Legal Memorandum: An Objection to a Discovery Request

Issue: Under the Federal Rules, may a party property object to a discovery request by arguing that the documents may be obtained elsewhere?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Object to a discovery request; Obtainable from another source; Documents
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 149 F. Supp. 2d 1053
Cited Statutes: Rule 34
Date: 06/01/2013

Assuming requested documents can be obtained through a government request, or a request on a third party, or even if the requesting party already has them in its possession, stating such is not a justification that will excuse production from a party receiving the Rule 34 demand.  See, e.g., Gomez v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 8:08CV21 at 4 (D. Neb. July 31, 2012) (“an objection based on information that the moving party is already in possession of documents it seeks to obtain by inspection, is an insufficient response to requests for production; a party is required to produce documents in its possession, custody, or control, regardless of whether it believes the requesting party already has those documents”); Ragan v. Jeffboat, LLC, 149 F. Supp. 2d 1053, 1061 (S.D. Ind. 2001) (fact that plaintiff had the document at one time or could have also obtained it by government request is no bar to discovery from defendant); Fort Washington Resources, Inc. v. Tannen, 153 F.R.D. 78, 79 (E.D. Pa. 1994) (“[I]t is not a bar to the discovery of relevant material that the same material may be in the possession of the requesting party or obtainable from another source.”); Weiner v. Bache Halsey Stuart, Inc., 76 F.R.D. 624, 625 (S.D. Fla. 1977) (“it is clear now that the former equity restriction on discovery of information already within the knowledge of the moving party could hardly apply to discovery under the federal rules, since the purpose of […]

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