What Happens When a Party Doesn’t Honor a Discovery Request

If court rules allow discovery in a case, the parties have a right to have the other side produce evidence and answer questions. This helps the parties learn about the available evidence in the case. Knowing the evidence often helps the parties reach a resolution outside of trial.

When the other side doesn’t respond to a request for discovery, the party that wants the information has to figure out what to do. There are multiple options. The best choice depends on the type of discovery that the party is looking for and the reasons for the noncompliance.

Motion to Compel Discovery

One way to enforce the discovery demand is by asking for a court order that says the other person has to respond. To get this court order, the person wanting discovery files what’s called a Motion to Compel Discovery. They prove to the court that they filed the discovery by showing them a copy of the proof of mailing. They tell the court that the person hasn’t responded.

The person who receives the discovery demand has a chance to tell the jury their side of the story. If they think the information the other party wants to discover is protected by a privilege, they can tell the court. They can tell the court that the information is personally invasive or irrelevant to the issues of the case. The court listens to both sides and decides whether to compel the discovery.

Sometimes, to file a Motion to Compel Discovery, the person seeking the discovery must first contact the other party. They must ask them why they haven’t responded to the discovery, and they must try to work it out. In some cases, the courts require this before they listen to a motion about compelling the response to the discovery request.

Ask for admissions

If the discovery request contains a request for admissions, the person that wants the response can ask the court to assume that the admissions are true because the other side didn’t reply. This is the equivalent of receiving a default on those particular questions. Since the other side doesn’t care to deny it, the court can treat the questions as though they’re in the favor of the person that’s asking for the answers.

Filing a motion

There are certain steps that a litigant must take in order to properly serve and schedule a court motion about discovery. They must prepare the motion either in the appropriate manner or using the appropriate court form. This includes a case caption that lists the names of the parties, the attorneys, the court and the case number.

They must also prepare a proof of mailing that shows that they served the document on the other party. This document must contain the date that they sent the discovery to the party that didn’t answer. In addition, the person who files the motion must properly notice a court date about the discovery. Usually this means getting a date from the court clerk. They must prepare a notice of hearing and send that to the other party along with a copy of the motion. They must also send a copy of the motion and the notice of the hearing to the court.

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