Oregon Discovery Law

Evidence – Discovery – Oregon

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

Definitions

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.
Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure

Oregon has adopted the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure which contain rules governing discovery.The discovery rules also apply in divorce actions.

Discovery Methods:Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods:depositions upon oral examination or written questions; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.

Rule 36(A)

Scope: Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the scope of discovery is as follows:

B(1) In general. For all forms of discovery, parties may inquire regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things, and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

B(2) Insurance agreements or policies. B(2)(a) A party, upon the request of an adverse party, shall disclose the existence and contents of any insurance agreement or policy under which a person transacting insurance may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment which may be entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment. B(2)(b) The obligation to disclose under this subsection shall be performed as soon as practicable following the filing of the complaint and the request to disclose. The court may supervise the exercise of disclosure to the extent necessary to insure that it proceeds properly and expeditiously. However, the court may limit the extent of disclosure under this subsection as provided in section C of this rule. B(2)(c) Information concerning the insurance agreement or policy is not by reason of disclosure admissible in evidence at trial. For purposes of this subsection, an application for insurance shall not be treated as part of an insurance agreement or policy. B(2)(d) As used in this subsection, “disclose” means to afford the adverse party an opportunity to inspect or copy the insurance agreement or policy.

B(3) Trial preparation materials. Subject to the provisions of Rule 44, a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under subsection B(1) of this rule and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party’s representative (including an attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of such party’s case and is unable without undue hardship to obtain thesubstantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation. A party may obtain, without the required showing, a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that party. Upon request, a person who is not a party may obtain, without the required showing, a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that person. If the request is refused, the person or party requesting the statement may move for a court order. The provisions of Rule 46 A(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. For purposes of this subsection, a statement previously made is (a) a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the person making it, or (b) a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, which is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded. Rule 36(B)

Court Order Limiting Extent of Disclosure:Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the court in which the action is pending may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following: (1) that the discovery not be had; (2) that the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place; (3) that the discovery may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected by the party seeking discovery; (4) that certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of the discovery be limited to certain matters; (5) that discovery be conducted with no one present except persons designated by the court; (6) that a deposition after being sealed be opened only by order of the court; (7) that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; (8) that the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes to be opened as directed by the court; or (9) that to prevent hardship the party requesting discovery pay to the other party reasonable expenses incurred in attending the deposition or otherwise responding to the request for discovery. Rule 36(C)

Depositions:

Within this state, depositions shall be preceded by an oath or affirmation administered to the deponent by an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of this state or by a person specially appointed by the court in which the action is pending. A person so appointed has the power to administer oaths for the purpose of the deposition. A(2) For purposes of this rule, a deposition taken pursuant to Rule 39 C(7) is taken within this state if either the deponent or the person administering the oath is located in this state. Rule 38(A)

Within another state, or within a territory or insular possession subject to the dominion of the United States, or in a foreign country, depositions may be taken (1) on notice before a person authorized to administer oaths in the place in which the examination is held, either by the law thereof or by the law of the United States, or (2) before a person appointed or commissioned by the court in which the action is pending, and such a person shall have the power by virtue of such person’s appointment or commission to administer any necessary oath and take testimony, or (3) pursuant to a letter rogatory. A commission or letter rogatory shall be issued on application and notice and on terms that are just and appropriate. It is not requisite to the issuance of a commission or a letter rogatory that the taking of the deposition in any other manner is impracticable or inconvenient; and both a commission and a letter rogatory may be issued in proper cases. A notice or commission may designate the person before whom the deposition is to be taken either by name or descriptive title. A letter rogatory may be addressed “To the Appropriate Authority in (here name the state, territory, or country).” Evidence obtained in a foreign country in response to a letter rogatory need not be excluded merely for the reason that it is not a verbatim transcript or that the testimony was not taken under oath or for any similar departure from the requirements for depositions taken within the United States under these rules. Rule 38(B)

Whenever any mandate, writ, or commission is issued out of any court of record in any other state, territory, district, or foreign jurisdiction, or whenever upon notice or agreement it is required to take the testimony of a witness or witnesses in this state, witnesses may be compelled to appear and testify in the same manner and by the same process and proceeding as may be employed for the purpose of taking testimony in proceedings pending in this state. C(2) This section shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purposes to make uniform the laws of those states which have similar rules or statutes. Rule 38(C)

