Connecticut Discovery Law


Evidence – Discovery – Connecticut

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of discovery law in Connecticut, 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.
Connecticut Rules of Court

Connecticut has adopted the Connecticut Rules of Court for Procedures in Family Matters. The applicable provisions are contained in Chapter 25 of the rules. Section 25-1 states that the rules in Chapter 25, includes but is not limited to the dissolution of marriage, legal separation, and other domestic actions. Section 25-31 provides that Sections 13-1 through 13-11 inclusive, 13-3 through 13-16 inclusive, and 13-17 through 13-32 of the rules of practice inclusive, apply to family matters as defined in Section 25-1.

Chapter 13 of the Connecticut Rules of Court contain provisions for discovery and depositions and are applicable to all family matter actions.

Scope of Discovery: Parties may obtain information or disclosure, production and inspection of papers, books or documents material to the subject matter of the pending action, which are not privileged. Section 13-2

Experts: A party may through interrogatories require another party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial. Section 13-4

Interrogatories

Written interrogatories may be served upon any other party without leave of the judicial authority at any time after the return day. The party serving the interrogatories shall leave sufficient space following each interrogatory in which the party to whom the interrogatories are directed can insert an answer. Section 13-6.

The interrogatories must be answered under oath by the party to whom they are directed and such answers shall not be filed with the court, but shall be served within thirty days after the date of certification of service. The party requested to answer the interrogatories may file a request for an extension of time, for not more than thirty days, within the initial thirty day period. Section 13-7

Production

Any party may serve on any other party a request (i) to produce and permit the party making the request, or someone acting on his 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 which are in the possession, custody or control of the party upon whom the request is served. Section 13-9

Physical or Mental Examination

When the mental or physical condition 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 physician or to produce for examination the person in his custody or control. Section 13-11

Compel Discovery

If a party has failed to answer interrogatories or to answer them fairly, or has intentionally answered them falsely, the serving party, upon reasonable notice to all parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery. Section 13-14

Domestic Actions Discovery Notes

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.