Free Discovery - Massachusetts


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Discovery

Representing Yourself in an Eviction Case

Discovery is a way to get information from your landlord to help you prove your case. When you request Discovery, your landlord must answer questions in writing and provide you documents about your eviction case. Your landlord must answer your questions in writing under oath. Discovery also postpones your eviction trial for two weeks if you give a copy of your Discovery request to the court and to your landlord (or landlord's attorney) on or before your Monday Answer Date. If you do not request Discovery, you must go to court on the Original Trial Date listed on your Summons and Complaint.

BOOKLET
Produced by the Mass. Law Reform Institute with assistance from legal services offices in Massachusetts and available at www.MassLegalHelp.org. MLRI, revised July, 2008. All rights reserved.

4

Booklet 4 1

How to Use Discovery
Fill Out the Form in This Booklet
Fill in the top of the Discovery form the same way you filled in the top of your Answer form in Booklet 3. To decide what information will help your case, read over your Answer. As you go through the Discovery form, check the box next to every question that you want answered and every document that you want sent to you. If you have more questions or requests for documents, write them in the blank spaces at the end of the Discovery form. In this Discovery form, certain standard questions and documents are checked because tenants would want to request these in every case. Make sure you do not ask more than 30 questions. There is no limit on the number of document requests.

Deliver Discovery by Your Answer Date
When you are finished, fill in your name and address and circle whether you mailed or delivered these forms. Remove the form from the booklet by taking the staples out. Make two copies. Deliver the original form to the court and one copy to your landlord (or your landlord's lawyer). Keep one copy for yourself. You must get the Discovery to the court and to your landlord (or your landlord's lawyer) with the Answer on or before the Monday Answer Date. If you mail your Discovery on the Answer Date, it will not get there in time.

Make Sure You Get Your Discovery Responses
Your landlord must then get Discovery responses and documents back to you within 10 days from the date the landlord receives your request. If your landlord does not answer your Discovery within 10 days, or does not provide information you requested, you can ask the judge to order your landlord to answer Discovery, and to postpone the court hearing until the landlord fulfills this request. (The last two pages of this packet, the Compelling Discovery form, tell you how to do this.)

Prepare for Court
When you receive the Discovery responses that you have requested, read your landlord's answers and examine all documents carefully. Look for statements or information on documents that back up your case. For example, your landlord may admit that you offered to pay rent, or that she knew about bad conditions in your apartment, or that she did not put your security deposit in a special bank account. Also watch for contradictions in your landlord's story. For example, your landlord may deny knowing about bad conditions, but state that she was in your apartment or hired people to do repairs.

Use Discovery at Your Trial
At the court hearing, tell the judge or jury if your landlord, in her Discovery responses, admitted facts important to the case. You may also ask the landlord the same questions you asked in Discovery. If the landlord gives a different answer, point out the difference to the judge or jury. You can also ask the judge to look at documents that support your side of the story, including the landlord's Discovery responses themselves.

2 Booklet 4

(Please print or type) COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS TRIAL COURT
a. County f. Docket No. Summary Process b. Rescheduled Trial Date (2 weeks after original trial date) c. Plaintiff(s) Landlord(s) vs. d. Defendant(s) Tenants(s) , ss: e. Name of Court

DISCOVERY FORM

DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY (INTERROGATORIES AND DOCUMENT REQUESTS)

Notice to Plaintiff
A. Because this Discovery has been filed and served, the trial date is automatically postponed for two weeks until the date stated above. If a jury trial has been requested and your case is in District Court then a pre-trial conference will be held at which time a jury trial date will usually be assigned. B. You are required by law to answer the interrogatories (questions) checked off below truthfully and fully, under the pains and penalties of perjury. Before each of your answers, you must re-state the interrogatory to which you are responding. Include all information that is available to you and to those who work with and for you. You must also provide any and all requested documents in your possession or that of your agents or employees. C. No later than ten (10) days after you or your attorney receives this Request for Discovery, the court and the defendant must receive your responses to these questions and documents requested. Answers should be mailed or delivered to the defendant's apartment. D. You are also required to supplement and/or amend your responses to this Discovery if after you have responded you learn: a. the identity of other persons with information about the questions asked (including expert witnesses you intend to have testify at trial); and/or b. that any of the information you gave in the responses was incorrect when made or is no longer correct.

