Parties in civil lawsuits exchange information through a formal legal process known as “discovery.” The lawyers for each party use different discovery techniques, including interrogatories, to access the evidence that each party intends to use at trial. Discovery also allows all parties to get all the information they need to prepare for trial and avoid surprises.
You can rely on a civil litigation lawyer at Evans Kingsbury LLP to help you through the discovery process in your lawsuit. We can assist you with sending discovery requests to other parties and non-parties involved in your case and responding to discovery requests from other parties. We can also represent your interests before the court in resolving discovery-related disputes. Contact us today at (707) 596-6090 and learn more about how we can assist you with discovery in your civil lawsuit.
Using Interrogatories as a Discovery Tool
Interrogatories are written questions that a party to a lawsuit prepares and sends to any other party in the lawsuit. The party receiving the interrogatories must answer the questions in writing and under oath.
California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.020 allows a plaintiff, or the party who initiates the lawsuit, to serve interrogatories on a party at any time that is ten days after service of the summons on or appearance by the party whichever is first. However, a plaintiff may get the permission of the court to serve interrogatories at an earlier time. In addition, a defendant, or the party against whom a plaintiff files a lawsuit, can serve interrogatories on another party at any time during the lawsuit.
California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.030 limits the number of interrogatories that one party can serve on another in a lawsuit. A party may propound 35 specially prepared interrogatories to another party that are relevant to the subject matter of the pending action and/or any additional number of official form interrogatories. Nonetheless, under California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.040, a party may serve more than 35 specially prepared interrogatories to another party if accompanied by a specific declaration under California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.050 stating that the greater number is warranted by:
- The complexity or the quantity of the existing and potential issues in the particular case;
- The financial burden on a party entailed in conducting the discovery by oral deposition; or
- The expedience of using this method of discovery to provide to the responding party the opportunity to conduct an inquiry, investigation, or search of files or records to supply the information sought.
Responding to Interrogatories
A party who receives interrogatories must respond to the questions in writing and under oath according to California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.210 in any of the following ways:
- An answer containing the information sought to be discovered;
- An exercise of the party’s option to produce writings; or
- An objection to the particular interrogatory.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.220, a party’s answers to interrogatories must be as complete and straightforward as the available information reasonably permits. If a party cannot completely answer an interrogatory, the party must answer it to the extent possible. If the party does not have sufficient personal knowledge to respond to the interrogatory fully, the party should state so but shall also make a reasonable and good-faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry, except if the information is equally available to the party who issued the interrogatory.
The responding party may also assert legal objections to the interrogatories. If an objection is not properly asserted, it is waived.
Contact Evans Kingsbury LLP to Learn How We Can Help
A civil litigation attorney at Evans Kingsbury LLP is here to guide you through every step of your court case. Whether you are filing a lawsuit against someone else or defending yourself against a lawsuit someone has filed against you, we are here to help. No matter the subject of your civil lawsuit, you will need legal representation to protect your rights throughout your legal proceedings. Contact the offices of Evans Kingsbury LLP today by calling (707) 596-6090 or visiting us online to learn how we can help.