Quick Tips

Organizing Discovery Documents and Information
guest author: Casey S. Erick

Keep it simple and apply the same structure to every case. Complex cases can be a discovery nightmare, especially if you don't have a handle on what information will be most important to your case. Figuring this out involves thinking ahead to trial - towards the plaintiff's proof and the defendant's defenses - well before you normally would.

Two tools to help you get your mind around complex cases are pattern jury instructions and trial notebooks. Both will get you thinking about the trial evidence that you'll need to pin down in discovery.

One method is to imagine you are going to a file a motion for summary judgment. It doesn't matter whether you're on plaintiff's side or the defendant's. Using pattern jury instructions or case law, ask what proof will be required at trial.

Think not only about the claims and defenses but proving them up with real-life evidence. This exercise will allow you to answer some follow-up questions:

  • What facts are material to the claims or defenses?
  • Which ones are likely to be undisputed?
  • Which ones are likely to remain in dispute?

For many, imitating a summary judgment motion is their exclusive method for organizing evidence.

Discovery Checklist

For employees:

  • Notes and e-mail communications that support the claim.
  • Copies of claims and charges made to administrative agencies, to the extent they are consistent with the position in the lawsuit.
  • Medical records supporting the claim.
  • Wage records.
  • Records of attempts to find another job.
  • Findings of the EEOC, TCHR, TWC, SSDA and other agencies to the extent they are consistent with the position in the lawsuit.
  • Employer's policies, performance evaluations and other information from the personnel files.
  • Statements and other information in the files from the EEOC, TWC, SSDA and other agencies.
  • Remarks made in the workplace.
  • Pictures, screen savers and other visual evidence to support the claim.
  • Expert witness testimony on medical history, attorney's fees, attempts to find another job, damages and other significant issues.

For employers:

  • Employer's policies.
  • Employer's training programs.
  • Employee's performance evaluations/warnings, etc.
  • Statements taken at the time of the events.
  • Contents of the agency files that constitute admissions/impeachment evidence, including EEOC, TCHR, TWC and others.
  • Filings the employee made to obtain benefits, such as social security benefits, worker's compensation benefits and/or long term disability benefits.
  • Medical records reflecting the employee's medical history before the alleged conduct and history since the alleged conduct.
  • Notes and e-mails that support the employer's position.
  • Records showing amounts that should be offset against employee's claim for recovery.
  • Records showing the employee's failure to mitigate by failing to try to find another job.
  • Expert witness testimony on damages, medical history, attempts to locate another job/failure to mitigate and other significant issues.


Casey S. Erick joined the firm of Kessler & Collins, P.C., as a shareholder in May of 2017. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Erick was a partner with the law firm of Bennett, Weston, LaJone & Turner, P.C. He specializes in business and employment lawsuits, including breach of contract, trade secret law, tortious interference, wrongful termination, discrimination, and harassment. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Mr. Erick was awarded the honor of becoming a Rising Star among the Super Lawyers of Texas, a Thompson Reuters company. In 2013, he was inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mr. Erick also has extensive appellate experience, including two victories in the Supreme Court of Texas (City of Corsicana v. Stewart, 249 S.W.3d 412 (Tex. 2008) (per curiam) and Denton County v. Beynon, 283 S.W.3d 329 (Tex. 2009). He attended the University of Mississippi and graduated cum laude. Mr. Casey then went on to receive his law degree from Baylor Law School. While at Baylor, he was one of only a few students to become a moot court finalist and earn his membership in the Order of Barristers.

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