A civil lawsuit starts with filing a “complaint” and ends either by trial, appeal or settlement. However, the vast majority of time and expense is incurred in “discovery,” which is the process of both gathering evidence for trial and also requiring the opposing party to disclose, under penalty of perjury, the facts, documents and witnesses that support the opposing party’s claims or defenses. The purpose of discovery is to “‘make a trial less a game of blindman’s bluff and more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed to the fullest practicable extent.’” In other words, California’s “discovery laws were designed to prevent trial by ambush.”
This website attempts to provide an overview of the various discovery laws and rules that essentially provide that a party to a lawsuit with right to obtain evidence and also the duty to disclose the facts, documents and witnesses that support their claims or defenses.
The California Civil Discovery Law Resource Center website collects and shares information regarding California civil discovery issues for attorneys, judiciary and other court officials, and anyone else interested in discovery issues.