Any Quad Cities resident or business entity named as a “defendant” in civil litigation may be taken back by the allegations against them and, therefore, may be struggling to put together a cohesive defense strategy. But, just like plaintiffs, defendants must carefully build their cases to present a comprehensive and persuasive argument to rebut the plaintiff’s case in arbitration, mediation or even in a civil trial.

Once a civil case is filed, both sides may have a general idea of where the litigation is going to end — either being settled or going to trial. The sides may even engage in preliminary discussions about the facts and law that support their respective positions. However, if it becomes obvious from the initial pleadings in the case and discussions with the other side that a quick settlement is not within reach, building the case must begin in earnest. That is when the “discovery” process comes into play.

During the discovery phase of a civil case, the two opposing sides will “serve” requests for information upon one another. Typically, this includes requests for a party to admit certain facts, requests for production of documents that might be relevant to the case and also “interrogatories” — questions in written form — that seek to develop the basis of the other side’s stance in the case.

Although some parties in civil litigation may find the discovery phase of a case to be tedious and drawn out, it can be crucial to building the best case to present at the time when everyone must “put their cards on the table.” Whether that ends up being in alternative dispute resolution of some kind or at trial, the fact finding that takes place during the discovery phase of a case can be the backbone of a good, solidly supported position.