Posts Tagged ‘documents’

Can they REALLY ask for THAT?

During the course of the Discovery process, you will be served with Requests for Production of Documents which consist of one or more written requests to provide access to documents or things. Often times, the Requests are served at the same time as Interrogatories (see article #2 in this series for more information on Interrogatories). A party has 30 days from the date of receipt to respond to Requests.

Requests for Production of Documents are used strategically, just like Interrogatories. You may be asked to provide copies of pay stubs to help the other side make their case for a certain amount of child support or alimony. You may be asked to provide hotel invoices or credit card receipts if there is question about an affair. It is not uncommon to be asked to provide three years of bank statements, or medical documents that may be related to your fitness as a parent or ability to be gainfully employed. You will be asked to provide any document you refer to in other pleadings or in your responses to Interrogatories. Looking over the list of Requests can be very overwhelming, but it is critical that you respond with accurate information. While you are not required to use an attorney, legal advice can be especially helpful in organizing and providing an appropriate response to these Requests. Failure to respond within 30 days may result in court sanctions that can limit your ability to fully plead your case.

There are three ways to respond to Requests for Production of Documents:

1.  Provide the actual documents or property for review. You can certainly go through the list of Requests, gather up all the documents, and plop them in the mail addressed to the opposing party. It is a lot of work on your end, but in most cases the other side does have the right to look at whatever they have requested. Whenever possible, you should retain a copy of the documents you provide, so you can be sure there is no foul play if they introduce the documents in court.

2.   Provide access to the actual documents for review. In some circumstances, there are either too many documents or the property requested is simply too cumbersome to actually deliver to the opposing party. Such a situation does not excuse you from giving the requesting party access to the things they’ve requested. You may, however, respond to the Requests with a date, time, and location that all documents and property will be available for review. You must provide a reasonable amount of time for the opposing party to gather the information they seek.

3.   Refuse to provide the actual documents or access to the documents. There are instances where it is within your rights to refuse to provide certain documents or property. For instance, if you are asked to provide emails that implicate you in a drug deal, you are not obligated to provide such emails because you have a right not to incriminate yourself. In these circumstances you may respond, within the 30 day time frame, with a refusal to provide certain documents as well as the reason that you refuse. Keep in mind that refusing to provide some documents does not get you out of providing the remaining requested documents.

This is the third in an ongoing series about Discovery. For the next few weeks, we will go more in-depth about this very important process. As always, we here at Delaney & Keffler, LLC will take the time to fully explain the Discovery process and help you obtain beneficial information. Contact us today at 410-535-3476 (FIRM) or for a free consultation.