The Process of Obtaining Evidence by a Lawsuit is called Discovery: Learn about the Discovery Process in This Post

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Personal Injury Litigation Attorney

Whenever there is a lawsuit, there is a period called discovery in which both parties can find out evidence that is fair game to be used at trial and argued over in court.  Once this discovery period of time ends, parties can no longer ask of evidence and other materials from their adversary or third parties. The day in which the discovery period ends is called the “discovery-end-date.”  Unless exceptional circumstances are shown by a party attempting to get particular evidence into the recover in the court will usually bar that party’s request.

For example in a recent personal injury matter, a client was involved in a car accident.  She suffered permanent injuries and so much pain that she could not go to work anymore.  Following the accident she underwent frequent doctor examinations and even had an economics expert prepared to support her loss of income.  Several months after the discovery-end-date had passed – and trial was approaching she was able to collect more evidence for her case.  It was important that we included updated medical and economic impact reports to supplement the evidence submitted before the discovery end date expired.

Our adversary filed a brief to support of a motion they made to bar (prevent from including) the supplementary discovery materials discussed above.  They cited a N.J. Court Rule that said no evidence can be admitted after the D.E.D. expired.  That rule provides however that if we are able to show exceptional circumstances existed which precluded us from getting the evidence in on a timely manner, we can get these important supplementary discovery materials into the case.

There were four points that we argued and eventually won on in our response opposing our adversary’s motion:

  1. We were diligent in pursuing discovery.
  2. The supplementary discovery materials were essential to the case.
  3. We provided reason(s) for failure to request an extension of the discovery period.
  4. The circumstances surrounding the failure to complete discovery within the designated period was beyond our control.

All of our arguments hinged on the fact that the relevant supplementary discovery materials which significantly helped our case were renewed expiration if after the D.E.D. had expired.  How in the world did the court expect us to account for future reports that we did not know what they would prove/disprove?

The exceptional circumstance was that all of the relevant material became available after the D.E.D had passed.

To discuss your NJ Personal Injury Litigation matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

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