Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Snarky Lawyer Returns: Discovery Disputes

I have one case that is beginning the discovery phase of the litigation. My client is a corporation and we are suing another corporation for fucking up our chi a myriad of legitimate business reasons regarding my client’s relationship with Acme Steel.

When the litigation began in this case, we had certain snippets of documents that we believed, if seen in total, would make our case. In our minds (fancy schmancy lawyering minds) once we got the documents, they would want to settle.

The requests for documents that were sent out were very specific. Like incredibly specific: “The memorandum issued by John Smith on 1/1/2007 re: Acme Steel and the Plaintiff” and “the contract between Defendant and Acme Steel.” [For the non-lawyers reading this, we typically issue broad based discovery like “Any and all documents relating to John Smith” or “All contracts that the Defendant has entered into. Ever.”]

Today, after a long delay, I received the Defendant’s response. The envelope sat neatly on my desk, I happily tore it open, realized that it was awfully brief in content and began to read:

Plaintiff’s Production Request #1: The memorandum issued by John Smith on 1/1/2007 re: Acme Steel and The Plaintiff.

Defendant’s Response: Defendant objects to this production request as it is overly broad.
All of their responses were exactly the same. And there was not a single document produced with it. Cue my sad face.

The Illinois Supreme Court believes that lawyers should work out their discovery differences. Because, as one judge once told me, he doesn’t like dealing with this bullshit. Thus, I am drafting my letter aimed at resolving this discovery dispute:
Dear Counsel:

I understand that you are a complete and total moron and I forgive you for that.

I’ve enclosed a copy of the definition of broad for your reference. I’ve also enclosed a copy of my discovery requests. Please comply in full within seven days of this letter.

I prefer to leave the Court out of this little discovery tiff, but if you fail to fully comply, I will bring the Court in on this. And you will have to explain to the judge, a packed courtroom full of your colleagues and a court reporter that I’ll bring along how asking for a specific relevant document is “overly broad.” I’m sure that the entire courtroom full of lawyers will be sympathetic to your plight and not laugh at you. However, I must warn you, the court reporter might not be able to keep a straight face.

I look forward to reviewing your produced documents.

Very truly yours,

Namby Pamby
Hack lawyers annoy me.