Booklet 4 3

E. If any documents that are responsive to the requests for production of documents checked off below are redacted (crossed out or deleted) or are not produced based on a claim of privilege or on any other grounds, please identify as to each such document or part of such document: a. The nature of the privilege claimed; b. The factual and legal basis of the claim of privilege or ground for not producing the document; c. The title of the document; d. The author of the document; e. Each person to whom an original or copy of the document was provided; and f. The subject matter and a description of the material withheld, to the fullest extent possible short of waiving the claimed privilege.

DEFINITIONS
A. The terms "you," "plaintiff," and "landlord" include the plaintiff named above and any and all other persons or entities with any ownership in the premises, as well as plaintiff's agents, employees, relatives, attorneys, and anyone acting on their behalf. B. The term "apartment" refers to the house or unit that the tenant occupies, including the exterior and common areas. If the tenant has occupied more than one apartment under an arrangement with the plaintiff, this covers any and all apartments occupied by the tenant. C. The term "tenant" includes the defendant(s) named above and his or her agents, relative(s), attorney(s), and anyone else acting on the tenant's behalf. D. The term "building" refers to the building, common areas, grounds, and any other apartments at the address where the tenant's apartment is located. E. The term "document" includes: writings, videotapes, electronic mail or other documents electronically stored and/or transmitted, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, digital images, recordings, contracts, agreements, correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, requests, bills, orders, notices, writs, declarations, complaints, answers and other court pleadings, schedules, tabulations, checks, diary entries, telegrams, diagrams, films, newspaper clippings, and other writings and recordings of whatever nature. A draft or non-identical copy is a separate document within the meaning of this term. F. The term "concerning" means referring to, relating to, supporting, describing, reflecting, constituting, or in any other way referencing. G. Unless otherwise specified, the applicable time period for these requests is the period of the tenant's occupancy of the apartment(s), plus one month before such occupancy and one month afterward if the tenant has vacated.

4 Booklet 4

INTERROGATORIES (Questions) Be sure to check no more than 30 questions Tenancy
1. 2. 3. 4. What is the name, address, telephone number, occupation, and relationship to the tenant's apartment of the person answering these questions? What is the name and address of each owner of the apartment, and the date s/he bought the building? Please describe all members of the tenant's household (including the tenant) by name, age, gender, and date of move-in. Please describe all the terms of the tenancy, including, but not limited to: a. The original rent; b. The day of each month on which rent is due; c. Whether the rental agreement was oral or in writing, and the time period of such an agreement; d. The responsibility of each of the parties for payment of water, heat, hot water, electricity, cooking fuel for the apartment, and for any common area utilities and whether these responsibilities are in writing; e. Any additional terms of the original tenancy; and f. Any changes in the terms of the tenancy (including, but not limited to, changes in rent), including the date(s) of all such changes, whether the changed terms were in writing, and what the changed terms were.

Landlord's Claims
5. State each and every one of your reasons for evicting the tenant, whether or not stated in the complaint. If you claim the tenant, household member, or guest has violated a provision of the lease or rental agreement, please describe each such violation in full and complete detail, including, but not limited to: a. What happened; b. The dates of each such alleged violation; c. When and how you learned of the alleged violation; d. The names and addresses of anyone with knowledge of or information about such alleged violation; e. The substance of the information known to each person; and f. What if anything you did after becoming aware of each alleged violation, including the substance and date(s) of any written or oral communication to the tenant regarding such alleged violation and the tenant's response(s) to such communication(s). Please state how much rent (including "use and occupancy"), if any, is owed, including the specific months and amounts in which such rent was not paid, and the total amount that you claim is owed.

6.

Booklet 4 5

7.

For each person with knowledge of the facts alleged in the landlord's complaint and/or the tenant's answer/counterclaims, please state: a. His/her name, current (or last known) address, and current (or last known) telephone number; b. The substance of the information known to such person; and c. The expert training/qualifications of such person, if any.