Depositions Upon Oral Examination:When deposition may be taken. After the service of summons or the appearance of the defendant in any action, or in a special proceeding at any time after a question of fact has arisen, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon oral examination. Leave of court, with or without notice, must be obtained only if the plaintiff seeks to take a deposition prior to the expiration of the period of time specified in Rule 7 to appear and answer after service of summons on any defendant, except that leave is not required (1) if a defendant has served a notice of taking deposition or otherwise sought discovery, or (2) a special notice is given as provided in subsection C(2) of this Rule. The attendance of a witness may be compelled by subpoena as provided in Rule 55. Rule 39(A)

The deposition of a person confined in a prison or jail may only be taken by leave of court. The deposition shall be taken on such terms as the court prescribes, and the court may order that the deposition be taken at the place of confinement or, when the prisoner is confined in this state, may order temporary removal and production of the prisoner for purposes of the deposition. Rule 39(B)

A party desiring to take the deposition of any person upon oralexamination shall give reasonable notice in writing to every other party to the action. The notice shall state the time and place for taking the deposition and the name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and, if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify such person or the particular class or group to which such person belongs. If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the person to be examined, the designation of the materials to be produced as set forth in the subpoena shall be attached to or included in the notice. Rule 39(C)(1)

Leave of court is not required for the taking of a deposition by plaintiff if the notice (a) states that the person to be examined is about to go out of the state, or is bound on a voyage to sea, and will be unavailable for examination unless the deposition is taken before the expiration of the period of time specified in Rule 7 to appear and answer after service of summons on any defendant, and (b) sets forth facts to support the statement. The plaintiff’s attorney shall sign the notice, and such signature constitutes a certification by the attorney that to the best of such attorney’s knowledge, information, and belief the statement and supporting facts are true. If a party shows that when served with notice under this subsection, the party was unable through the exercise of diligence to obtain counsel to represent such party at the taking of the deposition, the deposition may not be used against such party.  Rule 39(C)(2)

The court may for cause shown enlarge or shorten the time fortaking the deposition. Rule 39(C)(3)

The notice of deposition required under subsection (1) of this section may provide that the testimony be recorded by other than stenographic means, in which event the notice shall designate the manner of recording and preserving the deposition. A court may require that the deposition be taken by stenographic means if necessary to assure that the recording be accurate. Rule 39(C)(4)

Production of documents and things. The notice to a party deponent may be accompanied by a request made in compliance with Rule 43 for the production of documents and tangible things at the taking of the deposition. The procedure of Rule 43 shall apply to the request. Rule 39(C)(5)

Deposition of organization. A party may in the notice and in a subpoena name as the deponent a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency and describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. In that event, the organization so named shall designate one or more officers, directors, managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf, and shall set forth, for each person designated, the matters on which such person will testify. A subpoena shall advise a nonparty organization of its duty to make such a designation. The persons so designated shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization. This subsection does not preclude taking a deposition by any other procedure authorized in these rules. Rule 39(C)(6)

Deposition by telephone. Parties may agree by stipulation or the court may order that testimony at a deposition be taken by telephone. If testimony at a deposition is taken by telephone pursuant to court order, the order shall designate the conditions of taking testimony, the manner of recording the deposition, and may include other provisions to assure that the recorded testimony will be accurate and trustworthy. If testimony at a deposition is taken by telephone other than pursuant to court order or stipulation made a part of the record, then objections as to the taking of testimony by telephone, the manner of giving the oath or affirmation, and the manner of recording the deposition are waived unless seasonable objection thereto is made at the taking of the deposition. The oath or affirmation may be administered to the deponent, either in the presence of the person administering the oath or over the telephone, at the election of the party taking the deposition. Rule 39(C)(7)

