Discovery Process

Prior to formal discovery there are a few things you can do to help your case.  First, compile a cast of characters.  This is just a document that will list the names, contact information, job title, if the person is friendly or adverse, brief description of what they saw and some background information on the person.  This is done so that you know who can back up what you claim.  It also gives me a chance to contact these people or to at least know what to expect in the way of testimony both for and against you.  I can utilize this as a road map for the case and to plan a strategy for discovery.  Discovery is the place where we can increase how much your case is worth.

The second item you should concentrate on is a chronology of what took place.  Start with your hire date and finish with your termination or the last relevant employment action.  Take a sheet of paper and list the date, event, witnesses, the job title of each witness and relevant documents.  These two documents, the cast of characters and chronology of events are going to be very helpful to your case.  When compiling the chronology of events write as much detail as possible.  List who else at work may have witnessed the event and if any written documentation exists.   The more time you spend on these two documents, the better your case will be.  Remember, you are the person at work with the claim, I can only get information about the case from you.  For this reason, provide as much as you can.  Just like the old saying, garbage in, garbage out. 

Formal Discovery is a legal process that begins once a lawsuit is filed.  In cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission discovery will not start until the other side files a verified answer and the Judge issues a discovery order.  In some cases discovery may begin before discovery but I won't address that here.  Discovery encompasses a wide variety of investigative tools including the following:
  • Interrogatories--Governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213, written questions, usually limited to 33, directed at the opposing party.  The answers must be made in writing, under oath and within 28 days.  These answers may be utilized during trial to impeach testimony, so it is very important to answer these questions truthfully and with the help of an experienced attorney. 
  • Request For Production of Documents-Governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 214, a request from the opposing party for specific documents which are relevant to the case or may lead to relevant information.  These documents must be produced within 28 days and a signed sworn statement must be attached testifying that the production of documents are complete and accurate.  If documents aren't produced, you may be prohibited from using the documents at trial.
  • Request For Admissions--Governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 216, written statements propounded to the opposing party in which they must either agree, disagree or state they do not have enough information to answer the question.  These must be answered within 28 days. 
  • Depositions-Governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rules 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207 and 212.  Oral questions which must be answered under oath.  A deposition may last up to three hours and may be video taped.  

Don't get intimidated by the process.  I will guide you through each step of the way. 

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