How to Obtain Information From Opposing Parties in a Massachusetts Case

by | Jun 15, 2022 | Trial of Cases |

Discovery is the way parties in a court action gather information from each other so they can build a strong case and improve their chances of getting the court to order what they need.

Discovery makes it possible to get information and documents from the other party. It also makes it possible for the other party to get information from you.   Discovery is especially important when there are contested issues or assets.

The scope of discovery

“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. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

Discovery tools


“[I]nterrogatories are written questions propounded to a party designed to elicit information useful in the prosecution or defense of a suit. The responding party must sign answers to interrogatories under the pains and penalties of perjury; therefore, the signed answers are the equivalent of sworn testimony given under oath.” — Massachusetts Discovery Practice, s. 10.1.


“A deposition is like testimony in court–under oath–but it occurs before trial, outside the courtroom, and without a judge or jury present. While depositions have a number of uses, parties take depositions primarily in the hope of uncovering information that supports their legal claims and undermines the other side’s legal claims.”

Requests for admissions

“Written requests for admission . . . provide parties with a method by which admissions of facts may be obtained and used in support of, or in opposition to, summary judgment motions or at trial.”

Requests for production (document requests)

A “written request that another party provide specified documents or other tangible things for inspection and copying.” Black’s Law dictionary. A request for production “is focused on the discovery of tangible (rather than testimonial) evidence and provides for the discovery of all types of tangible evidence, such as documents, photographs, electronic data, or other objects relevant to the litigation.” — Massachusetts Practice v.49 (Discovery), s. 6:1.

Requests for permission to enter upon land

Mass. R. Civ. P. 34 “allows you to request an opportunity to enter upon land in the possession or control of another party so that you may test, photograph, sample, or otherwise inspect relevant conditions, objects, or operations on the premises.”

Physical and mental examinations

“In many civil actions, the medical status of a party is at issue. This may be because the extent of an ongoing injury is unresolved, a party is seeking damages for mental injury, or the nature of the injury is in dispute. In order to allow the parties a fair opportunity to explore these issues, the rules of discovery permit the physical and mental examinations of individuals, although with some significant limitations.”

Should you be in the midst of a divorce, paternity case, discrimination case or housing case, the gathering of information from the opposing party is of crucial value to defend your case.

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