When Can Plaintiff Serve Discovery in California
Discovery is a crucial phase in the litigation process. It allows both parties to gather relevant information and evidence to support their case. In California, the plaintiff can serve discovery on the defendant after the defendant has been served with the summons and complaint. This article will delve into the specifics of when a plaintiff can serve discovery in California, including the different types of discovery available, and provide answers to frequently asked questions.
When Can Plaintiff Serve Discovery?
In California, once the defendant has been served with the summons and complaint, the plaintiff can then serve discovery requests on the defendant. This typically occurs after the defendant has filed a responsive pleading, such as an answer or demurrer. However, the plaintiff can also serve discovery before the defendant’s responsive pleading, known as service of discovery in a “limited scope” case.
Types of Discovery in California
There are several types of discovery available in California, including interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and depositions.
Interrogatories: These are written questions that one party serves on another party. The responding party must provide written answers under oath within a specified time frame.
Requests for Production of Documents: This type of discovery allows one party to request the other party to produce relevant documents, electronically stored information (ESI), or tangible things for inspection and copying.
Requests for Admissions: These are written requests asking the other party to admit or deny certain facts. If the responding party fails to respond within the time frame, the matters will be deemed admitted.
Depositions: A deposition is an oral examination of a witness under oath. It allows the parties to ask questions and obtain testimony from witnesses, including the opposing party.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can a plaintiff serve discovery before filing a lawsuit?
A: No, the plaintiff can only serve discovery after the defendant has been served with the summons and complaint.
Q: Is there a time limit for serving discovery in California?
A: Yes, there are specific time limits for serving discovery in California. Generally, discovery requests must be served within 30 days after the defendant’s responsive pleading, or within 45 days for a limited scope case.
Q: Can a plaintiff serve multiple types of discovery simultaneously?
A: Yes, a plaintiff can serve multiple types of discovery simultaneously, such as interrogatories and requests for production of documents.
Q: Can the defendant object to the discovery requests?
A: Yes, the defendant has the right to object to certain discovery requests if they are overly broad, unduly burdensome, or seek privileged information.
Q: What happens if the defendant fails to respond to the discovery requests?
A: If the defendant fails to respond to the discovery requests within the specified time frame, the plaintiff can file a motion to compel, asking the court to order the defendant to respond.
Q: Can the plaintiff serve additional discovery requests after the initial ones?
A: Yes, the plaintiff can serve additional discovery requests if new information or evidence comes to light during the course of the litigation.
Q: Can the plaintiff use the discovery responses as evidence at trial?
A: Yes, the plaintiff can use the discovery responses as evidence at trial, subject to the rules of evidence.
In California, a plaintiff can serve discovery on the defendant after the defendant has been served with the summons and complaint. The different types of discovery available include interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and depositions. It is important for both parties to understand the rules and deadlines associated with serving and responding to discovery requests to ensure a fair and efficient litigation process.