
You should always be truthful when speaking with your attorney as they need to know every unpleasant fact that may come up in the litigation so that they can factor that into their litigation strategy. If you keep any secrets from your attorney that will place your case at greater risk of experiencing negative consequences. Those negative consequences could include a fact that you did not disclose to your attorney that comes up either in a deposition or at the trial. If your attorney is made aware of any negative information as soon as possible after you retain them this will give them plenty of time to prepare defensive maneuvers.
- Carefully prepare summaries, timelines, and other materials:
Most attorneys will request that you provide them with a summary of all important facts and dates leading up to the lawsuit. Providing a timeline along with a detailed written summary is best although your attorney may prefer that you provide the requested information in another format.
Be sure that whatever information you provide to your attorney is accurate because they will be using that information in filing your complaint and in planning their overall litigation strategy.
- Search thoroughly for any documents and information that support your case:
During the course of your lawsuit it is very likely that your attorney will request that you provide them with certain facts or a document relating to an important incident. Obviously you have much easier access to documents and information about your case than your attorney does. Always do everything that you can to provide your attorney with whatever facts or documents they have requested as soon as possible.
- Respond quickly to any requests from your attorney:
Litigation typically has very strict deadlines which your attorney has to work under. Responding quickly to any requests from your attorney will not only allow them to have more time to review the facts or documents that you have provided but will also allow them to do a better job of using what you have provided to prepare your case. If you aren’t able to respond quickly, let your attorney know as soon as possible. Your attorney might be able to get an extension of time from your opponent or the court, or rearrange other matters to accommodate the delay.
Schedule a consultation today with Nathan Mubasher.
Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.
Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:
Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660