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Questions You Want Answered > Discovery > What is a request for production of documents and what do I do with it?

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A request for production of documents is just that:  a request that you give the other side documents. This is another part of other side's attempt to learn the facts and evidence that support your complaint.  There is no limit on the number of documents that can be requested, so the list is usually quite long and overwhelming.  They are part of the information gathering system called discovery.  As there is no trial by ambush, if you intend to use a document at trial and it is requested by the other side, you must provide it.

What your attorney wants you to know:

1.   We have a limited time perod in which to provide the response to the reqeust and the documents to the other side.  That time period is usually 30 days.  This does not mean that you have thirty days to provide your documents to us; we need time to put them in the form the court requires and to determine what additional documents may be necessary for you to obtain.  The faster you can get them to us, the better.  We will tell you our drop dead date to receive the documents from you; please respect us enough to honor that deadline.

2.  Don't feel you have to do it all in one sitting.  Break down the request and do a few each day.  

3.  Don't feel you can't send us any documents until you have all of them.  Send us the documents as you obtain them.  We will love you for it.

4.  The request requires you to provide not only the documents that you have in possession, but also those that you are able to obtain at a reasonable cost.  That means if the other side asks for things such as your credit report, social security statement, or driving record, you need to provide them, as they are obtainable by a free online request.  Most banks provide you with a year's worth of bank statements for free.  Most credita card compnaies do the same for credit card statements.  Banks and credit card companies tend to charge for copies of checks and deposits, and for statements older than a year.  How much they charge varies by institution, so they may or may not be obtainable at a reasonable cost.  

5.  Be as complete as possible.  Please put the documents in order by request and by date.  Otherwise, we have to do that in order to determine what you might be missing and to provide them to the other side.  We charge you for our time in organizing and cataloguing your documents, the more of that you can do yourself, the less it will cost you.  We want to save you from paying more attorney's fees than necessary, but you have to help yourself in order for us to do that.

6.  Some of the requests will be objectionable.  We will usually tell you which ones they are.

Last updated on September 5, 2013 by Karen Robbins, Attorney at Law