Interrogatories are a vital discovery tool that both litigants have in virtually every type of civil litigation. Essentially, interrogatories are written questions. Each party can send a set number of interrogatories to the other, which must be answered under oath. The responses to interrogatories can be used to help build a case or to check for accuracy. Interrogatories are also less expensive than a deposition. This is because you do not have to pay for a court reporter or videographer. Additionally, you can ask more questions in an interrogatory than you can during a deposition. You can find more legal definitions like this on our YouTube channel.
The rules of civil procedure allow for interrogatories so that both sides can discover the facts, and therefore better understand each other’s case. When there’s no secrets about each side of the case, and the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s arguments are clear, reaching a settlement becomes much easier.
It’s important to understand that laws concerning interrogatories vary from state to state and court to court. In fact, this is a good general principle to keep in mind when discussing the law. Interrogatory rules even vary within the DMV. In Maryland, each side typically serves 30 interrogatories. Virginia is also 30 but the District of Columbia superior court, allows 40 questions. In the federal courts in our area 25 questions is the standard. Though this is without “leave of court,” or asking the court to change the number of interrogatories. In federal court, typically both sides will decide amongst themselves how many interrogatories and other types of discovery are appropriate and form a “discovery plan,” which must then be approved by a judge. Each side is typically granted 30 days to respond.
Your attorney will review these questions and help you answer them. Keep in mind these are questions you are answering under oath. Answer as truthfully and accurately as possible. You could be asked about your answers to these questions later on in a deposition. It could also be used in a trial. The rules of court are very broad on allowing what written discovery answers can be used for. The attorneys at Malloy Law Offices, LLC understand the ins and outs of the discovery process and can help you avoid any potential pitfalls. Contact us for your free consultation.