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The scope of pretrial discovery in the United States (“U.S.”) is the most expansive of any common law country in the world. At the outset of civil litigation in the U.S., opposing parties are required to provide one another with allnonprivileged information that is relevant to their claims or defenses. This discoverable information often includes personal information or data, such as names and addresses, of individuals. This facet of expansive, and at times intrusive, discovery is a hallmark of the American legal system and is grounded in the principle that there should not be many surprises in the course of a lawsuit. The Supreme Court opined that “[m]utual knowledge of all relevant facts gathered by both parties is essential to proper litigation. To that end, either party may compel the other to disgorge whatever facts he has in his possession.”

This post was originally published on the Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review website on April 5, 2021. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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