How does one know who to make a request for production of documents on?

How does one know if the clerk (or whomever) that is being sued and is requested for production of documents is still with that same company who would have the documents?

  • So, a party makes a request for production on another party. The other party waits for the maximum time to answer and in their response they merely state something like; 'we no longer work there and no longer have access to the records you are requesting'. Such a response would seem to delay a cause of action. How would a party go about resolving or preventing such a response? – j. howdee Oct 2 '17 at 0:12

A "request for production of documents" is a discovery tool that applies only to parties to a lawsuit. You send the request to the address of record in the lawsuit (usually a lawyer for the party) with the name of the party in question identified.

To obtain documents from anyone other than a party, you serve a subpoena duces tecum upon the individual, if the person you think has documents is an individual, and upon either a registered agent or custodian of records for the entity, if you believe than an entity is in possession of the records. The records of a state secretary of state or a division of corporations in almost every state makes the name and address of the registered agent of each entity in the state available as a matter of public record. This can usually be searched via the Internet.

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  • And what is the recourse of the requestor if the other side refuses to provide, or provides incomplete documents? – mongo Oct 1 '17 at 22:34
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    @mongo If a party refuses to cooperate, the remedy is a motion to compel followed by discovery sanctions (under the federal rules and state rules based upon them per Rule 37). For a third party, a request to hold the non-responding party in contempt of court. – ohwilleke Oct 1 '17 at 22:40
  • Thanks @ohwilleke. In lieu of those motions, could a show cause why they should not be compelled, followed by a show cause for sanctions? My thinking is that the show cause makes it ministerial, rather than discretionary. – mongo Oct 1 '17 at 23:05
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    @mongo The procedural details of motion practice and sanctions practice differ materially from court system to court system. New York, for example, uses orders to show cause with great frequency, while Colorado rarely uses them. – ohwilleke Oct 2 '17 at 16:51

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