Shannon WiseJennifer MoralesBrian BlankenshipJim MurphySean Claggett

Managing the Case and Putting Constant Pressure on the Defense

Drafting Complaints

  • Frame the Case with Purpose. Not just about Notice.
  • Know your audience.
  • Name All Parties.
  • Separate Claims.
  • Plead All Damages.
  • Plead Punitive Damages.
  • Be aware of specific rules for wrongful death cases.
  • Tell the Story from the Defendant’s wrongful conduct.
  • Plead jurisdictional facts to avoid removal.
  • Uses at Trial.
  • Don’t let it sit. File early.

Draft Jury Instructions and Written Discovery

  • Figure out what you have to prove.
  • Draft RPDs first and before the discovery period begins so they are ready to go the moment you can send discovery.
  • Save the Rogs and Admissions. Throw darts with these.

Review Initial Disclosures and immediately determine what you did not get.

  • Don’t sit on it and be lazy.
  • Did you get insurance policies? All of them?
  • Did you get a list of witnesses who can be deposed?
  • Did you get color photos?
  • Did you get actual documents rather than BS.

Send Letter regarding Disclosures and insurance policies. (always incomplete).

Send Written Discovery First Day Possible.

  • Ask for policies and procedures.
  • Add another request for insurance.
  • Ask for all video and audio.
  • Ask for the Claims File.
  • Ask for Prior Incidents.
  • Work out any issues with a protective order. If they want one, you need a draft before discovery begins because you are likely to challenge it. Don’t just sign them. Make them file a motion. Work this out as early as possible.

Review Discovery Upon Receipt

  • Review Responses.
  • Did you get a privilege log? Does it comply with applicable law?
  • Did you get complete responses?
  • Did you get color photos?
  • Did you get video?
  • Are the objections boilerplate? Always will be. This is not permitted in most or all jurisdictions.
  • Defense attorneys are taught to not respond and lazy lawyers tolerate it.

Prepare Good Faith Letter or Schedule Call.

  • Some states require a letter. If so, do it within days of receipt of responses. Good practice to do one anyway.
  • Send letter and schedule a conference. Don’t leave it open ended. You give them 3 dates. If they do not respond, you call on all 3 of those dates.
  • Have your good faith conference and give a short, but reasonable time for a supplement.

File your Motion to Compel.

  • You will be filing these. It’s not if, but when. Get the Court on notice early about Defense games.
  • Get an Order for more documents.
  • If the production is still not satisfactory, then prepare a motion for an order to show cause.

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