Managing discovery objections can often be a challenge in litigation, especially when it is apparent that your opponent’s objections are made for purposes of delay or concealment. Here are three tips to effectively handle such objections and keep your case moving forward.
When opposing counsel objects to discovery requests, the first tip is persistence. Do not allow too much time to pass before addressing the issue with them. It is far better to address any discovery dispute when the topic is fresh in the parties’ minds. Further, prompt action can signal to your opponent that you take the discovery requests, and your opponent’s obligations seriously. Delaying in bringing any issue to the forefront will not serve you.
Resist the Urge to Respond in Kind
Resist responding in-kind when the time comes to serve your own responses. Court’s typically disfavor petty discovery disputes, and if you truly believe your opponent’s objections are improper, no problems are solved by following your opponent’s footsteps in serving evasive responses. Reverting to a combative style may not only further complicate the discovery process, but it may also unnecessarily escalate costs for your client.
Avoid a “Tit-for-Tat” Letter Writing Campaign
Finally, resist the temptation to engage in a back-and-forth letter-writing campaign. While every court that I practice before requires the parties to confer prior to the filing of a discovery motion, it is possible to do so in a manner that is productive, respectful, and professional.
First, it is often best to begin with a concise letter outlining your concerns regarding the propriety of the discovery objections at hand. Offer to set a time for a conference call to further discuss and work through the discovery objections. During the “meet and confer” process, it is important to keep an open mind. There have been many times in my career that requests I believed were proper could be viewed differently through the lens of the responding party.
After it has become apparent that you have explored reasonable options for compromise or resolution without the court, consider filing a motion. Your motion should be succinct and to the point, and outline the relevant responses and objections for the court’s consideration.