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Request for Production of Documents


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I read the CA Civil Code of Procedures very closely as well as researched the examlpes on this forum and other legal self-help websites, and thought I had a good handle on procedures, but was thrown for a loop at the clerk's office today. I had Requests for Admissions, Form interrogatories, and Requests for Production of Documents -- in other words, all my discovery documents ready to send and file with the court.

I could not find a standad form for requesting documents so I wrote my own request based on all the templates and examples I've seen. But when I got to the clerk's window, I was told I needed to file a motion with the court instead, which would require a hearing date, and file a "motion" rather than the "request" document I wrote.

A couple questions:

- did I misread the CCP? I don't see where it defines the request for documents as requiring a hearing and a motion to the court. Is that specified in some other section?

- The hearing date I was given in the Discovery Office specifically relates to the motion for documents, right? Why exactly is a hearing required? i understand moving to compel documents, but that's for if later they don't comply with the first request right?

- Could someone provide a simple sequence of steps to better clarify how this procxess is suposed to work?

- Coiuld someone post an example of a California Motion to produce documents?

I can post my "reqiuest" here if it will help, but I wanted to minimize the size of this posting. Let me know it its needed to answer the above and I'll post it.

Thanks in advance all.

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sftrevor:

Maybe I'm missing something, but...

I don't think Discovery documents are filed with the court at all. At least, we didn't 2 years ago. The Discovery requests are only sent to the plaintiff's attorney. If they don't respond within 30 days, then you can file a motion to compel with the court, and ask for sanctions.

I'm not sure that clerk gave you good information.

DH

PS To be polite, you should post your questions in your own thread, rather than piggybacking onto someone else's thread.

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Thanks for the reply debtorshusband...

In CA, the Superior Court has standardized forms for most everything, including Requests for Admissions (longer lists are just attached pages). The RFA form has a block on the form set aside for the clerk's stamp so its obvious it is suppoed to be filed with the clerk. The form used for Interrogatorries however does not have that block so its obvious its just sent to the other party.

There is no form (that I could find) for Production of Documents (there's a subpeona form, but I don't think its for initial discovery). That's how the question arose in the first place -- no preprinted form to give an indication -- and so no clear direction on proper procedure. Thus the query to the clerk, which only caused more uncertainty, hence the request for assistance here.

Lastly, I debated with myself considerably before I posted in this thread, so I don't disagee with your suggestion. But considering that the original topic was specifically about production of documents under California rules, it seemed almost duplicative, so I erred on the side of putting my questions here rather than start anoither thread about the same thing.

Thanks

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In CA, the Superior Court has standardized forms for most everything, including Requests for Admissions (longer lists are just attached pages). The RFA form has a block on the form set aside for the clerk's stamp so its obvious it is suppoed to be filed with the clerk. The form used for Interrogatorries however does not have that block so its obvious its just sent to the other party.

I found the Request for Admissions form, and I see what you mean; I hadn't seen it before. Our attorney didn't send RforA's, just Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents, and the last was in pleading format. The Discovery papers were sent to the plaintiff's attorney, and not filed with the court. The plaintiff's attorney sent us RforA's, and they were in pleading format, and didn't include that court form. So.....I don't know. In the end, the court never saw any of that paperwork, as they dismissed the case the day before trial.

Good luck.

DH

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So our question still stands....Do we need to allow the Plaintiff 30 days for production of documents ? If so then the deadline will be past the trial date.

Do we still need to file the Request for Production of Documents with the Court? Or simply send the request to the plaintiff and Attorney.

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In California, discovery is not filed with the Court unless it is relevant to a motion such as a motion to compel. You just serve it on the parties to the action. The responding party has at least 30 days to respond. 35 if you serve by mail. See, e.g., CCP section 2030.260.

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I apologize for hijacking your thread. But the truth is, I wasn't sure how to answer your question. So to make amends I offer the following comments.

As calawyer says, you only send them to the plaintiff.

You can go ahead and send them now. I see 3 possibilities:

1. Plaintiff sends you the documents before the trial

2. Plaintiff objects to your requests because they didn't have time to answer

3. Plaintiff asks for the trial to be postponed in order to have time to respond to Discovery

My guess is #2 is most likely. All that means is you will go to trial without knowing ahead of time what documents the plaintiff will present as evidence. So while you go to trial with some degree of uncertainty, the underlying case doesn't change.

If they have lousy documentation, you will beat it at trial and win the case.

If they have good documentation, all you've lost is a chance to "give up" and settle before trial.

Good luck.

DH

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Thanks DH,

So far their documentation has been pretty sketchy at best. The plaintiffs atty was nailed with sanction for not filing mandatory settlement conference statement then they were hit with an OSC as the trial atty was not present at the MSC. They sent a rent a lawyer and the judge was not happy as rent a lawyer had no case info. The plaintiff was very confident that we would not show.

Any other tidbits we can do to help our cause?

I am mailing req for Production of Docs today.

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The plaintiffs' lawyer will know if there is enough time to respond and, more important still, whether there is time to file a motion to compel.

What you might want to do is send a notice to appear and produce pursuant to 1987©. You could send it to the custodian of records of the plaintiff (as long as plaintiff is a party and a resident of California). If you personally serve plaintiff's lawyer, you can do it 20 days before trial.

The beauty of this procedure is that if they don't produce, you don't need a motion. You have [an angry] Judge right there. Problem with the procedure is that you don't get to see the documents beforehand.

Good luck.

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