How does one do discovery on a non-party only the opposing party knows?

Suppose the opposing party filed a motion and an adequate response to the motion will require that discovery be done on some of the people referenced in the motion, how does one go about getting the witness' name and contact info? Can/should the discovery be served on the unnamed witness via the defendant's attorney? Email the defendant's attorney and ask?

1 Answer 1


You can make a discovery request on opposing party first, and ask them formally to disclose the information related to the witnesses, via oral deposition or interrogatories. They may be uncooperative and delay you as much as they could. It would be much easier if you can get the information from a third-party (for example, the police) because you can subpoena them, and they usually have less incentive to be uncooperative.

  • thanks for the answer. the use of "witness" may be misleading, the police would have no idea who this person is. the opposing party made a statement that someone did or did not do something which makes them a witness for the act or non-act the opposing party alleged did or did not happen.
    – j. howdee
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:11
  • One party makes statements of fact concerning a unnamed person, how would the opposing party go about doing discovery on the alleged witness?
    – j. howdee
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:16
  • 1
    Once you identify and locate the opposing party's witness, you may subpoena them and conduct deposition (if not cooperative) or request an affidavit from them (if they are helpful). Based on the information you provided, your opposing party possesses information which can identify and possibly locate the witness, but the said information is not yet available to you. That's why you need to do discovery on opposing party first. You can ask for continuances on the hearing of the motion in the meantime.
    – aaronqli
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:37
  • Thanks for the info.So, if the opponent mentions an unnamed person as haven done a thing and the other side wants to know who that person is to do discovery on them; does that mean that the party has to use valuable and limited discovery questions to obtain the "unnamed" person's name and contact information or can that information be obtained another way, such as through production of documents? How many ways are there for getting a potential witnesses name and contact information when that information is held by your uncooperative opponent?
    – j. howdee
    Apr 4, 2020 at 18:08
  • So, does the opposing party plan to call this person as a witness? One assumes so, or else why mention a random person in a motion? Parties must disclose to the other side the witnesses they plan to call in a case. There are no "surprise" witnesses. Thus, the opposing party should disclose this person's info in its witness list. You wouldn't, for instance, use an interrogatory to ask, "What is the contact info for person mentioned on page 3 of Motion X?" Rather, if this person isn't on witness list, you'd go through the process necessary when a party's disclosure is deficient.
    – A.fm.
    Apr 4, 2020 at 19:29

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