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Georgia Civil Procedure: Which Discovery Documents Are Available to the Public and When?

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by GraceM, May 23, 2020.

  1. GraceM

    GraceM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Georgia
    I have a few questions about court procedures in the state of: Georgia (Superior Courts / Civil cases), specifically about the documents produced by either side during pre-trial discovery:

    (1) When is the **earliest** that a given document is available to the public (for a fee)? When the document is filed with the Court during the discovery process, after the discover period ends but before the trial, during the trial, or after the trial (assuming that the Judge does not order it sealed)?

    (2) Are all discovery documents available to the public, or only some of them? If it's the latter, what determines which documents become publicly available?

    (3) I hear that an attorney can bring up a given document **during the trial** if and only if BOTH of the following conditions are met: (a) That specific document was bought up during the pre-trial deposition of one or more witnesses and was given a specific, numbered document tag by the deposing attorney, and (b) the judge allows that document into the trial.
    Is this true?

    Thank you very much in advance!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    During the current era of the Red Communist Chinese virus, courts are closed (or in reduced operating mode).

    Therefore, forget what may have been normal as in 2 days, 4 days, even 7 days.

    Once the scaredemic is over, you can contact the clerk of the court you wish to know about and ask.

    In fact, you might try doing that on Tuesday, as the Memorial day holiday will be over.

    If you are represented by an attorney, you might ask him/her all of your questions.
     
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The first thing to understand about discovery in civil cases is that in most states the courts are not directly involved in discovery unless the parties have a dispute about it that they need the court to resolve. Otherwise, the parties just exchange the discovery between themselves and none of it ends up in the court file for the public to see. Once there is a hearing or trial some of the evidence admitted during that hearing or trial might end up in the court file.

    No.
     
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  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    1. Documents produced in discovery are only available to the public if they are attached to a document that is filed with the court. Documents filed with court are generally available to the public for viewing and copying within a week or two after filing (although documents that are efiled, which I don't know if it is done in Georgia, are generally available immediately).

    2. See above.

    3. The answer depends on what "bring up" means. In order for a document to be admitted into evidence, the judge must allow it, but documents occasionally can be mentioned without being admitted into evidence. As far as the rest of the question, if a document is requested in discovery but not produced, it may be subject to exclusion at trial.
     
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  5. GraceM

    GraceM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you so much. This is very clear, and answered all my questions. Thanks again!
     
  6. GraceM

    GraceM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you very much! It's good to know the conditions under which the discovery documents become available to the public.
     

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