Interrogatories in Federal Court Cases

By Christine J. Flores, CBA

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 33 outlines the procedure for propounding and responding to interrogatories in federal court cases.  Any party may serve written interrogatories, not exceeding 25 interrogatories including subparts, on any other party in the litigation.  The party is required to furnish any information available to that party.  A propounding party may request leave to serve additional interrogatories.

Each interrogatory is to be answered separately, fully and under oath unless it is objected to.  The objecting party shall state the reasons for the objection and answer the portion of the interrogatory that is not objectionable.  Answers to the interrogatories are signed by the person making them, through the verification attached to the responses, whereas objections are signed only by the attorney.  Any objections shall be specifically stated, and any grounds for objection not stated are deemed waived unless the failure to object is excused by the court for good cause.  Answers are due within 30 days of service of the interrogatories absent an agreement of the parties to extend the time to answer, or order of the Court.  The propounding party may move for an order under Rule 37(a) regarding any objection or failure to answer an interrogatory.

As shown above much of the procedure for responding to interrogatories is the same as in California State Court cases.  Immediately note the due date of the responses.  Here again, setting up a draft document early on, listing the interrogatories, a space for the response, and some standard general objections will give your attorney a good start for preparing the response.

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