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Defendant’s Answers to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories

Interrogatories are written questions a party may serve on any other party, which must be answered in writing and under oath. Interrogatories are most useful as a means to obtain basic information such as witness names; the facts underlying a vague or indefinite statement in a pleading; or to ask simple, unambiguous questions.

It is important to remember that you are the defendant and the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. Be careful not to prove their case for them. Since you were smart enough to avoid a default judgment by answering their complaint, the plaintiff may use interrogatories and admissions to trip you up and have you help prove their case. You can avoid this by challenging their interrogatories.

Below are examples of how to answer interrogatories against junk debt buyers or collection agencies. If no original contract was attached to the complaint you obviously have no proof of debt. How about an assignment? Was a copy of the assignment attached? Are you sure that the plaintiff is the real party in interest? Or are they an assignee of an assignee. That alone may be grounds for dismissal.

Watch how they word things. You may answer something in the response to interrogatories and then make a mistake by answering differently in admissions. Watch out for tricky questions that could create problems for you. Below I have listed what I have used in my past suits. Look at your response to interrogatories and decide which objection best fits:

  • Objections to the admissibility of the information solicited by the interrogatory are improper, unless the information would not lead to admissible information.

  • Objection to Information or Response Sought:

    The (plaintiff/defendant) objects to interrogatory number — on the ground that it seeks information or a response that is:

    a. obtainable from some other source that is more convenient,

    b. less burdensome or less expensive,

    c. not within the knowledge, possession, custody or control of the (plaintiff/defendant),

    d. beyond the permissible scope and requirements of the (applicable) rules of court,

    e. premature as it requests the (plaintiff/defendant), prior to the completion of discovery, to state all the facts supporting its present contentions and to speculate as to its future contentions,

    f. not limited in time to the years of the alleged occurrence,

    g. equally available to both parties,

    h. already in the (plaintiff’s/defendant’s) knowledge, possession, custody or control,

    i. generated or authored subsequent to the commencement of this court action,

    j. seeks statements made by witnesses without the requisite showing of substantial need and undue hardship.

  • Objection on basis of lack of relevance:

    The (plaintiff/defendant) objects to interrogatory number — on the ground that it:

    a. seeks information that is not relevant to any issue in this action,

    b. seeks information not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence,

    c. seeks information not relevant to any subject matter of this action.

  • Objection on basis of privilege:

    The (plaintiff/defendant) objects to interrogatory number — on the ground that it:

    a. seeks information that is privileged by virtue of the attorney-client privilege,

    b. seeks information that is protected by the “work product” privilege (The interrogatory calls for disclosure of information or materials prepared in anticipation of litigation and/or trial preparation material without the showing required by the (applicable) rules of civil procedure. The “work product” privilege includes information which has been acquired or prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or on behalf of a party or its attorneys as well as in information relating to the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal theories of any attorney or legal representative of an insurer),

    c. seeks disclosure of information where such disclosure would violate the privacy rights of individuals,

    d. seeks information relating to any confidentiality agreement between the defendant and any individual,

    e. seeks information which would violate a court order restricting the disclosure of information,

    f. seeks information which could result in the disclosure of confidential commercial information, trade secrets or proprietary information.

  • Objecting on basis of expert witness selection:

    a. In response to this interrogatory requesting information about experts, no determination as to who may be called as an expert witness has yet been made. I reserve my right to further supplement this response when such information is known to me.

    b. I object to those parts of the interrogatory which seek the expert’s qualifications, social or professional relationship to the defendant, a bibliography which the expert considers authoritative, a bibliography of all published works of the expert, the manner in which the expert became familiar with the facts of the case, and a list of all cases in which the expert has testified on the grounds that the information requested is outside the scope of (applicable) rules.

    c. I object to this interrogatory on the grounds that the employment of such persons, if any, occurred in anticipation of litigation, constitute work product of counsel and are not discoverable, and further that such information is specifically protected from discovery with specific exceptions, pursuant to Fed R Civ P 26 (b)(4)(B).