MORTGAGE RIGHTS
Introduction to Litigation Discovery  Our judicial system requires parties to freely exchange information about the case they are litigating. No one should be able to surprise the other side with an important piece of evidence at trial. In fact, the federal rules of civil procedure require the parties to produce certain documents at the very beginning of the case. As you can imagine, some lawyers engage in a great deal of gamesmanship to avoid making a meaningful disclosure. The games run from dreaming up a reason why a particular document does not have to be produced, for example through exaggerated claims of confidentiality, to burying the other side with documents with no guide to finding the needle in the haystack. One of my clients called this, "lawyer shadowboxing." He has a point! I have been practicing law for over 30 years, and lawyer game playing during discovery has always been a thorn in the side of judges. I avoid gameplaying because I do not want to have any problems getting my evidence in the record at trial and to keep on the good side of the judge. There are several methods of discovery: interrogatories, request for production of documents, requests to admit and depositions. Interrogatories Interrogatories are questions that the other side must answer. You will often see a lengthy set of instructions and/or definitions at the beginning of the document. The instructions and/or definitions may request that you include some specific information in your response. Here is an example of that in a definition: "Identify" has the following meanings: a. when used in reference to a document, it means to state 1. the date and description of the document; 2. the document's present location and the name and address of its custodian; 3. the name and address of the person who drafted, prepared, and signed the document; 4. any other descriptive information necessary to adequately describe the document. Lawyers draft the interrogatories, consulting with the client to make certain all of the important issues of fact have been included. Lawyers typically draft the responses too, also consulting with the client about the accuracy of the answer. If you are the client, you must review the responses carefully because the answers are treated as yours. If you give a different answer at trial, the other side's lawyer will use the conflicting versions to question your credibility. Of course, lawyers object to the instructions, the definitions, the questions etc. The objections and the lawyerly (read, "confusing as h**l") answers may make interrogatories less useful than they could be. Request for Production of Documents Requests for production of documents ask the other side to produce the documents listed or described in the request. Again, you may see lengthy instructions and/or definitions that affect the way you respond. The other side is required to produce the documents at a certain place and at a certain time. In the days before documents were routinely scanned, you had to go to the location and go through the documents. Usually, you would wind up in a windowless room with piles of boxes lining the walls. You skimmed every document in the box, placing flags on the ones you wanted copied. I work on class actions, and the cases usually involved hundreds of thousands of documents. You, and the other young lawyers from other firms, would spend days, if not weeks, combing through the documents. Life is much better now that documents are scanned. You can review the scanned images from the comfort of your own office. Fortunately, foreclosure cases involve a more manageable number of documents. It is important that you gather together all documents you have that relate in any way to the loan, your experience with the loan servicer and damages. Include everything. If you are represented, your lawyer will remove the documents that do not need to be produced. If you are doing this by yourself, produce everything. If you have a document that is going to kill your case, you have to produce it if the other side has asked for it. Requests to Admit Requests to Admit require you to admit or deny listed facts. For example, you may be asked to admit that you did not make a payment for May. Lawyers use requests to admit to nail down facts. If a party admits a fact, it is treated as conclusively established for the litigation. The party that is responding to a request to admit is held to a higher standard than the party had to meet when answering the complaint. For example, you may get away with answering a paragraph in a complaint with, "the defendant lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations in paragraph 6." You cannot give that answer to a request to admit without alleging that you conducted a reasonable inquiry. You cannot answer with a simple one-word denial,You have to be specific and fairly meet the substance of the requested admission. You have to be careful responding to a request to admit; you can only withdraw your answer with the court's permission. Be careful about deadlines. If you do not respond by the deadline (or get an extension of time), you will be deemed to have admitted everything in the request to admit. Depositions In a deposition, a lawyer questions a witness under oath with everything being recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are the most important discovery tool, in my opinion. I use them for two purposes, to discover facts I do not know and to nail down testimony before trial. I also use them to see what the witness is like under the pressure of answering questions. If you are going to be the witness, ask your lawyer to do a mock deposition before the real thing. Talk with your attorney about areas in which you are not confident. I have often dealt with witnesses who think a fact is going to lose the case, but who calm down when I explain how to handle questions about it. Often, the fact is not as deadly as the witness feared. Practice only answering the question that was asked, and do not volunteer information. Do not try to help the questioner out. It is their responsibility to prepare the right questions. Do not be a smartass. Bill Gates lost the Microsoft antitrust case by being an ass at his deposition. The deposition was recorded, and the other side played pieces of the video in the courtroom. The video was devastating. On the other hand, do not get comfortable with the attorney asking questions. Your opponent wants you to talk freely. They will try to get you to relax and open up, like neighbors talking over a cup of coffee. Stay on your guard. Answer the questions truthfully, but limit your response to the question that was asked. If your lawyer is going to depose a witness on the other side, try to spend some time discussing with your attorney the witness and what he or she might know. If your lawyer cannot spare enough time, jot down your ideas and give them to the lawyer. Your lawyer knows the law, but you know the facts. When I am representing a business, I always ask my clients to take me to school about the business and the industry it is in.