8.

State the type of Notice to Quit (or notice of termination of tenancy), if any, relied on in this action, the method of service, the date of service, the name of the person who received the notice, and the name and address of the person who served the notice. If more than one copy of the notice was served on the tenant, please specify the information for each form of service. If the Notice to Quit was also served on a third party other than the tenant, please provide similar information regarding such service. If the tenant has ever paid or offered to pay any rent owed after receiving the Notice to Quit, please describe the payment or offer, the date of the offer, and your response, if any. If the tenant has ever offered assistance from any third party or agency to pay the rent, please identify the agency or third party assistance offered by the tenant or anyone on his/her behalf, the substance of the offer, the date on which it was made, and your response.

9. 10.

Public and Subsidized Housing
11. If the tenant receives a subsidy or lives in a subsidized unit, please state: a. The name of the subsidy program and the administering agency; b. The full contract rent under the subsidy program; c. The tenant's portion of the rent; and d. Any changes to the contract rent and/or the tenant's portion since the tenancy started, but not exceeding six years from when the action was commenced. If you have requested an increase to the contract rent during the past twelve months, please describe any such request in full and complete detail, including, but not limited to: a. To whom the request was made; b. The amount requested; c. The basis for such request; d. The date and manner of the request; e. The agency's response, if any; and f. The tenant's response, if any. Please describe the steps you took to terminate the tenancy as required by the lease or program rules, including, but not limited to, an offer of an informal conference and/or grievance hearing. If the tenant requested a conference and/or hearing, for each such conference and/or hearing, state the date, who was present, what each person said, and the results of the conference/hearing.

12.

13.

6 Booklet 4

Problems with the Apartment/Building
14. Please describe in full and complete detail how you came to know of each and every need for repair or other problem in the tenant's apartment and/or common areas of the building at any point during the tenant's tenancy. (This includes both alleged and confirmed problems, including, but not limited to, each of the problems alleged in the tenant's answer and counterclaims.) For each such problem or condition, please state: a. The nature of the problem; b. The date you first became aware of such problem; c. How you first became aware of such problem--that is, who, if anyone, informed you and how (orally or in writing); and d. What steps, if any, you took in response to being notified of such problem, including whether your investigation confirmed that there was a need for repair. Please describe in detail any inspections of the apartment or building conducted by the Board of Health, Inspectional Services Department, Housing Authority or other agency, during the term of the tenant's tenancy, including, but not limited to: a. The date of the inspection; b. The identity of the agency conducting the inspection; c. The identity of the person who contacted the agency to perform the inspection and the date of the contact; d. The date you received a report from the agency; e. The substance of the report; f. The date and substance of any communications with the inspector or other representatives of the agency; and g. What, if anything, you did in response to the inspection. If the landlord before, at the time of, or immediately following the purchase or acquisition of the apartment or building, obtained any inspections, assessments or evaluations of the apartment and/or building, for each such inspection, assessment or evaluation state: a. The date; b. The name, address, and telephone number of the person or agency who/that performed it; c. When you received or became aware of the inspection, assessment or evaluation; d. The contents thereof, stating specifically what problems or conditions were noted; and e. What, if anything, you did in response to such inspection, assessment, or evaluation. If the landlord has made or attempted to make inspections and/or repairs (including exterminations) to the tenant's apartment and/or common areas and systems of the building, for each such inspection and/or repair (or attempt), including extermination, please state: a. A description of each inspection and/or repair; b. How and when you let the tenant know of your plan to inspect and/or to repair (including whether there was written notice to the tenant); c. The date of each inspection and/or repair; d. The name, address, and telephone number of the company/person who made each inspection and/or repair; and e. The cost of each repair, if applicable. f. For repairs, how and when you first knew of the condition that needed to be repaired.

15.

16.

17.

Booklet 4 7

18.