Depositions Upon Written Questions:Serving questions; notice. Upon stipulation of the parties or leave of court for good cause shown, and after commencement of the action, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon written questions. The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by the use of subpoena as provided in Rule 55. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only as provided in Rule 39 B. A party desiring to take a deposition upon written questions shall serve them upon every other party with a notice stating (1) the name and address of the person who is to answer them, if known, and if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify such person or the particular class or group to which the person belongs, and (2) the name or descriptive title and address of the officer before whom the deposition is to be taken. A deposition upon written questions may be taken of a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency in accordance with the provisions of Rule 39 C(6). Within 30 days after the notice and written questions are served, a party may serve cross questions upon all other parties. Within 10 days after being served with cross questions, a party may serve redirect questions upon all other parties. Within 10 days after being served with redirect questions, a party may serve recross questions upon all other parties. The court may for cause shown enlarge or shorten the time. Rule 40(A)

Officer to take responses and prepare record. A copy of the notice and copies of all questions served shall be delivered by the party taking the deposition to the officer designated in the notice, who shall proceed promptly, in the manner provided by Rule 39 D, F, and G, to take the testimony of the witness in response to the questions and to prepare, certify, and file or mail the deposition, attaching thereto the copy of the notice and the questions received by the officer. Rule 40(B)

Effect Of Errors And Irregularities In Depositions:As to notice. All errors and irregularities in the notice for taking a deposition are waived unless written objection is promptly served upon the party giving the notice. Rule 41(A)

As to disqualification of officer. Objection to taking a deposition because of disqualification of the officer administering the oath is waived unless made before the taking of the deposition begins or as soon thereafter as the disqualification becomes known or could be discovered with reasonable diligence.41(B)

As to taking of deposition. C(1) Objections to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony are not waived by failure to make them before or during the taking of the deposition, unless the ground of the objection is one which might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.

C(2) Errors and irregularities occurring at the oral examination in the manner of taking the deposition, in the form of the questions or answers, in the oath or affirmation, or in the conduct of parties, and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed, or cured if promptly presented, are waived unless seasonable objection thereto is made at the taking of the deposition.

C(3) Objections to the form of written questions submitted under Rule 40 are waived unless served in writing upon the party propounding them within the time allowed for serving the succeeding cross or other questions and within 20 days after service of the last questions authorized. Rule 41(C)

As to completion and return of deposition. Errors and irregularities in the manner in which the testimony is transcribed or the deposition is prepared, signed, certified, sealed, endorsed, transmitted, filed, or otherwise dealt with under Rules 39 and 40 are waived unless a motion to suppress the deposition or some part thereof is made with reasonable promptness after such defect is, or with due diligence might have been, ascertained. Rule 41(D)

Production

Any party may serve on any other party a request: (1) to produce and permit the party making the request, or someone acting on behalf of the party making the request, to inspect and copy, any designated documents (including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, phono-records, and other data compilations from which information can be obtained, and translated, if necessary, by the respondent through detection devices into reasonably usable form), or to inspect and copy, test, or sample any tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of Rule 36 B and which are in the possession, custody, or control of the party upon whom the request is served; or (2) to permit entry upon designated land or other property in the possession or control of the party upon whom the request is served for the purpose of inspection and measuring, surveying, photographing, testing, or sampling the property or any designated object or operation thereon, within the scope of Rule 36 B. Rule 43(A)

The request may be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons upon that party. The request shall set forth the items to be inspected either by individual item or by category and describe each item and category with reasonable particularity. The request shall specify a reasonable time, place, and manner of making the inspection and performing the related acts. A defendant shall not be required to produce or allow inspection or other related acts before the expiration of 45 days after service of summons, unless the court specifies a shorter time. The party upon whom a request has been served shall comply with the request, unless the request is objected to with a statement of reasons for each objection before the time specified in the request for inspection and performing the related acts. If objection is made to part of an item or category, the part shall be specified. The party submitting the request may move for an order under Rule 46 A with respect to any objection to or other failure to respond to the request or any part thereof, or any failure to permit inspection as requested. Rule 43(B)

Though a writing called for by one party is produced by the other, and is inspected by the party calling for it, the party requesting production is not obliged to offer it in evidence. Rule 43(C)

A person not a party to the action may be compelled to produce books, papers, documents, or tangible things and to submit to an inspection thereof as provided in Rule 55. This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for permission to enter upon land. Rule 43(D)
Physical and Mental Examination of Persons

When the mental or physical condition or the blood relationship of a party, or of an agent, employee, or person in the custody or under the legal control of a party (including the spouse of a party in an action to recover for injury to the spouse), is in controversy, the court may order the party to submit to a physical or mental examination by a physician or a mental examination by a psychologist or to produce for examination the person in such party’s custody or legal control. The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be examined and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made. Rule 44(A)

