Discovery Methods – Inspection Demands


1.    What is an Inspection Demand?

An inspection demand is the broad term used to describe the method of discovery which allows a party to a lawsuit to inspect anything from land to documents. A demand for production of documents is a more narrow term used to describe a request for documents only.

2.   How many inspection Demands can I make?

There are no limits to the number of inspection demands you can make, unlike special interrogatories which are limited to 35. However, be cautious that your demands are not so numerous that the other party cannot possibly respond to your request. The limitless number should not be used as a harassment tool.

3.   What can I demand? Is there a limit to what I can ask for?

The scope of the inspection demand is set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2031.010, which states the following:

Any party may obtain discovery….by inspecting, copying, testing, or sampling documents, tangible things, land or other property, and electronically stored information in the possession, custody, or control of any other party to the action. Code Civ. Proc., Section 2031.010

So in a nutshell, you can ask to inspect, copy, test, or sample the following items:


Documents are defined as a ”writing,” and a writing can be considered all of the following: handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, electronically stored information, and every other means of recording on any tangible thing, any form of communication or representation including letters, words, pictures, sounds, symbols, and any combination of such forms of communication and any record thereby created.

Thus, documents subject to inspection include any form of tangible expression, such as audio and video recordings, photos, microfilm, drawings, graphs, charts, and computerized information. Code Civ. Proc., Section 1985.8

            –tangible things (for example clothing or car parts)

            –land or property

            –electronically stored information

4.   Who can I make a demand on?

You can only make a demand on persons or businesses that are a party to the lawsuit. Basically, they have to be either the plaintiff or defendant. If you want or need documents from a person or business that is not a party to the lawsuit, you have to use a different method.

5.   Are there time limits to sending out or responding to Inspection Demands?

If you are the Defendant you do not have to wait before sending out Inspection Demands. If you are the Plaintiff, you have to wait 10 days after service of the complaint or the other side appears in the lawsuit.

Responses are due within 30 days of the service demand. Timing is important. There are consequences for failing to answer so if you are running out of time, call the person that sent them to you and ask for an extension of time to respond.

Disclaimer: The contents on this blog are informational only and not meant, intended, nor should be considered legal advice, advertisement, or solicitation for business. The material posted on this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship, and readers should not act upon it without seeking professional counsel.

Furthermore, the information contained on this blog is not specific to any particular set of circumstances. All links to outside information are meant to provide further information on the topic addressed, I make no warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information contained herein or in the attached links.

by Attorney Judith Elaine Hoover on 02/27/12

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