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How do I respond to a discovery demand that requests documents?

If the party who receives a document request has the documents that are requested, unless there is a valid objection, s/he has to produce them by:

  1. sending or delivering copies to the other party; or
  2. making the documents available for the other party to inspect.

When you send or deliver documents, you will make a list of the documents provided and include copies of the documents. Alternatively, you can send a letter to the other party to let him/her know when and where the documents will be available for inspection. Inspecting documents or items is usually done if the number or type of items/documents requested makes it impractical to provide copies. In your discovery response, you would include a time and place for the inspection and the other party has an opportunity to go and review the requested items at that time.

When you respond to a discovery request, you should make sure to do it within the timeframe listed in the discovery request or in the “scheduling order” if the judge issued one. In some cases, the judge will hold a court conference to establish a timeframe for discovery, motions, and the trial. You should pay attention to these deadlines because if you miss a deadline, the other party might file a motion to compel discovery.

In most cases, you will only send your discovery responses to the other party. There are cases though where the court, not the other party, will request information. This usually happens in divorce or child support cases. In these cases, when you receive a notice from the court, you should send your response back to the court and, in addition, send a copy to the other party.