If you have ever learned of or tried to discover whether there is lead paint in the tenant's apartment and/or building, please provide: a. A full and complete description of your investigation and/or knowledge/information regarding the presence (or absence) of lead paint in the apartment and/or building, including, but not limited to: i. The substance of any inspections, investigation or knowledge/information; ii. The name, address, and telephone number of any person/company with information; iii. The date(s) that you conducted such investigation or otherwise acquired such knowledge/information; b. A full and complete description of any steps you have taken regarding the presence of lead paint in the apartment and/or building (i.e., any and all inspections not identified above and/or abatement of any lead paint hazard), including, but not limited to: i. The substance of all action taken or work performed; ii. The date(s) thereof; iii. Who did what work (name, address, company, telephone number, and license number of the deleader); iv. The details of any arrangements for relocation of the tenant during the abatement process (including where the tenant was relocated, how the tenant was relocated, and the payment of any costs associated with such relocation). If you claim that the tenant caused any damage to the apartment and/or building, please describe such damage in full and complete detail, including, but not limited to: a. The substance of such damage; b. Why you believe the tenant caused the damage; c. What if any repairs were made to such damage, the date(s) of such repairs, and the costs of such repairs; d. The name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of anyone with knowledge of such damage allegedly caused by the tenant. If you claim the tenant prevented or hindered you from inspecting the apartment and/or making repairs, for each attempt to inspect or make repairs, please describe: a. The date of the attempt; b. How and when you let the tenant know of your plan to inspect and/or to repair; c. What the tenant did or said to prevent or hinder the inspection or repair; d. The names and addresses of anyone present at the time who has information about the tenant's interference with the inspection or repair; and e. Any financial or other loss suffered as a result of the tenant's actions or inactions. If you or anyone on your behalf has been inside the tenant's apartment during the tenancy (or before the tenancy for the purpose of renting to/preparing the apartment for the tenant), please state who was inside the apartment, when, and why s/he was there. Please describe in full and complete detail the maintenance and management of the apartment and/or building, including, but not limited to, the identity (by name and address) of each responsible person, a description of each such person's duties, for how long s/he has managed and/or maintained the building, and his or her job training/experience/qualifications.

19.

20.

21.

22.

8 Booklet 4

Security Deposit and Last Month's Rent
23. If you ever received payment(s) for a security deposit and/or last month's rent from or on behalf of the tenant, or know that the tenant made such payment(s) to a former owner, please state: a. The amount of each payment and whether it was a security deposit or last month's rent; b. The date each payment was received; c. Whether you gave the tenant a receipt and what information was on the receipt; d. Whether you asked the tenant to sign a statement about the condition of the apartment; e. The amount, account number(s), and the name(s) and address(es) of any bank(s) in which the security deposit and/or last month's rent has been kept, and the date(s) of the initial deposit in a bank and of any transfer; f. Whether the security deposit has at all times been kept in a separate escrow account protected from creditors; g. Whether you have paid the tenant interest on the security deposit and/or last month's rent or credited the interest to the tenant's account and, if so, when and how much; and h. A full and complete description of any notice(s) you provided to the tenant about the deposit(s) and/or payment(s) made to a former owner, including the date(s) of such notice(s).

Utilities
24. If there is a written agreement requiring the tenant to pay for water, heat and/or hot water, please describe the substance of the agreement, the date of the agreement, and the date the obligation to pay for water, heat, and/or hot water took effect. If any of the tenant's utilities (water, gas or electricity) have ever been shut off, discontinued or threatened to be shut off/discontinued (by you, a utility company, or anyone else), state which utility and when, the reason for the shutoff or notice/threat of shutoff, and when the utility was turned back on. Please describe any accounts that the landlord has for common area utility usage (including water and sewer) in the building, including the date such account was established, the name of the utility company, the account number for each such account, and a description of the areas in the building covered by each such account. If the tenant is responsible for paying for any water, electricity or other utility outside the apartment, including, but not limited to, hallways, basement, and/or the exterior of the building, please describe what the tenant is responsible for, whether there is a written agreement between the parties reflecting this arrangement, and the date such arrangement first took effect.

25.

26.

27.

Facts About the Landlord
28. Please list all property, including the property involved in this case, that you own or have owned at any point during the tenant's tenancy in the apartment (including any property owned by trust or business entities with which you are associated) and for each such property: a. Identify the address; b. State the number of apartments in each such property; and c. State the purchase date and dates of ownership.

