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Can I get a court order to have other side respond sooner to my discovery?

Culver City, CA |

I know that when propounding interrogatories to other side they get 30 days to answer. If I want to serve them with just 3 questions total for request for production of documents, can I ask the court to shorten the time they have to produce those documents? If so, do they first get served and then I ask the court for an order or do I first submit my motion to court before serving other side with the interrogatories?

Attorney Answers 3


Yes. You can require a party to respond sooner to discovery, but you must have a good reason for doing so. You would need to appear ex parte requesting an order shortening time. In my opinion, however, it is unlikely that the court would grant such a motion/application absent exigent circumstances. In fact, it is very common for the court and counsel to agree to extend the time to respond to discovery and not the reverse.

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It is very unlikely a court would require discovery responses in less then 30 days, regardless of the number. There must be a showing that you wil suffer prejudice if the opposing party does not answer the discovery requests early. It is difficult to imagine a situtation where you need the responses in 10 days as opposed to 30 days.

The procedure would be an ex parte application with the interrogatories you are propounding as an exhibit. The interrogatories should also be separately served. A motion would not work because it requires 26 days notice. Prior to filing the ex parte application you need to contact the opposing counsel and have a good faith meet and confer to determine whether an agreement on a shortened period (i.e., explain why you want responses in less then 30 days and see whether opposing party is agreeable).

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It is highly unlikely the court will shorten the statutory time for responding to a demand for production of documents.

Other than making a motion (after meeting and conferring with the opposing side), if you want to obtain documents sooner than 30 days, you could notice the taking of the other side's deposition and request production of documents at the deposition. If your deposition notice is personally served, you would only need to give 10 days notice of taking deposition.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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