NEXT: Summary Judgment
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
The site does not provide legal advice. Neither Susan LaCava nor her law firm, LaCava Law, S.C., represent you until there is a signed retainer agreement.
Introduction to Litigation Discovery  Our judicial system requires parties to freely exchange information about the case they are litigating. No one should be able to surprise the other side with an important piece of evidence at trial. In fact, the federal rules of civil procedure require the parties to produce certain documents at the very beginning of the case. As you can imagine, some lawyers engage in a great deal of gamesmanship to avoid making a meaningful disclosure. The games run from dreaming up a reason why a particular document does not have to be produced, for example through exaggerated claims of confidentiality, to burying the other side with documents with no guide to finding the needle in the haystack. One of my clients called this, "lawyer shadowboxing." He has a point! I have been practicing law for over 30 years, and lawyer game playing during discovery has always been a thorn in the side of judges. I avoid gameplaying because I do not want to have any problems getting my evidence in the record at trial and to keep on the good side of the judge. There are several methods of discovery: interrogatories, request for production of documents, requests to admit and depositions. Interrogatories Interrogatories are questions that the other side must answer. You will often see a lengthy set of instructions and/or definitions at the beginning of the document. The instructions and/or definitions may request that you include some specific information in your response. Here is an example of that in a definition: "Identify" has the following meanings: a. when used in reference to a document, it means to state 1. the date and description of the document; 2. the document's present location and the name and address of its custodian; 3. the name and address of the person who drafted, prepared, and signed the document; 4. any other descriptive information necessary to adequately describe the document. Lawyers draft the interrogatories, consulting with the client to make certain all of the important issues of fact have been included. Lawyers typically draft the responses too, also consulting with the client about the accuracy of the answer. If you are the client, you must review the responses carefully because the answers are treated as yours. If you give a different answer at trial, the other side's lawyer will use the conflicting versions to question your credibility. Of course, lawyers object to the instructions, the definitions, the questions etc. The objections and the lawyerly (read, "confusing as h**l") answers may make interrogatories less useful than they could be. Request for Production of Documents Requests for production of documents ask the other side to produce the documents listed or described in the request. Again, you may see lengthy instructions and/or definitions that affect the way you respond. The other side is required to produce the documents at a certain place and at a certain time. In the days before documents were routinely scanned, you had to go to the location and go through the documents. Usually, you would wind up in a windowless room with piles of boxes lining the walls. You skimmed every document in the box, placing flags on the ones you wanted copied. I work on class actions, and the cases usually involved hundreds of thousands of documents. You, and the other young lawyers from other firms, would spend days, if not weeks, combing through the documents. Life is much better now that documents are scanned. You can review the scanned images from the comfort of your own office. Fortunately, foreclosure cases involve a more manageable number of documents. It is important that you gather together all documents you have that relate in any way to the loan, your experience with the loan servicer and damages. Include everything. If you are represented, your lawyer will remove the documents that do not need to be produced. If you are doing this by yourself, produce everything. If you have a document that is going to kill your case, you have to produce it if the other side has asked for it. Requests to Admit Requests to Admit require you to admit or deny listed facts. For example, you may be asked to admit that you did not make a payment for May. Lawyers use requests to admit to nail down facts. If a party admits a fact, it is treated as conclusively established for the litigation. The party that is responding to a request to admit is held to a higher standard than the party had to meet when answering the complaint. For example, you may get away with answering a paragraph in a complaint with, "the defendant lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations in paragraph 6." You cannot give that answer to a request to admit