Colorado Discovery Law


Evidence – Discovery – Colorado

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of discovery law in Colorado, but does include basic and other information.

Definitions

Discovery: A procedure designed to allow disclosure of information between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Written questions, oral questioning, document production and admissions requests are generally allowed. Discovery was designed to to prevent trial by ambush.

Interrogatories: Written questions from Plaintiff to Defendant, or from Defendant to Plaintiff. The questions are mailed to the Plaintiff, Defendant or the attorney for response in writing.  The answers or responses are usually due between 20-30 days.

Deposition: A procedure where verbal questions are asked a Plaintiff or Defendant for immediate response. Depositions are usually recorded by a court reporter, who swears the person to tell the truth before questioning begins.

Production of Documents: The method of obtaining documents from the other party relevant to the case such as all documents a party intends to introduce at trial.

Requests for Admissions: Written questions where you request the other party to admit or deny some relevant fact.

Objections: Objections may be made to all discovery questions if the questions are not relevant, or likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence.

Civil Procedure Rules: Virtually all states have adopted a version of civil procedure rules which include rules dealing with discovery.
Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure

Colorado has adopted the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

Discovery of Expert Testimony: In addition to the disclosures required by subsection (a)(1) of this Rule, a party shall disclose to other parties the identity of any person who may present evidence at the hearing, pursuant to Rules 702, 703, or 705 of the Colorado Rules of Evidence.

Methods to Discover Additional Matters: Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, pursuant to C.R.C.P. 34; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission. Discovery at a place within a country having a treaty with the United States applicable to the discovery must be conducted by methods authorized by the treaty except that, if the court determines that those methods are inadequate or inequitable, it may authorize other discovery methods not prohibited by the treaty. Rule 26.2(a)(2)

Discovery Scope and Limits: Subject to the limitations and considerations contained in subsection (b)(2) of this Rule, parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter.

Rule 26.2(b)(1)

Hearing Preparation (Materials): Subject to the provisions of subsection (b)(4) of this Rule, a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under subsection (b)(1) of this Rule and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for the hearing by or for another party or by or for that other party’s representative (including the party’s attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of the case and is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation. Rule 26.2(b)(3)

Hearing Preparation (Experts): A party may depose any person who has been identified as an expert whose opinions may be presented at hearing. Except to the extent otherwise stipulated by the parties or ordered by the court, no discovery, including depositions, concerning either the identity or the opinion of experts shall be conducted until after the disclosures required by subsection (a)(2) of this Rule. Rule 26.2(b)(4)

Sequence of Discovery: Unless the court orders otherwise, the methods of discovery may be used in any sequence. Rule 26.2(d)

Supplementation of Disclosures and Responses: A party is under a duty to supplement its disclosures under section (a) of this Rule when the party learns that in some material respect the information disclosed is incomplete or incorrect and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the disclosure or discovery process. Rule 26.2(e)

Signing of Disclosures: Every disclosure made pursuant to subsections (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this Rule shall be signed by the party. Rule 26.2(g)

Depositions

Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken: Depositions outside the State  of Colorado shall be taken only upon proof that notice to take deposition has been given as provided in these rules. The deposition shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of this state, the United States or the place where the examination is to be held, or before a person appointed by the court in which the action is pending. A person so appointed has the power to administer oaths and take testimony. Rule 28(a)

Stipulations:

Unless otherwise directed by the court, the parties may by written stipulation: (1) provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions; and (2) modify other procedures governing the timing of discovery, except that stipulations extending the time provided in C.R.C.P. Rules 33, 34, and 36 for responses to discovery may, if they would interfere with any time set for completion of discovery, for hearing of a motion, or for trial, be made only with the approval of the court. Rule 29

Interrogatories

Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories, not exceeding the number, including all discrete subparts, set forth in the Case Management Order, to be answered by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation, or a partnership, or association, or governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. Rule 33

Production

To produce and permit the party making the request, or someone acting on the party’s behalf, to inspect and copy any designated documents (including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, phono-records, and other data compilations from which information can be obtained, translated, if necessary, by the respondent through detection devices into reasonably usable form), or to inspect and copy, test, or sample any tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of C.R.C.P. 26(b) and which are in the possession, custody, or control of the party upon whom the request is served; or

To permit entry upon designated land or other property in the possession or control of the party upon whom the request is served for the purpose of inspection and measuring, surveying, photographing, testing, or sampling the property or any designated object or operation thereon, within the scope of C.R.C.P. 26(b). Rule 34

Physical and Mental Examinations of Persons

When the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party, or of a person in the custody or under the legal control of a party, is in controversy, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical or mental examination by a suitably licensed or certified examiner or to produce for examination the person in his or her custody or legal control.  The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be examined and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made. Rule 35(a)

Requests for Admissions

Subject to the limitations contained in the Case Management Order, a party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of C.R.C.P. 26(b) set forth in the request that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any documents described in the request. Rule 36(a)

Compel Discovery

A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling disclosure or discovery. Rule 37(a)

If you require extra time to respond to discovery, you should ask the other side for an extension in writing.  It may also be necessary to enter an order granting the extension to protect your rights.

Discovery questions are limited in number so select the most important questions to ask the other side.Don’t waste your requests writing questions that you already know the answer to.