Serve your response to a request for discovery

After you complete your response to any request for written discovery, you must provide your response to the other side by serving the other side. 

You can serve the other side by mail. This means another adult, not you, mails your response to the other side. 

    Before you start

    You can serve any of these by mail:

    • Response to Request for Admissions
    • Response to Request for Production
    • Response to Form Interrogatories
    • Response to Special Interrogatories

    How to serve a Response for written discovery

    • Choose a server

      You can't serve papers yourself. Ask another adult – a server – to mail the papers.   

      Your server must be: 

      • 18 or over, and 

      • Not part of your case 

      Your server can be: 

      • Someone you know 

      • A professional process server you hire 

    • Figure out deadline to serve

      Your server must mail the papers no later than 30 days after the discovery request was personally delivered to you, or 35 days after the request was mailed to you from within California 

      There are a few exceptions: 

      • If it was mailed between, to, or from another state in the United States, time is extended to 40 days
      • If it was mailed to or from outside the United States, time is extended to 50 days
      • If the last day to serve falls on a weekend or a court holiday, the last day to serve is extended to the next day the court is open
      • If there is a substantial amount of discovery, the opposing side may agree to extend the time to respond, especially if you ask early for the extension

      Missing the deadline to serve your responses has a couple of effects:

      • You waive (give up) any objections to the discovery requests. This means that any answers served must contain no objections to the questions. 
      • The asking side may ask the court to order that you respond to the request, and pay a financial penalty (sanction) for not responding.
      • If the discovery request is a Request for Admissions, the asking side may ask the court to order that each of the statements listed in the request be considered true, and for attorney fees for the cost of filing the motion.

      If you cannot avoid being late, it is best to contact the other side as early as possible to see if they will agree to an extension of time for you to serve your responses.

    • Have your server mail the papers

      Your server must mail your response to the other side or the other side's attorney by the deadline or you may be penalized by the court. 

      If you've received a Request for Production and are providing documents, you may be able to include these with the response when you serve it. It depends on the instructions in your Request or in other communications from the other side.

      Tell your server to write down the date they mailed the papers. Your server needs this date to fill out the Proof of Service by First Class Mail form.

    • Have your server complete the Proof of Service form

      You can use Proof of Personal Service by First Class Mail (form POS-030).  

      It helps if you fill in the top part of the form with the case and court information.    

      Your server can then fill in the information about how, when, and where they served the papers. Your server must sign the form

    • Copy the Proof of Service form

      Keep the original Proof of Service by First Class Mail form for your records.  



    Once you've served your response and delivered any documents that have been requested, you have completed the task of responding to a request for written discovery.

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