Booklet 4 9

29.

If you are a trust, please describe the trust in detail, including, but not limited to: a. The name of the trust; b. The names of the trustees, and any changes thereto (including all applicable dates); c. The names of the beneficiaries of the trust, and any changes thereto (including all applicable dates).

Disability
30. Please describe any knowledge, information or belief you have of the tenant or a household member having any mental and/or physical disability, including, but not limited to, how you were made aware of such disability and what disability you believe or were informed the tenant or the household member has. Please describe in detail any requests made by or on behalf of the tenant or household member for an accommodation (e.g., a change in rules or policy, a physical change to the apartment, not proceeding with an eviction, or other special treatment) due to her/his disability, including, but not limited to: a. When and how the tenant or other person asked you for an accommodation; b. What s/he requested that you do or not do on account of her/his disability; and c. Your response.

31.

Other
32. If you knew or believed that the tenant went to a tenants' meeting or participated in a tenants' organization, or filed or threatened to file a lawsuit or claim against you, describe such actions and state when and how you became aware of this. If the tenant or any agency or person asked you to accept a subsidy for the tenancy (for example, Section 8) or to fill out any forms related to a subsidy for a housing authority or other agency, please describe such request in detail, including, but not limited to: a. What you were asked to do; b. When; c. How (orally or in writing) the request was made; and d. Your response. For each conversation you have had with the tenant about the reason(s) for eviction or that concerns your claims and/or the tenant's defenses or counterclaims in this action, please state when, who was present, and what was said. Please state your opinion, if any, of the fair market monthly rental value of the apartment (i.e., for how much you could rent the apartment in good condition) for each year of the tenant's tenancy/occupancy, and describe in detail the basis for your opinion. If the building or the tenant's apartment has been converted to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership, or if there is an intent to do so, please state: a. When the conversion took place or will take place; and b. The substance and date(s) of information or notices, if any, provided the tenant by the landlord or any other person or entity regarding any rights the tenant may have under applicable condominium conversion eviction laws.

33.

34.

35.

36.

10 Booklet 4

37.

_________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

38.

Booklet 4 11

DOCUMENT REQUESTS Check as many boxes as apply Tenancy and Termination
1. Any documents related to the rental of the apartment and/or to the tenancy, including, but not limited to, rental applications, credit checks, references, lease(s) or other written agreement(s) between the landlord and the tenant, and lease addenda, changes, or renewals. All documents related to the composition of the tenant's household (i.e., the identity of all people who occupy or who have lived at any time in the apartment). All letters and other written communications between the landlord and the tenant. All written records kept by the landlord concerning payments for rent/use and occupancy made by or on behalf of the tenant. All written records kept by the landlord concerning payments for charges other than rent/use and occupancy made by or on behalf of the tenant. All documents received from any predecessor(s) in interest (people or business(es) that owned the building before you did) related to the building, including, but not limited to, documents about: a. The condition of the building; b. Tenancies at the building; c. Assignments of rights/obligations; and d. A security deposit and/or last month's rent for the tenant's apartment. All documents concerning the landlord's purchase, refinancing, mortgage, sale, marketing, and/or insurance of the apartment/building, including, but not limited to, inspection reports and other assessments/evaluations, purchase and sale agreements (and other documents concerning conditions of purchase/sale), broker or other marketing agreements, and the like. All Notices to Quit ever served by the landlord on the tenant or on an agency providing a subsidy for the tenant and returns of service for each such notice. All documents related to any complaints received from any source about the tenant and/or members of the tenant's household or guests. All documents concerning charitable or third party payments on behalf of the tenant, including, but not limited to, fuel/weatherization, rent and/or other assistance. All documents concerning the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), including, but not limited to: a. Rental arrearage payments; b. "Vendor" rental payments by the tenant through DTA; or c. Other assistance concerning the tenant (e.g., applications, agreements, invoices, checks, or other documents). All documents related in any way to any of your reasons for evicting the tenant.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7.

8. 9. 10. 11.

