The Daily

More On Discovery

In movies, a large truck will pull up to a lawyer’s office with hundreds of document boxes inside. This is a dramatization of a problem your lawyer first learned about in school. Large companies try to take advantage of their size by producing everything they can find in response to any good discovery request. The hope is to bog the lawyer down in a fruitless effort to find the meaning among the meaningless. In effect, they build a haystack in which to hide the needle.

In a Ford rollover case, I remember my Dad traveling to Michigan after he asked Ford to produce seat belt information for the pickup model at issue. In a building outside Detroit used by Ford to house all their litigation discovery responses, he was allowed to search floor after floor. He took a week. You can read more about that amazing case and its crazy ending here.

By the time I was doing automobile product litigation against the major manufacturers on my own, we were in the early days of electronic discovery.

In a product liability case against Big Pharma, I sat in a steamy document production room in Kenner, Louisiana, with other lawyers from across the country categorizing millions of documents for class action litigation.

In the age of electronic record keeping, the software to keep track of discovery gets more and more advanced. But the principle remains the same – the defense will try to overwhelm your lawyer with paper to hide the material information that he needs to win your case. Your lawyer needs experience and technical know-how to cut through the nonsense. The more experience he or she has, the less likely he or she will be to delegate the task or cut corners. Which is what you want.