DOCUMENT REQUESTS – LOOKING FOR THE ‘SMOKING GUN’.

Document requests are often served concurrently with interrogatories, which we touched on last week.  Document requests are another form of discovery and also, similar to interrogatories, must be related to the claims and defenses at issue in the litigation.

Unlike interrogatories, there is not a black letter rule (in most states) governing the number of document requests that a party can serve on their opponent.  This discovery tool is a request that asks the opponent to provide certain documents by category.  For instance, ‘turn over all of the documents that support your claim for breach of fiduciary duty’ may be a request served in a shareholder dispute.  Document requests must be responded to within 30-days of service.

Because so many civil cases are won or lost based on the documents produced and/or available to the parties, document requests are often where a party finds their ‘smoking gun’.  The document that establishes a claim.  Or the document that negates liability.  These are the nuggets of gold the litigator is mining for in serving document requests.

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