without alleging that you conducted a reasonable inquiry. You cannot answer with a simple one-word denial,You have to be specific and fairly meet the substance of the requested admission. You have to be careful responding to a request to admit; you can only withdraw your answer with the court's permission. Be careful about deadlines. If you do not respond by the deadline (or get an extension of time), you will be deemed to have admitted everything in the request to admit. Depositions In a deposition, a lawyer questions a witness under oath with everything being recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are the most important discovery tool, in my opinion. I use them for two purposes, to discover facts I do not know and to nail down testimony before trial. I also use them to see what the witness is like under the pressure of answering questions. If you are going to be the witness, ask your lawyer to do a mock deposition before the real thing. Talk with your attorney about areas in which you are not confident. I have often dealt with witnesses who think a fact is going to lose the case, but who calm down when I explain how to handle questions about it. Often, the fact is not as deadly as the witness feared. Practice only answering the question that was asked, and do not volunteer information. Do not try to help the questioner out. It is their responsibility to prepare the right questions. Do not be a smartass. Bill Gates lost the Microsoft antitrust case by being an ass at his deposition. The deposition was recorded, and the other side played pieces of the video in the courtroom. The video was devastating. On the other hand, do not get comfortable with the attorney asking questions. Your opponent wants you to talk freely. They will try to get you to relax and open up, like neighbors talking over a cup of coffee. Stay on your guard. Answer the questions truthfully, but limit your response to the question that was asked. If your lawyer is going to depose a witness on the other side, try to spend some time discussing with your attorney the witness and what he or she might know. If your lawyer cannot spare enough time, jot down your ideas and give them to the lawyer. Your lawyer knows the law, but you know the facts. When I am representing a business, I always ask my clients to take me to school about the business and the industry it is in.
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
The site does not provide legal advice. Neither Susan LaCava nor her law firm, LaCava Law, S.C., represent you until there is a signed retainer agreement.
Introduction to Litigation Discovery  Our judicial system requires parties to freely exchange information about the case they are litigating. No one should be able to surprise the other side with an important piece of evidence at trial. In fact, the federal rules of civil procedure require the parties to produce certain documents at the very beginning of the case. As you can imagine, some lawyers engage in a great deal of gamesmanship to avoid making a meaningful disclosure. The games run from dreaming up a reason why a particular document does not have to be produced, for example through exaggerated claims of confidentiality, to burying the other side with documents with no guide to finding the needle in the haystack. One of my clients called this, "lawyer shadowboxing." He has a point! I have been practicing law for over 30 years, and lawyer game playing during discovery has always been a thorn in the side of judges. I avoid gameplaying because I do not want to have any problems getting my evidence in the record at trial and to keep on the good side of the judge. There are several methods of discovery: interrogatories, request for production of documents, requests to admit and depositions. Interrogatories Interrogatories are questions that the other side must answer. You will often see a lengthy set of instructions and/or definitions at the beginning of the document. The instructions and/or definitions may request that you include some specific information in your response. Here is an example of that in a definition: "Identify" has the following meanings: a. when used in reference to a document, it means to state 1. the date and description of the document; 2. the document's present location and the name and address of its custodian; 3. the name and address of the person who drafted, prepared, and signed the document; 4. any other descriptive information necessary to adequately describe the document. Lawyers draft the interrogatories, consulting with the client to make certain all of the important issues of fact have been included. Lawyers typically draft the responses too, also consulting with the client about the accuracy of the answer. If you are the client, you must review the responses carefully because the answers are treated as yours. If you give a different answer at trial, the other side's lawyer will use the conflicting