Discovery is the process of gathering and exchanging evidence for a court case from the other side. Both sides must follow rules when turning over and asking for evidence.
What is discovery?
Discovery is the legal process that lets each side of a suit ask the other side for information that is related to the case.
Why is discovery used?
Discovery is used to help parties discover and collect information or evidence about the case. During discovery, each party must show the other side evidence they plan to use during trial.
What sort of information is exchanged?
Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 192.3 outlines the scope of discovery. Generally, a party may ask for any information that is not privileged and is relevant to the lawsuit. The information exchanged during discovery can include responses to questions, production of documents, statements, and identification of potential witnesses.
Are there different types of discovery requests?
Yes. There are various types of discovery requests in Texas. Some include:
Requests for Disclosures
Requests for Admissions
Request for Production, Inspection, or Entry
Mental or physical examinations
Am I required to give the other side anything?
Yes. During discovery, both parties must exchange evidence they plan to use during trial and certain disclosures are automatically required in every case. These are called “Initial” or required disclosures.
Can I get any information I want?
No. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 192.3 outlines the scope of discovery. Generally, a party may ask for any information that is not privileged and is relevant to the lawsuit.
What is relevant evidence?
Texas Rules of Evidence 401 governs what is considered relevant. Generally, evidence is relevant if it has a tendency to prove a fact and that fact is important in the lawsuit. This is a general relevance rule.
What is privileged evidence?
What is a discovery period?
In Texas, there are three different levels of discovery. The discovery period is when all discovery must be conducted. For information on discovery periods, please see Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 190.
When does the discovery period begin?
The discovery period typically begins when the first initial disclosures are due and continues for 180 days.
How long do I have to complete discovery?
The discovery period depends on what type of discovery plan your case falls under. For example: in Level 2 discovery, the most common type, discovery begins when the suit is filed and continues until 30 days before the trial is set (in family law cases).
Do I need to file my discovery requests with the clerk?
No. Generally, you are not required to file discovery requests and responses with the clerk.
What is a request for admissions?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 198 governs requests for admissions. Requests that are made by you or to you asking to admit or deny facts that relate to the case. Requests for Admission must be in writing, and each request has to be listed separately in the document.
What is a Request for Production, Inspection or Entry?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 196 governs Requests for Production, Inspection, or Entry. Such requests are made to produce or allow examination of physical things such as documents, electronic files, emails, text messages, photographs, and personal or real property that the other side controls. This type of request must specify a reasonable time and place for the item to be produced.
What are Interrogatories?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 197 governs Interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions sent by one party to another to gather specific information about details of specific events, occurrences, and more.
What does the party that receives the Interrogatories have to do?
The party who receives the interrogatories is required to respond in writing, under oath, and truthfully state the facts as the party understands them.
What is a deposition?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 199 - 203 governs Depositions. Depositions are interviews that can be conducted by both parties, either orally (in person, by zoom, or by telephone) or in writing. Depositions are subject to many rules and you should familiarize yourself with them. provides the law on Depositions. Depositions are interviews that can be conducted by both parties, either orally (in person, by zoom, or by telephone) or in writing. Depositions are subject to many rules and you should familiarize yourself with them.
Who can be Deposed?
Depositions can be taken from parties as well as witnesses with information about the case.
What are Mental or Physical Examinations?
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 204 governs Mental or Physical Examinations. A party may ask for an examination in cases involving mental or physical injuries. It is required that the party asking for an examination get permission from the court before carrying out the examination unless the person to be examined voluntarily submits to the examination. This type of discovery is very common in Personal Injury cases.
What if someone doesn’t comply with a discovery request?
Abuse of the discovery process—either by asking for more than what you are entitled to or refusing to cooperate with requests—can result in sanctions (punishment) from the court.
What is a motion to compel discovery?
A motion to compel discovery is used to get the other side to answer any of the discovery types mentioned above when they have refused to do so. This motion is filed with the court. The court will force the other side to do something they must do. There are several requirements before someone can file a motion.
Is other discovery required?
Yes. In addition to the required initial disclosures, you must also exchange expert disclosures, pretrial disclosures, and pretrial disclosures.
This article explains the basics of civil lawsuits in Texas.
This article explains required initial disclosures in Texas civil cases.
This article explains statutes of limitation in Texas.
This article provides an overview of the process of conducting legal research.
This article explains "discovery requests" for production during the discovery period.
This article explains requests for inspection and requests for entry during the "discovery period".