RULE 34. PRODUCING DOCUMENTS, ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION AND TANGIBLE THINGS, OR ENTERING ONTO LAND FOR INSPECTION AND OTHER PURPOSES
Effective Date: 3/1/2017
(a) In General. A party may serve on any other party a request within the scope of Rule 26(b):
(1) to produce and permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect, copy, test, or sample the following items in the responding party's possession, custody, or control:(A) any designated documents or electronically stored information - including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations - stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form; or(B) any designated tangible things; or(2) to permit entry onto designated land or other property possessed or controlled by the responding party, so that the requesting party may inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property or any designated object or operation on it.
(1) Contents of the Request. The request:(A) must describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected;(B) must specify a reasonable time, place and manner for the inspection and for performing the related acts; and(C) may specify the form or forms in which electronically stored information is to be produced.(2) Responses and Objections.(A) Time to Respond. The party to whom the request is directed must respond in writing within 30 days after being served, but a defendant is not required to serve its response until 45 days after being served with the summons and complaint. A shorter or longer time may be stipulated to under Rule 29 or be ordered by the court.(B) Responding to Each Item. For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request. The responding party may state that it will produce copies of documents or of electronically stored information instead of permitting inspection.(C) Objections. An objection must state whether any responsive materials are being withheld on the basis of that objection. An objection to part of a request must specify the part and permit inspection of the rest.(D) Responding to a Request for Production of Electronically Stored Information. The response may state an objection to a requested form for producing electronically stored information. If the responding party objects to a requested form - or if no form was specified in the request - the party must state the form or forms it intends to use.(E) Producing the Documents or Electronically Stored Information. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, these procedures apply to producing documents or electronically stored information:(i) A party must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request;
(ii) If the request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms; and
(iii) a party need not produce the same electronically stored information in more than one form.
(c) Signature. The person who responds to the request must sign the response, and the person who objects must sign any objections.
(d) Nonparties. As provided in Rule 45, a nonparty may be compelled to produce documents and tangible things or to permit an inspection.
Rule 34 was amended, effective July 1, 1981; March 1, 1990; January 1, 1995; March 1, 1997; March 1, 2008; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2017.
An objection must be served within the time for serving a response or the objection is waived. Any extension must be in writing and should specify whether the extension includes responses, objections, or both.
Paragraph (b)(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2017, in response to the December 1, 2015, revision of Fed.R.Civ.P. 34. The amendments allow copies of documents or electronically stored information to be produced rather than permitting inspection and to require an objection to specify whether anything is being withheld on the basis of the objection.
Subdivision (c) was amended, effective March 1, 2017, to require the person who responds to a request for production to sign the response document and for a lawyer or self-represented person who makes objections to sign the objections. The former text of subdivision (c) on nonparties became new subdivision (d).
Rule 34 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
Rule 34 was amended, effective March 1, 2008, in response to the 2006 federal revision. The amendments provide guidance regarding requests for electronically stored information.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 28-29, 2016, pages 15-18; January 29-30, 2009, pages 28-29; September 28-29, 2006, pages 20-22;January 25-26, 1996, page 6; September 28-29, 1995, page 14; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; October 30-31, 1980, pages 20-22; November 29-30, 1979, page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 34.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 16 (Pre-Trial Procedure Formulating Issues), N.D.R.Civ.P. 26 (General Provisions Governing Discovery), N.D.R.Civ.P. 29 (Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedures), N.D.R.Civ.P. 37 (Failure to Make Discovery Sanctions), N.D.R.Ev. 510 (Waiver of Privilege by Voluntary Disclosure).