We’ve all heard of litigants burying an opponent in paper discovery documents as a litigation tactic. Not all of Slinde Nelson‘s Portland or Seattle business law clients have the kind of resources necessary to engage in that kind of fight, however. And the more resources your opponent has, the less likely that tactic is to succeed in any event.
If you have a strong claim or defense in a piece of business litigation, the best approach is to play it straight. You can show the other side that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case by tailoring your discovery requests.
Discovery is the process in litigation where each side is entitled to review the other side’s documents related to the case and take depositions of the other side’s witnesses. Many lawyers use discovery as an excuse to turn on the billing meter. They turn over every stone, often spending hundreds of thousands of their client’s dollars reading every document and email, and deposing every tangential witness.
In some cases, that is the appropriate or even necessary approach. In most cases, however, the key documents can be discovered with some narrowly tailored discovery requests that are aimed at unearthing the key documents in the case without finding them buried in a haystack of irrelevant junk.
Depositions of the key witnesses can reveal the information necessary to prosecute or defend your claims. If you’ve been in a piece of protracted litigation in Portland or Seattle, you know how expensive depositions can be.
Again, each case is different, and some cases require more of a scorched earth approach, but in many cases a more streamlined approach is both efficient and effective. Minimizing the number of documents you need to pay your lawyers to review, or the expensive depositions you pay your lawyers to take, can often be the right way to handle a strong case.