12.

12 Booklet 4

13.

All documents related in any way to the landlord's claims and/or to the tenant's defenses or counterclaims (to the extent not addressed elsewhere in your responses to these document requests).

Public and Subsidized Housing/Governmental Assistance
14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. All written documents concerning the exact type or nature of any rental subsidy attached to the building or involved in the tenancy. All documents related to requests that you accept a subsidy for the tenancy and your response, if any. All documents concerning determination of the tenant's rent, determination of the contract rent, and/or recertification of the tenant household. All documents in any tenant file that the owner or manager maintains for the tenant. All documents concerning any request you have made for an increase in the contract rent and responses to that request from the tenant and/or agency administering the tenant's subsidy. All documents related to any informal conference and/or grievance hearings during the tenancy. All letters and other written communications between the landlord and any housing authority, DHCD, MassHousing (formerly MHFA), HUD, and any other relevant agency regarding the tenant or the apartment. All documents concerning conditions or use restrictions for the apartment and/or building related to your (or your predecessor's) receipt of any form of government assistance, including, but not limited to, low-interest loans, subsidies, tax credits, deleading and/or rehabilitation assistance, and the like.

21.

Problems with the Apartment/Building
22. 23. 24. All documents notifying the tenant of inspections and/or repairs to the apartment or building. All photographs, videos, and/or digital images of the tenant's apartment or of the building at any time during the tenancy, or within 2 weeks before the tenant moved in. All documents related to investigation for or the presence of lead paint at any time in the tenant's apartment and/or in the building, including, but not limited to, notices to any tenants in the building, notices from any agency about lead paint, and documents related to lead paint inspections, verifications of lead paint abatement and/or control of lead paint, and tenant relocation. All documents concerning conditions in the tenant's apartment and/or in the common areas or systems of the building, including complaints, inspection reports and requests for repairs by the tenant or any other person or agency. All documents relating to repairs of the apartment and/or common areas or systems of the building, including, but not limited to, invoices, estimates, bills, work orders, receipts and records of payment. All documents related to the basis of the landlord's opinion regarding the fair market monthly rental value of the apartment.

25.

26.

27.

Booklet 4 13

Other
28. All documents concerning the tenant's security deposit and/or last month's rent, including, but not limited to, receipts, copies of any bank records or statements, notices given to the tenant about the deposit/payment, conditions statement, and documents relating to payment and/or crediting of interest to the tenant. All documents concerning who is responsible for payment of water and sewer, heat, hot water and/or other utilities in the apartment. Any documents concerning the threatened or actual termination and/or re-connection of utilities (including water and sewer, electricity, and/or gas) in the apartment and/or building. Any documents concerning accounts that the landlord has for common area water and other utility usage in the building. Any documents concerning tenant responsibility for payment of any water, electricity, or other utility outside the apartment, including, but not limited to, hallways, basement, and/or exterior of the building. Any documents concerning the tenant's or household member's disability and/or request for accommodation (i.e., a change in rules or policy, a physical change in the apartment and/or common areas, etc.) that the tenant or anyone on his/her behalf has made to you and your response to such request, and any offers of reasonable accommodation that you otherwise have made to the tenant or household member. Any documents concerning actual or proposed condominium or cooperative conversion of the apartment or building. Any documents concerning fire, property and/or liability insurance of the apartment/building, including, but not limited to, policies, binders, contracts, agreements, vouchers, checks, notices, correspondence, and notices to your insurer of claims concerning the apartment and/or building. Any documents concerning the management of the apartment and/or building. Any documents concerning the maintenance of the apartment and/or building. Any documents concerning lawsuits or claims related to the apartment and/or building and/or involving the landlord and the tenant. _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

29. 30. 31. 32.

33.

34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39.

40.

