Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Drafting Requests for Production of Documents

Like interrogatories, requests for production of documents (often called RFPs or RPDs) are merely questions. Through RPDs you ask the opposing party to produce certain documents relevant to the litigation. Remember, discovery is broad, so you can generally ask for documents “calculated” to lead to discoverable evidence, which may include documents that aren’t admissible. And don’t forget that the local rules or relevant rules of your jurisdiction may limit the number of RPDs you can send, so prioritize your RPDs to ask for the documents you believe will be most important to the litigation.

As with interrogatories, you aren’t entitled to documents that constitute attorney work product or which are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Many jurisdictions, though, require a party withholding documents based on privilege to produce a privilege log describing the document generally and the reason it is being withheld.  

What to Ask For
It's difficult to create a list of RPDs that apply to every case. Generally, though, you’ll want to ask for these categories of documents:
-documents that support or are relevant to the claims or defenses;
-contracts or other writings, such as emails, that evidence a contract (if applicable);
-the CV of any expert witness;
-all documents reviewed by any expert witnesses;
-the contents of any expert witnesses’ files;
-incident/accident reports and records;

 -employee personnel files (if applicable); for employees involved in the incident/accident;
-corporate training manuals and materials;
-photographs (of any person or thing relevant to the litigation);
-documents the party used in responding to interrogatories; and
-documents referenced in the party’s interrogatory responses.
In personal injury actions, you’ll also want to ask for:
-medical records and bills;
-wage records (such as W-2s or 1099 forms); and
-records for any other claimed special damages.
In a products liability action, you may want to ask for documents related to other lawsuits or claims involving the same product. As with interrogatories, you likely will want to limit your RPDs in time or scope.
How to ask for it
Your RPDs should be straightforward, just like your interrogatories. If the RPDs aren’t clear and easy to understand, they’re likely to draw an objection. Your RPDs should look something like this:

Please produce all documents that support your defense of lack of service of process.

Please produce the curriculum vitae or resume of any person you intend to call as a witness in the trial of this matter.

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