versions to question your credibility. Of course, lawyers object to the instructions, the definitions, the questions etc. The objections and the lawyerly (read, "confusing as h**l") answers may make interrogatories less useful than they could be. Request for Production of Documents Requests for production of documents ask the other side to produce the documents listed or described in the request. Again, you may see lengthy instructions and/or definitions that affect the way you respond. The other side is required to produce the documents at a certain place and at a certain time. In the days before documents were routinely scanned, you had to go to the location and go through the documents. Usually, you would wind up in a windowless room with piles of boxes lining the walls. You skimmed every document in the box, placing flags on the ones you wanted copied. I work on class actions, and the cases usually involved hundreds of thousands of documents. You, and the other young lawyers from other firms, would spend days, if not weeks, combing through the documents. Life is much better now that documents are scanned. You can review the scanned images from the comfort of your own office. Fortunately, foreclosure cases involve a more manageable number of documents. It is important that you gather together all documents you have that relate in any way to the loan, your experience with the loan servicer and damages. Include everything. If you are represented, your lawyer will remove the documents that do not need to be produced. If you are doing this by yourself, produce everything. If you have a document that is going to kill your case, you have to produce it if the other side has asked for it. Requests to Admit Requests to Admit require you to admit or deny listed facts. For example, you may be asked to admit that you did not make a payment for May. Lawyers use requests to admit to nail down facts. If a party admits a fact, it is treated as conclusively established for the litigation. The party that is responding to a request to admit is held to a higher standard than the party had to meet when answering the complaint. For example, you may get away with answering a paragraph in a complaint with, "the defendant lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations in paragraph 6." You cannot give that answer to a request to admit without alleging that you conducted a reasonable inquiry. You cannot answer with a simple one-word denial,You have to be specific and fairly meet the substance of the requested admission. You have to be careful responding to a request to admit; you can only withdraw your answer with the court's permission. Be careful about deadlines. If you do not respond by the deadline (or get an extension of time), you will be deemed to have admitted everything in the request to admit. Depositions In a deposition, a lawyer questions a witness under oath with everything being recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are the most important discovery tool, in my opinion. I use them for two purposes, to discover facts I do not know and to nail down testimony before trial. I also use them to see what the witness is like under the pressure of answering questions. If you are going to be the witness, ask your lawyer to do a mock deposition before the real thing. Talk with your attorney about areas in which you are not confident. I have often dealt with witnesses who think a fact is going to lose the case, but who calm down when I explain how to handle questions about it. Often, the fact is not as deadly as the witness feared. Practice only answering the question that was asked, and do not volunteer information. Do not try to help the questioner out. It is their responsibility to prepare the right questions. Do not be a smartass. Bill Gates lost the Microsoft antitrust case by being an ass at his deposition. The deposition was recorded, and the other side played pieces of the video in the courtroom. The video was devastating. On the other hand, do not get comfortable with the attorney asking questions. Your opponent wants you to talk freely. They will try to get you to relax and open up, like neighbors talking over a cup of coffee. Stay on your guard. Answer the questions truthfully, but limit your response to the question that was asked. If your lawyer is going to depose a witness on the other side, try to spend some time discussing with your attorney the witness and what he or she might know. If your lawyer cannot spare enough time, jot down your ideas and give them to the lawyer. Your lawyer knows the law, but you know the facts. When I am representing a business, I always ask my clients to take me to school about the business and the industry it is in.
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
The site does not provide legal advice. Neither Susan LaCava nor her law firm, LaCava Law, S.C., represent you until there is a signed retainer agreement.
