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Rule 51. General Provisions Governing Discovery

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Family Law Procedure

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Family Law Procedure (Refs & Annos)
Part VII. Disclosure and Discovery (Refs & Annos)
17B A.R.S. Rules Fam.Law Proc., Rule 51
Rule 51. General Provisions Governing Discovery
(a) Discovery Methods. A party may obtain discovery by any of the following methods:
(1) depositions under Rule 57;
(2) written interrogatories under Rule 61;
(3) requests for production of documents or things or permission to enter onto land or other property for inspection and other purposes, under Rule 62;
(4) physical, mental, and vocational examinations under Rule 63;
(5) requests for admission under Rule 64; and
(6) subpoenas for production of documentary evidence or for inspection of premises under Rule 52.
(b) Discovery Scope and Limits. Unless the court orders otherwise in accordance with these rules, the scope of discovery is as follows:
(1) Generally.
(A) Scope. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Written discovery to a party may not request information that party is required to disclose under Rule 49. Disputes concerning the adequacy of disclosure must be presented as required by Rule 65.
(B) Limits on Discovery. On motion or on its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by these rules if it determines that the discovery sought: (i) is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from another source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) seeks information that the party has had ample opportunity to obtain; or (iii) is outside the scope permitted by Rule 51(b)(1)(A).
(2) Specific Limits on Discovery of Electronically Stored Information. A party need not provide discovery or disclosure of electronically stored information from sources that the party shows are not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or expense. If a party makes that showing, the court may nonetheless order disclosure or discovery from such sources if the requesting party shows good cause, considering the limits of Rule 51(b)(1). The court may specify conditions for the disclosure or discovery.
(3) Work Product and Witness Statements.
(A) Documents and Tangible Things Prepared in Anticipation of Litigation or for Trial. Ordinarily, a party may not discover documents and tangible things that another party or its representative (including the other party's attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial. But, subject to Rule 51(b)(4)(B), a party may discover those materials if:
(i) the materials are otherwise discoverable under Rule 51(b)(1); and
(ii) the party shows that it has a substantial need for the materials to prepare its case and cannot, without undue hardship, obtain their substantial equivalent by other means.
(B) Protection Against Disclosure of Opinion Work Product. If the court orders discovery of materials under Rule 51(b)(3)(A), it must protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of a party's attorney or other representative concerning the litigation.
(C) Discovery of Own Statement. On request and without the showing required under Rule 51(b)(3)(A), any party or other person may obtain his or her own previous statement about the action or its subject matter. If the request is refused, the party or other person may move for a court order, and Rule 65(a)(4) applies to the award of expenses. A statement discoverable under this rule is either:
(i) a written statement that the party or other person signed or otherwise adopted or approved; or
(ii) a contemporaneous stenographic, video, audio, or other recording--or a transcription of it--that recites substantially verbatim the party's or other person's oral statement.
(4) Expert Discovery.
(A) Deposition of an Expert Who May Testify. A party may depose any person who has been disclosed as an expert witness under Rule 49.
(B) Expert Employed Only for Trial Preparation. Ordinarily, a party may not discover facts known or opinions held by an expert who has been retained or specially employed by another party in anticipation of litigation or preparation for trial and who is not expected to be called as a witness at trial. A party may discover such facts or opinions only:
(i) as provided in Rule 63(e); or
(ii) on showing exceptional circumstances that make it impracticable for the party to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means.
(C) Payment. Unless manifest injustice would result, the court must require that the party seeking discovery:
(i) pay the expert a reasonable fee for time spent in responding to discovery under Rule 51(b)(4)(A) or (B), including the time the expert spends testifying in a deposition; and
(ii) for discovery under Rule 51(b)(4)(B), also pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses it reasonably incurred in obtaining the expert's facts and opinions, including--in the court's discretion--the time the expert reasonably spends preparing for the deposition.
(5) Claims of Privilege or Protection of Work-Product Materials.
(A) Information, Documents, or Electronically Stored Information Withheld. When a party withholds information, a document, or electronically stored information in response to a written discovery request on the claim that it is privileged or subject to protection as work product, the party must promptly identify in writing the information, document, or electronically stored information withheld and describe the nature of that information, document, or electronically stored information in a manner that--without revealing information that is itself privileged or protected--will enable other parties to assess the claim.
(B) Inadvertent Production. If a party contends that a document or electronically stored information subject to a claim of privilege or of protection as work-product material has been inadvertently produced in discovery, the party making the claim may notify any party who received the document or electronically stored information of the claim and the basis for it. After being notified, a party (i) must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the specified document or electronically stored information and any copies it has; (ii) must not use or disclose the document or electronically stored information until the claim is resolved; (iii) must take reasonable steps to retrieve the document or electronically stored information if the party disclosed it before being notified; and (iv) may promptly present the document or electronically stored information to the court under seal for a determination of the claim. The producing party must preserve the document or electronically stored information until the claim is resolved.
(c) Sequence of Discovery. Unless the court orders otherwise for the parties' and witnesses' convenience and in the interests of justice, or for other good cause:
(1) methods of discovery may be used in any sequence; and
(2) discovery by one party does not require any other party to delay its discovery.
(d) Supplementing and Correcting Discovery Responses. A party who has responded to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission must supplement or correct its response if it learns that the response was or has become materially incomplete or incorrect and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been disclosed to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing. A party must supplement or correct a discovery response under this rule in a timely manner, but in no event more than 30 days after it learns that the response is materially incomplete or incorrect.
(e) Sanctions. The court may impose an appropriate sanction--including any order under Rules 65 or 76--against a party or attorney who has engaged in unreasonable, groundless, abusive, or obstructionist conduct in connection with discovery.
(f) Discovery and Disclosure Motions. Any discovery or disclosure motion must attach a good faith consultation certificate complying with Rule 9(c).


Added Aug. 30, 2018, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
17B A. R. S. Rules Fam. Law Proc., Rule 51, AZ ST RFLP Rule 51
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through 4/1/22. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through 4/1/22.
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