14 Booklet 4

I hereby certify that I delivered or mailed (circle which one) a copy of this Discovery to my landlord or to his/her lawyer on _____________________(date). ________________________________________
Signature of Tenant

____________________________________
Signature of Tenant

________________________________________
Tenant's Name (print)

____________________________________
Tenant's Name (print)

________________________________________
Address ______________________________________________ City State Zip

____________________________________
Address

____________________________________
City State Zip

________________________________________
Telephone Number

____________________________________
Telephone Number

Booklet 4 15

Compelling Discovery
What can you do if your landlord does not answer your Request for Discovery?
Your landlord must give you his/her responses to your Discovery within ten (10) days after receiving it. If your landlord does not answer your Request for Discovery, or gives you incomplete answers or objects to your request, you may file a Motion to Compel Discovery and for a Continuance. If your case is in Housing Court and you do not think that the landlord's responses to Discovery were complete or responsive, you may have to provide the Court with more detailed information. Ask the Court Clerk if there are any special requirements. This motion, which you must file in court within five business days after the date Discovery responses were due, asks the judge to order the landlord to completely answer Discovery and to continue (or postpone) the trial until the landlord does so.

16 Booklet 4

How to Make the Motion to Compel Discovery
Fill in the spaces at the top of the motion the same as you did in the Answer and Request for Discovery forms. Write in the date you mailed or delivered your Discovery to the landlord or the landlord's lawyer. Check the box(es) that describe what your landlord failed to do. On the bottom of the form, circle whether you delivered or mailed a copy of this motion to your landlord (or the landlord's lawyer). Fill in the date, your name, address, and telephone number. Sign the motion. Make two (2) copies. Deliver the original to court, and one copy to your landlord (or his/her lawyer). Keep one copy for yourself. IMPORTANT: You must get the form to the court and your landlord (or the landlord's lawyer) within 5 business days of the date the answers to your Discovery were due.

Prepare for Court
The hearing on your Motion to Compel Discovery will be held on the Rescheduled Trial Date. Be prepared to go ahead with your eviction trial on that date since there is always a chance that the judge will not order your landlord to answer Discovery or postpone the trial date. When your case is called, be sure to tell the clerk that you have filed a Motion to Compel Discovery. When you go before the judge, tell the judge that you requested Discovery, and that your landlord did not answer (or did not answer fully). Tell the judge why you need the information that is missing. Ask the judge to order your landlord to answer your Discovery fully, and not to have the eviction trial until after the landlord answers your questions and gives you the requested documents. The judge should tell you at this point whether your trial will be postponed and whether your landlord will be ordered to answer your Discovery. If you win this motion, your landlord will be ordered to answer your Discovery and the eviction trial should be postponed. If you lose this motion, you will have the eviction trial that day. Do the best you can. If you lose at trial, you may have the right to appeal, and/or to ask the judge for more time to move. See Booklets 7 and 8.

Booklet 4 17

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS TRIAL COURT
a. County b. Rescheduled Trial Date c. Plaintiff(s) Landlord(s) vs. d. Defendant(s) Tenants(s) f. Docket No. Summary Process , ss: e. Name of Court

MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY AND FOR A CONTINUANCE

To the Clerk: Please mark this motion for the rescheduled trial date. The Defendant-Tenant asks the Court to order the Plaintiff-Landlord to answer completely the tenant's Discovery no later than one week from the date of the hearing on this motion, as allowed under Uniform Summary Process Rule 7(d). The tenant also asks the Court for a continuance of the trial (or continuance of pre-trial conference if a jury trial has been requested) until at least one week after the tenant receives the landlord's response, as allowed under Summary Process Rule 7(e). In support of this motion, the Tenant states: 1. 2. On ___________________(date), the tenant filed with the Court and delivered or mailed (circle which one) to the landlord a Request for Discovery. The landlord: has failed to answer any questions. has failed to give me any documents requested. has failed to answer questions fully. has failed to give me all of the documents requested. objected to certain discovery requests and I disagree with the objection. 3. I hereby certify that I delivered or mailed (circle which one) a copy of this Discovery Motion to my landlord or to his/her lawyer on _________________ (date). ____________________________________
Signature of Tenant

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Signature of Tenant

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Tenant's Name (print) Address

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Tenant's Name (print) Address City

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_______________________________________________ City State Zip

____________________________________ ____________________________________
State Zip

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Telephone Number

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Telephone Number

18 Booklet 4