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Is the discovery stages before or after pre-trial?

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You need to read your state's RCP if the case is in state court or federal rules of civil procedure if it's in federal court.

Usually a pre-trial is just a way to see if the case has any merits and to see if the parties can try to work out a settlement before proceeding to trial.

Your state's rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure tell you the deadlines for conducting discovery. Deadlines also vary by type of court (small claims sometimes doesn't have discovery, or it's very limited, other deadlines depend on the court, type of case and the specific orders given by the court).

Edit: In Texas, the most common deadline for cases on a discovery control level I (for cases involving less than 50K) is 30 days before trial.

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