Documents and Papers from a Court : Request for Production of Documents

How do I make a document request?
Rule 34
allows you to make a document request in which you ask the other party to inspect or copy documents that the other party possesses. For example, if plaintiff questions whether defendant is earning as much as he claims, plaintiff might ask defendant to provide copies of pay stubs or W-2 forms.

Rule 34 is not limited to documents. Rule 34 also allows one party to inspect, copy, test or sample anything in the control of the other party and to inspect, measure, photograph, test or sample property that is being held by the other party. For example, in a dispute about painting, a defendant could make a request to enter the house and photograph the rooms that he painted.  Defendant can make a similar request to photograph the rest of the house to show that he left it in good condition.

You can request documents or ask for an opportunity to inspect property by serving the other party with a written request to permit you to inspect, copy, photograph or otherwise examine specific documents or property. Do not serve or send a copy of your request on the court.

The request should:

  1. identify each category of things to be inspected;

  2. describe each category of things to be inspected with reasonable detail; and

  3. specify a reasonable time, place and manner of making the inspection or copy.

How do I respond to a document request?
You must respond to a request for production of documents within 28 days, unless the request allows for a greater amount of time. Your response must state the following for each category of things

  1. that the inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested, or

  2. that you object to allowing the inspection. If you permit the inspection of documents, you should attach the documents to your response.

Objecting to a document request – or ignoring a document request?
The party who made the request can file a motion to compel production of the requested documents. If you ignored the production request or oppose the motion to compel without substantial justification, the court may sanction you. These sanctions can be severe.

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This content was created by the 's 2006 Fellows Class - Keys to the Courtroom Project.


See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

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