The burden of production refers to a party's obligation to come forward with sufficient evidence to support a particular proposition of fact. The burden of production combines with the burden of persuasion to make up the burden of proof throughout a trial.
Satisfying the burden of production may also be referred to as establishing a prima facie case. Determining whether a party has satisfied its burden of production is not an issue of fact for the jury; it is an issue of law. As a result, a judge can dismiss a case before it ever gets to the jury when they believe this burden has not been met.
When a party has satisfied its burden of production, it has produced enough evidence on an issue to have the issue decided by the fact-finder rather than decided against the party in a directed verdict, motion for judgment as a matter of law or motion for summary judgment.
The burden of production is also referred to as: "burden of going forward with evidence," "production burden."
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]