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What do I do about a “Request for Production of Documents”?

Produced by Mariah Jennings-Rampsi, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, with funding from American College of Bankruptcy
Created June 2012

If you get a paper from the Plaintiff that asks you to send documents, you must send these documents.  It will say “Request for Documents” at the top.  A request for documents is a legal way the plaintiff can get information from you about the case.  This is part of the discovery process.

If you do not respond by the deadline, 30 days, the Plaintiff may be able to get a default judgment against you and win the case. A default judgment means the creditor will win the case just because you did not follow the rules. If the Request comes with a Summons and Complaint, you have 45 days to respond. 

You can object to a request for production of documents. One common objection is that the request is to “burdensome”. For example, the plaintiff is requesting 10 years of all your financial records. It’s complicated to know when to object. If you think you need to object, talk to a lawyer.

  1. Answer the requests for documents in writing;
  2. Do the best you can to  provide copies of any documents you have to the Plaintiff; 
  3. Give a signed copy to the Plaintiff before the deadline in the letter; and
  4. Keep a copy of everything yourself. 

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