Introduction to Litigation Discovery  Our judicial system requires parties to freely exchange information about the case they are litigating. No one should be able to surprise the other side with an important piece of evidence at trial. In fact, the federal rules of civil procedure require the parties to produce certain documents at the very beginning of the case. As you can imagine, some lawyers engage in a great deal of gamesmanship to avoid making a meaningful disclosure. The games run from dreaming up a reason why a particular document does not have to be produced, for example through exaggerated claims of confidentiality, to burying the other side with documents with no guide to finding the needle in the haystack. One of my clients called this, "lawyer shadowboxing." He has a point! I have been practicing law for over 30 years, and lawyer game playing during discovery has always been a thorn in the side of judges. I avoid gameplaying because I do not want to have any problems getting my evidence in the record at trial and to keep on the good side of the judge. There are several methods of discovery: interrogatories, request for production of documents, requests to admit and depositions. Interrogatories Interrogatories are questions that the other side must answer. You will often see a lengthy set of instructions and/or definitions at the beginning of the document. The instructions and/or definitions may request that you include some specific information in your response. Here is an example of that in a definition: "Identify" has the following meanings: a. when used in reference to a document, it means to state 1. the date and description of the document; 2. the document's present location and the name and address of its custodian; 3. the name and address of the person who drafted, prepared, and signed the document; 4. any other descriptive information necessary to adequately describe the document. Lawyers draft the interrogatories, consulting with the client to make certain all of the important issues of fact have been included. Lawyers typically draft the responses too, also consulting with the client about the accuracy of the answer. If you are the client, you must review the responses carefully because the answers are treated as yours. If you give a different answer at trial, the other side's lawyer will use the conflicting versions to question your credibility. Of course, lawyers object to the instructions, the definitions, the questions etc. The objections and the lawyerly (read, "confusing as h**l") answers may make interrogatories less useful than they could be. Request for Production of Documents Requests for production of documents ask the other side to produce the documents listed or described in the request. Again, you may see lengthy instructions and/or definitions that affect the way you respond. The other side is required to produce the documents at a certain place and at a certain time. In the days before documents were routinely scanned, you had to go to the location and go through the documents. Usually, you would wind up in a windowless room with piles of boxes lining the walls. You skimmed every document in the box, placing flags on the ones you wanted copied. I work on class actions, and the cases usually involved hundreds of thousands of documents. You, and the other young lawyers from other firms, would spend days, if not weeks, combing through the documents. Life is much better now that documents are scanned. You can review the scanned images from the comfort of your own office. Fortunately, foreclosure cases involve a more manageable number of documents. It is important that you gather together all documents you have that relate in any way to the loan, your experience with the loan servicer and damages. Include everything. If you are represented, your lawyer will remove the documents that do not need to be produced. If you are doing this by yourself, produce everything. If you have a document that is going to kill your case, you have to produce it if the other side has asked for it. Requests to Admit Requests to Admit require you to admit or deny listed facts. For example, you may be asked to admit that you did not make a payment for May. Lawyers use requests to admit to nail down facts. If a party admits a fact, it is treated as conclusively established for the litigation. The party that is responding to a request to admit is held to a higher standard than the party had to meet when answering the complaint. For example, you may get away with answering a paragraph in a complaint with, "the defendant lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations in paragraph 6." You cannot give that answer to a request to admit without alleging that you conducted a reasonable inquiry. You cannot answer with a simple one-word denial,You have to be specific and fairly meet the substance of the requested admission. You have to be careful responding to a request to admit; you can only withdraw your answer with the court's permission. Be careful about deadlines. If you do not respond by the deadline (or get an extension of time), you will be deemed to have admitted everything in the request to admit. Depositions In a deposition, a lawyer questions a witness under oath with everything being recorded by a court reporter. Depositions are the most important discovery tool, in my opinion. I use them for two purposes, to discover facts I do not know and to nail down testimony before trial. I also use them to see what the witness is like under the pressure of answering questions. If you are going to be the witness, ask your lawyer to do a mock deposition before the real thing. Talk with your attorney about areas in which you are not confident. I have often dealt with witnesses who think a fact is going to lose the case, but who calm down when I explain how to handle questions about it. Often, the fact is not as deadly as the witness feared. Practice only answering the question that was asked, and do not volunteer information. Do not try to help the questioner out. It is their responsibility to prepare the right questions. Do not be a smartass. Bill Gates lost the Microsoft antitrust case by being an ass at his deposition. The deposition was recorded, and the other side played pieces of the video in the courtroom. The video was devastating. On the other hand, do not get comfortable with the attorney asking questions. Your opponent wants you to talk freely. They will try to get you to relax and open up, like neighbors talking over a cup of coffee. Stay on your guard. Answer the questions truthfully, but limit your response to the question that was asked. If your lawyer is going to depose a witness on the other side, try to spend some time discussing with your attorney the witness and what he or she might know. If your lawyer cannot spare enough time, jot down your ideas and give them to the lawyer. Your lawyer knows the law, but you know the facts. When I am representing a business, I always ask my clients to take me to school about the business and the industry it is in.
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS
The site does not provide legal advice. Neither Susan LaCava nor her law firm, LaCava Law, S.C., represent you until there is a signed retainer agreement.
 MORTGAGE RIGHTS