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Are circular responses to discovery requests an abuse of discovery?

San Diego, CA |
Filed under: Discovery

In response to my discovery request for documents, the defendants in my case have provided numerous circular responses. Typically, there is a pattern whereby I request documents supporting contentions they made in letters and emails. Defendants object that the requests are “vague and ambiguous as to time and scope and assumes facts” yet, without waiving the objection, respond that they “will produce documents potentially responsive to this request, if they exist. Discovery is continuing.” However, the documents they produced with their responses are simply the same letters and emails where they make the contentions, as if the contentions themselves support the same contentions. Bottom line, I’m getting a runaround and NO production of documents. Is this “strategy” an abuse of discovery which would persuade a judge if I had to file a motion to compel? The defendants engage in this pattern over and over, systematically, and have produced virtually nothing. If I’m going to do a meet and confer neither can I wait, held back by their dilatory claim that “discovery is continuing.”

Attorney Answers 2


  1. The statute says that the judge SHALL impose monetary sanctions to the losing party at a motion to compel discovery responses, so be cautious. There are also time deadlines for filing a motion to compel, so do not miss that. If they are saying they will produce what they have and nothing comes, they will be stuck with that at trial. Good luck.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  2. Please see my other reply to the question about a motion to compel and the need to have a lawyer if you ever hope to seek sanctions in any motion to compel..

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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