“Discovery” is a legal term, but it really means nothing more than the process for all the parties in a lawsuit to discover things relevant to the lawsuit. Instead of using flashlights and maps, attorneys discover things by asking written questions (called interrogatories) and asking for documents (subpoenas and requests for production of documents.) The defendants find out things about the plaintiff, such as employment, marriage and medical history. On behalf of the plaintiff, Kazan Law finds out relevant information about who was responsible for the asbestos exposure at different places and at different times. Using this information, each side puts together its case.
One form of discovery that directly impacts every client is the deposition. This is a legal proceeding that takes place in or near the plaintiff’s home or at our offices. The plaintiff, under oath and on video, answers questions posed by the attorneys. We start and ask the first round of questions, then the attorneys for the defendants have their chance. The deposition is sometimes over in a couple of hours, but on other occasions the defendants stretch it out for more than a day. An experienced Kazan Law attorney will meet with the client before the deposition – to explain what will happen, prepare the client, and address the client’s concerns – and will protect the client throughout the deposition.
We do our best not to disrupt our clients’ lives, so we try to limit the time we take for the deposition, document review, and other preparation.
Behind the scenes, our team of investigators gathers information from many sources, to identify the asbestos products that the client was exposed to, and to identify the companies responsible for the products and for “safety” at the site. They are likely to contact co-workers, review depositions, visit libraries and archives, query our in-house databases, search our records collections, contact other law offices that might have information on the topic, access government document collections, and examine company records. They leave no stone unturned as they expand upon the information gathered at the first interview. It is not uncommon for them to review thousands of pages and talk to over a hundred potential witnesses.
If our client is in poor health, this stage of the case is usually compressed into a couple of months. However, if there is no medical urgency, the to and fro of the discovery process between plaintiffs and defendants can extend over many months.