This information is to help you understand the basics of discovery. Read PAAB's Administrative Rules for more information. 

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What is discovery?

The discovery process lets a party gather facts, information, and evidence to support their positions.

Participating in discovery may seem intimidating and confusing. In some cases, discovery may be informal. In other cases, parties may need to use formal discovery procedures explained below.

PAAB Discovery Rules

PAAB rules permit the following formal discovery procedures: 

  • interrogatories, 
  • requests for production of documents,
  • depositions,
  • requests for admission, and 
  • requests for entry upon land for inspection.

Limited Discovery: PAAB rules limit discovery in appeals valued at less than $1 million. In these cases, a party may not serve more than 15 interrogatories, including all discrete subparts, and 10 requests for production. 

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What can be asked for in 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, the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter, and the identity of witnesses the party expects to call to testify at the trial. 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.

If you believe the discovery request requires disclosure of privileged, confidential, or irrelevant information, you should object to the discovery request and specify the reason for your objection.

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How does discovery happen?

Discovery occurs between the parties. In most cases PAAB is not involved. 

The parties can send discovery requests and responses directly to each other, typically by mail or email. Discovery requests and responses should not be sent to or filed with PAAB. But, the parties should file a notice of serving discovery form with PAAB when they have served discovery requests or replied with discovery responses.

As a first step in the discovery process, a party may wish to request information from the opposing party informally by letter, email, or phone call.

If the parties are unable to informally proceed through discovery, then more formal discovery procedures may be used like interrogatories and/or requests for production of documents. 

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Examples of Discovery Requests

Discovery will vary from case to case, depending on facts and issues involved in the appeal. These examples are for informational purposes only.

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How do I answer discovery requests?

It is in your interest to respond to any discovery requests you receive. If you do not have the information sought, have an objection to a request, or have any other issue with the discovery request, you should contact the requesting party to discuss the matter.

Supplementing Your Answers to Discovery

If a party requested discovery from you and you later have evidence or information responsive to that request, you need to supplement your discovery response. 

For example, Party A asks for any and all appraisals in Party B's possession related to the subject property.  Party B responds that it does not have any appraisals in its possession at this time. Two months later, however, Party B obtains an appraisal for the subject property. Party B is required to supplement its prior response and inform Party A of the appraisal and, possibly, provide a copy.  

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Objecting to Discovery and Discovery Disputes

If you believe the discovery request requires disclosure of privileged, confidential, or irrelevant information, you should object to the discovery request. Specifically state the reason for your objection.

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Motion to Compel: If the parties cannot resolve a dispute involving discovery on their own, then the party seeking discovery may file a motion to compel with PAAB. The motion to compel asks PAAB to order a response to the discovery request. The opposing party may file a resistance to the motion. PAAB will issue a ruling on the motion to resolve the discovery dispute. 

Motion for Sanctions/Motion to Dismiss: If a party does not comply with a PAAB order on a motion to compel, then the party requesting discovery may file a motion with PAAB requesting sanctions or dismissal of the appeal. The opposing party may file a resistance to the motion. PAAB will issue a ruling on the motion. 

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Subpoenas shouldn't be used in place of regular discovery. Rather, a subpoena is an order from PAAB that:

  • a person must provide specified documents, or 
  • that a person must appear for testimony before PAAB. 

If you want to request a PAAB subpoena, fill out a Request for Subpoena of Documents form or Request for Subpoena of Witness form and, when complete, either email, mail, or hand-deliver to PAAB's office. Upon the request of a party, PAAB will issue a subpoena. 

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