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Iowa Discovery Law

Evidence – Discovery – Iowa

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of discovery law in Iowa, but does include basic and other information.


Discovery: A procedure designed to allow disclosure of information between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Written questions, oral questioning, document production and admissions requests are generally allowed.  Discovery was designed to to prevent trial by ambush.

Interrogatories: Written questions from Plaintiff to Defendant, or from Defendant to Plaintiff. The questions are mailed to the Plaintiff, Defendant or the attorney for response in writing.  The answers or responses are usually due between 20-30 days.

Deposition: A procedure where verbal questions are asked a Plaintiff or Defendant for immediate response.  Depositions are usually recorded by a court reporter, who swears the person to tell the truth before questioning begins.

Production of Documents: The method of obtaining documents from the other party relevant to the case such as all documents a party intends to introduce at trial.

Requests for Admissions: Written questions where you request the other party to admit or deny some relevant fact.

Objections: Objections may be made to all discovery questions if the questions are not relevant, or likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence.

Civil Procedure Rules: Virtually all states have adopted a version of civil procedure rules which include rules dealing with discovery.
Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure

Iowa has adopted the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules of discovery are contained in the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure. The discovery rules also apply in divorce actions.


A party may filed not over thirty numbered interrogatories to be answered by another party, if they are necessary to enable the interrogating party adequately to prepare for trial. The submitting party may also inquire as to the existence, nature, custody, control, condition or location of books or documents. Rule 121

Upon application to the court and the showing of good cause, the court may permit the filing of more than thirty interrogatories and may specify the numbered being filed. Rule 122


After issue is joined in any action, any party may file an application for the production or inspection of any books or papers, not privileged, which are in the control of any other party, which are in the control of any other party, which are material to a just determination of the cause, for the purpose of having them inspected or copied or photostated. Rule 129

A party may be order to permit his adversary to inspect, view, measure, survey or photograph any personalty or real estate or object or operation which is relevant to any issue. Rule 131

Noncompliance with Orders

For disobedience to any order made under the rules 121-133 inclusive, the court may make any further orders that are just. Rule 134

Physical and Mental Examinations of Persons

The court may, in its discretion order a physician to examine as to any physical or mental condition of a party which is in controversy an action. Rule 132


Restrictions: The deposition of an adverse party, or of any person whose testimony is sought as representative of such adverse party, or whose acts or conduct, made the subject of the deposition, is material to the rights asserted against said adverse party, may not be taken for purposes of discovery, not at all unless ordered by the court upon application, notice and hearing and a showing that the witness is or is about to go beyond the reach of a subpoena, or is for any other cause expected to be unable to attend at the time of trial. Rule 141

Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken: No deposition shall be taken before any party, or any person financially interested in the action, or an attorney or employee of any party, or any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth degree to any party, his attorney, or an employee of either of them.

Depositions taken within the United States or a territory or insular possession thereof may be taken before any person authorized to administer oaths, by the laws of the United States or the place where the examination is held.

Depositions in a foreign land may be taken before a secretary of embassy or legation, or a consul, vice-consul, consul-general or consular agent of the United States. Rule 153

Domestic Actions Discovery Notes

If you require extra time to respond to discovery, you should ask the other side for an extension in writing.  It may also be necessary to enter an order granting the extension to protect your rights.

Discovery questions are limited in number so select the most important questions to ask the other side.  Don’t waste your requests writing questions that you already know the answer to.

Inside Iowa Discovery Law