Calling the Court for Help: The Rule 37 Motion to Compel
In the course of a given lawsuit, the parties will typically exchange a wide variety of documents and information throughout discovery. However, the scope and legitimacy of certain kinds of discovery requests sometimes winds up in dispute and sometimes a party to the lawsuit simply fails to comply with their discovery obligations.
Anything which is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” in a given lawsuit is generally subject to production in a case; however, requests can easily be drafted so that they are too broad in scope or perhaps subject the producing party to an undue burden. There are also other protections that can apply to documentation, including attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine.
Any of the above objections could be lodged in response to particular discovery requests–the applicability of the objections might be in dispute. And sometimes parties to a given case simply outright fail to meet their obligations to produce requested information. Where any of this is the case, the tool for resolution is likely to be a Rule 37 motion to compel discovery, which is one of the most commonly filed and heard motions in civil litigation.
Judges generally dislike motions to compel discovery though, and so Rule 37 specifically requires that you make a prior attempt to “meet and confer” with the other side in order to see if the dispute can be resolved. If that attempt does not produce the desired result, then a motion must be filed and heard before a judge.
Often times our clients have substantially complied with discovery but then we end up dealing with an opposing party who refuses to provide the discovery we’re entitled to. As frustrating as this is, we discourage our clients from playing the same game by withholding their own discoverable information. Doing so gives the other side justification for its own misconduct and makes it much harder for us to win a discovery motion.
If you’re struggling to get the information you need for your case, give the civil litigation attorneys at Asheville Legal a call today to find out how we can help move the ball and get you what you need.