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What is the proper objection to an incorrect request for production of documents?

San Diego, CA |
Filed under: Discovery

In their request for production of documents, the defendants in my case asked me to produce documents based on incorrect or improperly worded conclusions they’ve drawn from my complaint. For example, they request that I produce documents supporting my supposed contentions that I had access to a particular rental unit, or that the defendants requested that I purchase a counter top, or that the defendants requested I re-varnish some cabinets, or that the apartment had no smoke alarms. The fact is that in my complaint I never make any such contentions and the requests are either incorrect, improperly worded, or misconstrue the allegations in the complaint. What is the proper objection to such requests?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You need to be careful with discovery because you can end up on the wrong end of a motion to compel (or other discovery sanction request) faster than you can say “I tried.” GENERALLY, when a demand misstates facts, is argumentative or suggests contentions or allegations that are not true, I object on the grounds that the demand as phrased is vague and ambiguous in that it “suggests a fact which is not true” misstates plaintiff’s contentions or “misconstrues the allegations in the complaint.” Then I make an assumption and respond. For example, you can say “without waiving the stated assumption and assuming that defendant means to ask about (state the actual contention here) plaintiff responds as follows.”

    But again, be warned. This is general. I have no way of knowing if this is the right thing for you to do and warn you again that discovery can be tricky. See a lawyer.

    Best of luck to you.

    Attorney Rebekah Ryan Main

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer or select it as Best Answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges. We can be visited on the web at www.Main-Law.com or call 909-891-0906.

    This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.


  2. It is a bit difficult to ascertain the merits of any written objection without knowing the wording of the specific document production demand.

    Generally speaking, in responding to a demand for production of documents pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.210 et seq., the written responses must state whether the responding party will comply with the demand, or an inability to comply, or assert a valid legal objection.

    Here are a few examples of proper responses:

    1) RESPONDING PARTY will produce all responsive documents currently within RESPONDING PARTY's possession, custody, or control.

    2) RESPONDING PARTY has conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry and is currently unable to comply with this demand because no such documents exist or ever existed.

    3) RESPONDING PARTY has conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry and is currently unable to comply with this demand because such documents have never been in the possession, custody, or control of RESPONDING PARTY.

    Here are a few examples of valid legal objections:

    1) Objection. The demand is vague, ambiguous, overbroad and fails to specifically describe the items sought with reasonable particularity in violation of section 2031.030 (c)(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure.

    2) Objection. The demand is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in violation of Code of Civil Procedure section 2017.010, et seq.

    Again, it's difficult to to advise on specific written objections without knowing the wording of the specific document production demand.

    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 Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


  3. If the request asks for documents supporting a contention you have not made, say that in the response. In addition to the other suggestions made above, you can truthfully state, in response to that demand that "None have ever existed." However, you can get into a lot of trouble if you do not do things properly and no one here has seen your pleading or the demands. If you err, you could end up paying the other side's legal fees after a motion to compel. You should retain counsel so you end up paying someone on your side rather than someone on the other side.


  4. I do not disagree with the fine attorneys have stated but please understand litigation is just as much about strategy as it is the facts.
    Sun-tzu said "Speak and act submissively in order to accord with their intentions. Do not cause them to comprehend the situation and thereby increase their indolence"
    What I am saying is that it is not probable an attorney is sending you meaningless discovery. You may not see the relevance in their request but rest assured there is a reason for it. I suspect you are looking at discovery which will be the basis for a motion to dismiss, shift blame or something of the sort.

    I am an Arizona attorney. AVVO does not pay us for our responses. Simply because I responded to your question does not mean I am your attorney. In Arizona a non-lawyer is held to the same standards as an attorney so there are dangers to representing yourself. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. If you require legal assistance an in depth discussion of your case is needed as there are many other issues to consider such as defenses, statute of limitations, etc.

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