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Discovery in Texas: Requests for Production

Virtual Court

This article explains "discovery requests" for production during the discovery period.

When you represent yourself in court, discovery can be intimidating. Discovery lets both parties know about evidence that might be important in their case. This article discusses part of the "requests" stage of discovery.

What is a request for production?

A request for production is a tool that you can use during the “discovery period” or the time where parties uncover evidence for their case. You may serve a request for production on the other party in order to request access to certain evidence. The request must specify with particularity the evidence that you are seeking.  

What can I request?

You can request production of any physical evidence that is both relevant and within the other party’s control. For example, in a contract dispute, you can request production of the shipping order specific to your contract. If the other party does not have possession of the item requested, they do not have a duty to produce. 

When can I send requests?

You can make discovery requests during the discovery period. Read Discovery in Texas: Investigate and Prepare for Trial for a general overview of the discovery period. The discovery period begins when initial disclosures are submitted. The discovery period most commonly continues through until 30 days before the date set for trial.

Note: Your discovery period depends on what discovery plan applies in your case. Review Rule 190 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure to determine what discovery plan applies in your case. 

Do I need to file my discovery requests?

No. You only need to sign and deliver the discovery request to the other party or the other party's attorney. If you are serving a discovery request on a non-party, then the request must be filed. Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 191.4 governs the filing requirement for discovery requests. 

Do you have to respond to a discovery request?

Yes. Responding parties have 30 days to respond to a discovery request. The party must respond to the discovery request with one of the following prompts:

  • Permitted as requested.
  • Requested items are being served with the response.
  • Production will take place at a specified time and place, if you are objecting to the original time and place of production. 
  • No items have been identified-- after a diligent search-- that are responsive to the request.

What if the other party will not send me the evidence I am requesting?

Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 215 governs the rules and remedies for abuse of discovery. If the other party refuses to respond to a discovery request, you will have to move for an order compelling discovery. An order compelling discovery will require the responding party to provide a response or objection to the discovery request. Failure to respond to an order to compel may result in sanctions and fees for the violating party.  Read Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 215.1 on compelled discovery and sanctions. 

Note: if the opposing party refuses to provide you with discovery as requested, you should not withhold discovery in response. You must file a motion to compel. The rules of discovery apply whether or not you were denied discovery first.

Do I need to produce the "original" of the item requesteed?

No. Copies of evidence that are produced are permissible unless there is a question as to the original's authenticity or if the copy would unfairly limit inspection of the item. See Texas Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 196.3 for the requirements of discovery production. 

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