Requests for production is a discovery device by which each party can request documents and other evidence from other parties and can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena. Even non parties can be requested to produce documents/tangible things[i]. Documents relating to the issues in the case can be requested to be produced. A request for production of documents/things must list out the items required to be produced/inspected.
Some of the documents generally requested to be produced are:
- All written reports of each person expected to be called as an expert witness at trial.
- All documents upon which any expert witness intended to be called at trial relied to form an opinion.
- All written or signed statements of any party, including both parties to the divorce, witnesses, investigators, friends, family members or employer of the parties concerning the subject matter of this divorce action.
- All photographs, videotapes or audio tapes, emails, surveys or other graphic representations of information concerning the subject matter of this divorce action.
Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure deals with request for production of documents/things. Some of the significant points of the Rule are discussed below:
Rule 34 (a): What can be required to be produced:
Any document or electronically stored information, including writings, photographs, images stored in a directly obtainable form or translatable form can be requested to be produced and can be inspected. The rule also permits tangible things to be produced, and permission to enter onto designated land or other property possessed or controlled by the responding party can be sought.
Rule 34(b)(1): Contents of the request:
The request must describe with clarity each item to be produced and inspected and also the time and place where it will be inspected or any related act conducted. In case of electronically stored data, the form in which the data needs to be produced should also be specified.
Rule 34(b)(2): How/when to respond/object:
Generally, a request for production of documents should be responded to within 30 days. However, either the court may order a shorter or longer time frame to respond or the parties may so agree[ii] between each other. In the response, it should also be clearly stated if the request if permitted or objected to. If it is objected, the reasons also need to be stated. If the requestor has not stated the form in which electronically stored information should be produced, it can be objected to or the form in which s/he intends to produce should be clarified. The documents to be produced must be organized and labeled to correspond to the categories in the request or produced as they are kept in the usual course of business.
[i] Rule 45 FRCP
[ii] Rule 29 FRCP