Requests for production, commonly abbreviated as RFPs, are used during litigation to obtain documents, information, or other evidence from the opposing party pursuant to ARCP Rule 34 or ARFLP Rule 62, depending on the type of case. Both rules allow litigants to request up to ten distinct categories of documents or information. Like requests for admission and interrogatories, requests for production must be answered within forty days from receipt, though an additional five days may apply depending on the method of delivery.
Scope of Requests for Production
There are certain limitations to what a litigant can request to be produced. The production sought must be in the possession or control of the party to whom the requests are issued. This does not necessarily mean the party must physically possess the information; but the responding party must have reasonably easy access to the production sought. For example, a litigant may not have physical possession of his or her bank statements, but can obtain those with reasonably minimal effort and expense.
Production Commonly Requested
The types of information requested varies based on the type of case and the contested issues. For example, in a personal injury case, a litigant may request documents related to auto insurance, medical records and imaging, damaged property (including photographs), resumes or CVs of potential expert witnesses, and police reports or other written statements.
In family law cases, like divorce or child custody, litigants commonly request bank and financial account statements, credit card statements, mental health records, property deeds, business records, tax returns and schedules, and pay stub, among other requests for production.
Objections to Requests for Production
When a party is served with requests for production, he or she is obligated by law to produce all of the documents requested unless objectionable. For example, some information could be privileged — like certain communications between spouses — or a litigant may request documents or information that does not exist. It is advisable to have an attorney review all production before forwarding answers to the requesting party.
When the responding party refuses to answer the requests or improperly asserts an objection, the requesting party must try to resolve the discovery dispute directly with the responding party. If that is unsuccessful, the party who issued the requests may file a motion to compel responses, pursuant to ARCP Rule 37 or ARFLP Rule 65. If granted, the court will compel the answers and may award the requesting party his or her reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred in having to compel.