As a discovery referee in family law matters, I often come upon issues where opposing counsel does not think the Discovery Act applies to their proceeding. They argue that it is not necessary to make a diligent search and a reasonable inquiry when producing documents because everything is informally provided or that they don’t need to respond to the interrogatories because opposing counsel has all the information he needs because they talked about it on the phone three weeks ago. My favorite argument was that the rules of evidence do not apply to family law. These misconceptions are due to the fact that there is a lot of informality in family law between the parties and between the parties and the court. Continue Reading The Discovery Act Applies In Family Law
Last week I received a phone call from an attorney asking what is the authority that says a party has the right to conduct discovery. I responded, “The Discovery Act!” Counsel stated that they needed more because a special master in their construction defect case refused to allow them to serve discovery and was demanding authority to prove that they had such a right. I thought it was such a basic concept in civil litigation that I was amazed that it even was an issue.
I went to the discovery treatises in order to provide the attorney with authority. I reviewed Weil and Brown California Practice Guide Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2013), California Civil Discovery (Hogan and Weber 2013) California Discovery Citations (TRG 2013) and California Civil Discovery Practice (CEB 2013). The CEB treatise had the best discussion regarding a party’s right to discovery in a civil action. The following is an excerpt from the book: Continue Reading You Have The Right To Conduct Discovery!!