If requested by the party against whom an order is made under section A of this rule or the person examined, the party causing the examination to be made shall deliver to the requesting person or party a copy of a detailed report of the examining physician or psychologist setting out such physician’s or psychologist’s findings, including results of all tests made, diagnoses and conclusions, together with like reports of all earlier examinations of the same condition. After delivery the party causing the examination shall be entitled upon request to receive from the party against whom the order is made a like report of any examination, previously or thereafter made, of the same condition, unless, in the case of a report of examination of a person not a party, the party shows inability to obtain it. This section applies to examinations made by agreement of the parties, unless the agreement expressly provides otherwise. Rule 44(B)

Requests for Admissions

After commencement of an action, a party may serve upon any other party a request for the admission by the latter of the truth of relevant matters within the scope of Rule 36B specified in the request, including facts or opinions of fact, or the application of law to fact, or of the genuineness of any relevant documents or physical objects described in or exhibited with the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party. The request for admissions shall be preceded by the following statement printed in capital letters of the type size in which the request is printed: “FAILURE TO SERVE A WRITTEN ANSWER OR OBJECTION WITHIN THE TIME ALLOWED BY ORCP 45 B WILL RESULT IN ADMISSION OF THE FOLLOWING REQUESTS.” Rule 45(A)

The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by the party’s attorney; but, unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon such defendant. If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and when good faith requires that a party qualify the answer or deny only a part of the matter of which an admission is requested, the party shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless the answering party states that reasonable inquiry has been made and that the information known or readily obtainable by the answering party is insufficient to enable the answering party to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; the party may, subject to the provisions of Rule 46 C, deny the matter or set forth reasons why the party cannot admit or deny it. Rule 45(B)

The party who has requested the admissions may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with the requirements of this rule, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the request be made at a designated time prior to trial. The provisions of Rule 46 A(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. Rule 45(C)

Any matter admitted pursuant to this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. The court may permit withdrawal or amendment when the presentation of the merits of the case will be subserved thereby and the party who obtained the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will prejudice such party in maintaining such party’s case or such party’s defense on the merits. Any admission made by a party pursuant to this rule is for the purpose of the pending action only, and neither constitutes an admission by such party for any other purpose nor may be used against such party in any other action.  Rule 45(D)

The request for admissions shall be so arranged that a blank space shall be provided after each separately numbered request. The space shall be reasonably calculated to enable the answering party to insert the admissions, denials, or objections within the space. If sufficient space is not provided, the answering party may attach additional papers with the admissions, denials, or objections and refer to them in the space provided in the request. Rule 45(E)

A party may serve more than one set of requested admissions upon an adverse party, but the total number of requests shall not exceed 30, unless the court otherwise orders for good cause shown after the proposed additional requests have been filed. In determining what constitutes a request for admission for the purpose of applying this limitation in number, it is intended that each request be counted separately, whether or not it is subsidiary or incidental to or dependent upon or included in another request, and however the requests may be grouped, combined, or arranged. Rule 45(F)

Compel Discovery

A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery as follows: A(1) Appropriate court. A(1)(a) Parties. An application for an order to a party may be made to the court in which the action is pending, and, on matters relating to a deponent’s failure to answer questions at a deposition, such an application may also be made to a court of competent jurisdiction in the political subdivision where the deponent is located.

An application for an order to a deponent who is not a party shall be made to a court of competent jurisdiction in the political subdivision where the non-party deponent is located.

If a party fails to furnish a report under Rule 44 B or C, or if a deponent fails to answer a question propounded or submitted under Rules 39 or 40, or if a corporation or other entity fails to make a designation under Rule 39 C(6) or Rule 40 A, or if a party fails to respond to a request for a copy of an insurance agreement or policy under Rule 36 B(2), or if a party in response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 43 fails to permit inspection as requested, the discovering party may move for an order compelling discovery in accordance with the request. When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may complete or adjourn the examination before applying for an order. If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order as it would have been empowered to make on a motion made pursuant to Rule 36

For purposes of this section, an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer. Rule 46

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 Oregon Discovery Law