Thank you for your question.
The rules governing the discovery process in New York may be found at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/CVP/31
Discovery may be initiated immediately after the plaintiff files suit.
Discovery is not done by requesting it from the court, but on the parties own initiative. There five main discovery methods that you may use:
1. Request for Production - these are questions that go out to the other parties in the lawsuit, requesting that they send copies of documents in their possession
, custody, or control for which you ask. For example "Please produce all documents comprising the employment file of John Doe" or "Please produce all written communications between Jane and John Doe during 2010 regarding the negotiations of the contract
2. Interrogatories - these are written questions that you may ask other parties about information you need to know related to the lawsuit. "Please state the reasons that John Doe was terminated" or "Please identify all employees
who were involved in performing the contract", etc.
3. Requests for Admissions - These are requests that identify issues "Admit that you are named correctly in this lawsuit", "Admit that you were driving
the vehicle which collided with Plaintiff's vehicle in the incident forming the basis of this litigation
4. Disclosures - This is a request to another part sent under Section 3102 which will obtain the information required to be disclosed in Section 3101.
5. Depositions - This is a procedure by which you can present oral questions to a witness who is sworn under oath.
Each of these five tools of discovery are governed by specific sections of the rules which I have provided you a link above. These discovery tools may only be used to discovery information and evidence from parties to the lawsuit.
If you need information or documents from non-parties, or need to question through a deposition a witness who is not a party, you must send out a subpoena. If this is an issue in your case, please let me know and I will investigate whether there are forms you can use in New York.
The discovery tools are requests that you come up with yourself and send to the other party's attorney. The other party has generally 20 days from the date served to answer or respond. The procedures are all laid out in the rules provided.
Best of Luck,