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Unveiling the Evidence: A Look at Discovery Requests in Wisconsin Civil Cases

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | May 08, 2024

So, you've filed a civil lawsuit in Wisconsin. You've exchanged initial pleadings outlining your claims and defenses. Now comes the crucial phase of gathering information: discovery. This is where both sides can request documents, ask questions, and potentially even schedule depositions to build their case. But what exactly can you ask for in Wisconsin?

Discovery Arsenal: Your Options in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law, specifically Chapter 804 of the Wisconsin Statutes, equips you with a variety of tools for uncovering relevant information:

  • Written Interrogatories: This is a list of written questions you submit to the other party, requiring them to answer under oath within a specific timeframe. Think of them as a formal Q&A session on paper.

  • Request for Production of Documents: Here, you can request the other party produce specific documents, electronically stored information, or tangible things related to the case. This could be emails, contracts, photographs, or anything deemed relevant.

  • Depositions: Depositions involve questioning the other party or their witnesses under oath, but in a more conversational setting, often recorded by a court reporter. This allows you to get a deeper understanding of their perspective and gather their spoken testimony.

  • Requests for Admission: Aiming to streamline the process? You can request the other party to admit or deny the truth of certain facts relevant to the case. This can save time at trial by establishing undisputed information.

  • Physical and Mental Examinations: In specific situations, the court may order a party to undergo a physical or mental examination by a qualified professional. This typically requires a strong justification and court approval.

Remember, There are Limits:

While discovery allows you to gather information, it's not without boundaries. The requests must be:

  • Relevant to the Case: Information sought should have a bearing on the claims or defenses presented.
  • Proportional to the Needs: The burden and expense of obtaining the information should be balanced against its potential usefulness.
  • Non-Privileged: Certain communication and information are protected by law and cannot be compelled through discovery.

The Art of Crafting Effective Discovery Requests:

  • Specificity is Key: Don't ask vague or overly broad questions. Clearly identify the documents or information you seek.
  • Target the Right Source: Don't waste time requesting information from a party unlikely to have it. Tailor your requests to the most relevant parties.
  • Mind the Burden: Be mindful of the time and cost your requests may impose on the other party.

Consulting an Attorney:

The world of discovery can be complex. An attorney can guide you on what information to seek, craft effective requests, and ensure you stay within legal boundaries. They can also advise you on responding to discovery requests from the other party.

Discovery is a powerful tool in Wisconsin civil cases. By understanding the available options and using them strategically, you can strengthen your case and increase your chances of success. Remember, this is a general overview, and it's always wise to consult with an attorney for specific legal advice regarding your case.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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