2011 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 804. Civil procedure--depositions and discovery.
804.09 Production of documents and things and entry upon land for inspection and other purposes.

804.09

804.09 Production of documents and things and entry upon land for inspection and other purposes.

804.09(1)

(1) Scope. A party may serve on any other party a request within the scope of s. 804.01 (2): (a) 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: 1. 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 other medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form; or 2. any designated tangible things; or (b) to permit entry onto designated land or 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.

804.09(2)

(2) Procedure.

804.09(2)(a)

(a) Except as provided in s. 804.015, 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, and shall describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected. The request shall specify a reasonable time, place, and manner of making the inspection and performing the related acts. The request may specify the form or forms in which electronically stored information is to be produced.

804.09(2)(b)

(b)

804.09(2)(b)1.

1. The party upon whom the request is served shall serve a written response within 30 days after the service of the request, except that a defendant may serve a response within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The response shall state, with respect to each item or category, that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested, unless the request is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated. If objection is made to part of an item or category, the part shall be specified. 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 shall state the form or forms it intends to use.

804.09(2)(b)2.

2. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, these procedures apply to producing documents or electronically stored information:

804.09(2)(b)2.a.

a. A party shall produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request;

804.09(2)(b)2.b.

b. If a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party shall produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms; and

804.09(2)(b)2.c.

c. A party need not produce the same electronically stored information in more than one form.

804.09(2)(c)

(c) The party submitting the request may move for an order under s. 804.12 (1) 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.

804.09(3)

(3) Persons not parties. This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for production of documents and things and permission to enter upon land.

804.09 - ANNOT.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 678 (1975); 1975 c. 218; 1997 a. 133; Sup. Ct. Order No. 09-01, 2010 WI 67, filed 7-6-10, eff. 1-1-11.

804.09 - ANNOT.

Judicial Council Note, 2010: Sections 804.09 (1) and (2) are modeled on F.R.C.P. 34(a) and (b). Portions of the Committee Note of the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules are pertinent to the scope and purpose of s. 804.09 (1) and (2): Rule 34(a) is amended to confirm that discovery of electronically stored information stands on equal footing with discovery of paper documents. The change clarifies that Rule 34 applies to information that is fixed in a tangible form and to information that is stored in a medium from which it can be retrieved and examined. A Rule 34 request for production of "documents" should be understood to encompass, and the response should include, electronically stored information unless discovery in the action has clearly distinguished between electronically stored information and "documents."

804.09 - ANNOT.

Discoverable information often exists in both paper and electronic form, and the same or similar information might exist in both. The items listed in Rule 34(a) show different ways in which information may be recorded or stored. Images, for example, might be hard-copy documents or electronically stored information. The wide variety of computer systems currently in use, and the rapidity of technological change, counsel against a limiting or precise definition of electronically stored information. Rule 34(a)(1) is expansive and includes any type of information that is stored electronically. A common example often sought in discovery is electronic communications, such as e-mail. The rule covers either as documents or as electronically stored information information "stored in any medium," to encompass future developments in computer technology. Rule 34(a)(1) is intended to be broad enough to cover all current types of computer-based information, and flexible enough to encompass future changes and developments.

804.09 - ANNOT.

References elsewhere in the rules to "electronically stored information" should be understood to invoke this expansive approach.

804.09 - ANNOT.

Rule 34(b) provides that a party must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the discovery request. The production of electronically stored information should be subject to comparable requirements to protect against deliberate or inadvertent production in ways that raise unnecessary obstacles for the requesting party. Rule 34(b) is amended to ensure similar protection for electronically stored information.

804.09 - ANNOT.

The amendment to Rule 34(b) permits the requesting party to designate the form or forms in which it wants electronically stored information produced. The form of production is more important to the exchange of electronically stored information than of hard-copy materials, although a party might specify hard copy as the requested form. Specification of the desired form or forms may facilitate the orderly, efficient, and cost-effective discovery of electronically stored information. The rule recognizes that different forms of production may be appropriate for different types of electronically stored information. Using current technology, for example, a party might be called upon to produce word processing documents, e-mail messages, electronic spreadsheets, different image or sound files, and material from databases. Requiring that such diverse types of electronically stored information all be produced in the same form could prove impossible, and even if possible could increase the cost and burdens of producing and using the information. The rule therefore provides that the requesting party may ask for different forms of production for different types of electronically stored information.

804.09 - ANNOT.

The rule does not require that the requesting party choose a form or forms of production. The requesting party may not have a preference. In some cases, the requesting party may not know what form the producing party uses to maintain its electronically stored information.

804.09 - ANNOT.

The responding party also is involved in determining the form of production. In the written response to the production request that Rule 34 requires, the responding party must state the form it intends to use for producing electronically stored information if the requesting party does not specify a form or if the responding party objects to a form that the requesting party specifies. Stating the intended form before the production occurs may permit the parties to identify and seek to resolve disputes before the expense and work of the production occurs. A party that responds to a discovery request by simply producing electronically stored information in a form of its choice, without identifying that form in advance of the production in the response required by Rule 34(b) runs a risk that the requesting party can show that the produced form is not reasonably usable and that it is entitled to production of some or all of the information in an additional form. Additional time might be required to permit a responding party to assess the appropriate form or forms of production.

804.09 - ANNOT.

The option to produce in a reasonably usable form does not mean that a responding party is free to convert electronically stored information from the form in which it is ordinarily maintained to a different form that makes it more difficult or burdensome for the requesting party to use the information efficiently in the litigation. If the responding party ordinarily maintains the information it is producing in a way that makes it searchable by electronic means, the information should not be produced in a form that removes or significantly degrades this feature. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 2011]

804.09 - ANNOT.

What You Need to Know: New Electronic Discovery Rules. Sankovitz, Grenig & Gleisner. Wis. Law. July 2010.

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