Discovery Requests: What do I Have to Provide?

[bne_testimonials_badge api="true" schema_type="LegalService" source="google" id="ChIJRYRmL0Rjz4cRkpcMyoS-yFk"]

Summer Masterson-Goethals

Summer Masterson-Goethals
Consumer and family lawyer, former legal aid attorney and Missouri Bar Leadership Academy member, Springfield Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree.

Summer Masterson Goethals

What do I Need to Provide in Discovery Requests?

The discovery stage in a lawsuit allows you and the other party to uncover specific facts and evidence relevant to the case. During this phase, your lawyer and the lawyer for the other party exchange certain information about the evidence and witnesses they will present at trial through discovery requests. 

In Missouri, the discovery process is detailed under the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56.01 covers discovery tools and methods, the scope of discovery, protective orders, the sequence and timing of discovery, supplementation of resources, and cooperation in discovery. 

While discovery is a straightforward phase in a lawsuit, it is subject to many procedural technicalities. It would help to retain an experienced lawyer who understands Greene County, Missouri Circuit Court information to help protect your rights.

What Is a Discovery Request?

Discovery requests are a request for relevant information between your lawyer and the lawyer of the other party to a lawsuit before trial. Discovery requests can take many forms and serve to investigate facts that could become material evidence at trial.

Why Do Legal Teams Submit Discovery Requests?

Discovery requests protect against “trial by ambush.” They are designed to compel one party to give access to evidence and witnesses to the other party so that everyone can adequately prepare for trial.

In that sense, discovery requests serve as a tool for both sides to build or defend against claims. Through discovery requests, legal teams can assess their arguments and gather necessary documents that may form critical pieces of their case.

The discovery phase also helps identify potential witnesses that could help tilt the evidence in one party’s favor. Such witnesses allow legal teams to gain further insights into negotiations with opposing counsel.

Discovering relevant details from all angles gives attorneys substantial resources to craft well-grounded positions.

What Are the Different Types of Discovery Requests?

Here are the most common forms of discovery requests.

1. Depositions

During depositions, parties under oath answer questions posed by attorneys to uncover facts and evidence related to the case. There are two types of depositions:

Oral questioning at court-supervised sessions. A witness answers any general and specific questions orally under oath. The court reporter generates a transcript of what the witness says in court. Legal teams may be able to use this transcript as evidence at trial.

Written questionnaires. One party sends written questions to the party being deposed. The deposed party appears before an officer to record their responses to the written questionnaire. The officer files the witness’s responses to the party that sent the questionnaire.  

2. Document Requests

These require parties to produce documents that could be material evidence at trial. They include requests for emails, contracts, and other files related to the case in question.

3. Interrogatories

These are written questions by one party requiring answers under oath from another. These can range from basic inquiries to specific legal points. A party can serve up to 40 interrogatories, depending on court orders. After service, the opposing side has up to 30 days to file their responses.

4. Inspection Orders

They allow attorneys access to suit properties to evaluate their conditions before arguing ownership rights. Inspection orders are standard in real estate matters such as residential property leases, boundary line conflicts, and other scenarios that necessitate physical inspections.

5. Requests for Admission

These are similar to interrogatories in that they pose written questions to be answered under oath by the respondent. However, they differ slightly as they only focus on matters already established by the evidence presented during discovery. Requests for admission allow one party to verify previously disclosed facts or legal points to save time otherwise spent arguing the same issues during trial.

6. Subpoenas

Subpoenas require third parties not directly involved with the case to produce documents or evidence related to the dispute. These are standard where parties need access to records from outside sources to obtain further information about claims made by either side.

To learn more about other discovery requests and their admissibility in court, consult an attorney or research Greene County, Missouri, Circuit Court information.

What Is Involved in the Discovery Process?

Step 1: Meet and Consult With the Opposing Side

After a defendant responds, the parties must meet to plan for discovery and discuss alternative dispute resolution strategies. It’s the plaintiff’s onus to designate the time and place for this personal meeting.

Step 2: Submit Disclosures to the Opposing Side

Parties to the suit must exchange the following information:

  • Witnesses. You must provide a list of witnesses to the case. Include their names, contact information, and a succinct description of the information they might know. 

  • Documents. Parties must exchange all relevant documents in their possession or control.

  • Damage calculations. Parties to the suit must provide their estimated measures of the damages they claim. They must also exchange any evidence or documents they used to arrive at the damage calculations.

  • Insurance policies. Though not necessary, parties can exchange relevant insurance agreements covering the court’s final verdict.

Step 3: File a Case Conference Report

Finally, the parties must file a joint case conference report. A case conference report is a document that summarizes the discussions and agreements reached during a case conference as described in steps 1 and 2. If they cannot agree on the report’s contents, each party must file a separate conference report.

How Long Does the Discovery Phase Last?

Depending on the case’s complexity and the number of requests made, the discovery phase could last from a few months to over a year. 

What if Someone Doesn’t Comply With a Discovery Request?

Failure to comply with discovery requests could have severe consequences. A court may issue sanctions against non-compliant parties, such as fines and other penalties. In the worst-case scenario, non-compliance could lead to the dismissal of claims made.

Why Hire a Missouri Lawyer to Handle Your Family Legal Issue?


Discovery is crucial in civil litigation and can be complicated. Understanding the legal process in the Missouri Circuit Court is essential to know the forms required to develop a discovery plan and submit the requests for production of documents to the other party.

An experienced Missouri Lawyer will help you navigate the complete discovery process, including initial disclosures. They will review response material from the other party and handle any disputes arising throughout the process. They will give you the confidence to know that all aspects of your case are conducted according to Missouri state laws and civil procedure rules.

If you’re facing a family legal issue or dispute in Missouri, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance today!