Discovery in PAAB Appeals
For non-attorneys or those otherwise unfamiliar with the litigation process, participating in discovery may seem intimidating and confusing. The following is a general description of discovery in PAAB appeals. This discovery process may vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. PAAB's administrative rules provide additional information about the discovery process at PAAB. If you have questions about discovery that are not answered by this page or the administrative rules, please contact our office.
- What is discovery?
- When does discovery occur?
- What can be requested in discovery?
- Does discovery occur in all PAAB appeals?
- How do the parties start discovery?
- What formal discovery procedures are available?
- What are some examples of discovery requests?
- If the opposing party sends me a discovery request, must I answer it?
- Am I required to supplement a discovery request?
- What if I believe the discovery request requires me to disclose privileged, confidential, or irrelevant information?
- How do I serve my discovery requests?
- Must I file my discovery requests with PAAB?
- What if the parties cannot resolve a discovery dispute?
- What is a subpoena?
- What is a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan?
- Do I have to complete a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan?
- When must the Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan be filed?
- What happens if I don't file a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan?
- I've contacted the opposing party to discuss the Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan, but they haven't responded. What do I do?
Discovery allows the parties to gather facts, information, and evidence that can be used to support their position.
PAAB encourages parties to begin discovery as soon as possible after the appeal is filed. Do not wait until you receive a Notice of Hearing to begin 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.
While discovery procedures are available in all PAAB appeals, those discovery procedures are not necessarily used in every appeal. Depending on the facts and issues involved, the parties may not need to use the formal discovery procedures and discovery may take place in a more informal manner.
As a first step in the discovery process, a party may wish to request information from the opposing party through informal means, such as by letter, email, or phone call. If the parties are unable to informally proceed through discovery, then more formal discovery procedures may be utilized.
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.
Discovery requests will vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts and the issues involved. Examples of discovery requests are available here.
Failure to respond to a formal discovery request may initiate a motion to compel discovery, which could lead to dismissal of the appeal or other sanctions. As a result, 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.
If a party requested discovery from you and you later acquire evidence or information responsive to that request, you are required to supplement your discovery response. For example, Party A requests that Party B supply Party A with 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.
What if I believe the discovery request requires me to disclose privileged, confidential, or irrelevant information?
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.
Discovery requests may be served on the opposing party by mail or email (if the opposing party consents). For ease of response, emailing the opposing party your discovery requests in a Word document is appreciated.
No, discovery requests and responses need not be filed with PAAB. If you wish to notify PAAB that discovery has been served on the opposing party, however, you may file a Notice of Serving Discovery with PAAB.
If the parties cannot resolve a dispute involving discovery on their own, then the party seeking discovery must file a motion with PAAB. The opposing party may file a resistance to the motion. Ultimately PAAB will issue a ruling on the motion to resolve the discovery dispute.
Upon the request of a party, PAAB will issue a subpoena. A subpoena is an order from PAAB that: 1) a person must provide specified documents, or 2) 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.
A Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan is developed by the parties to the appeal to mutually decide on deadlines for designating witnesses, exchanging evidence, and setting a hearing date.
PAAB's administrative rules require a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan to be filed in all appeals involving commercial, multi-residential, or industrial properties with assessed values greater than $2 million. In other cases, the parties can mutually decide to file a Plan or PAAB may order the parties to file a Plan.
The Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan should be filed within 60 days of PAAB's issuance of the Notice of Appeal.
Failure to file a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan may result in dismissal of the appeal.
I've contacted the opposing party to discuss the Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan, but they haven't responded. What do I do?
If you've made two good faith attempts to contact the opposing party to complete the Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan and the opposing party has not responded, you may file the Plan without the opposing party's signature and with an affidavit confirming your two good faith attempts.