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How to Answer Interrogatories to Credit Card

Once a defendant has filed a response to their summons and complaint, the plaintiff usually initiates the discovery stage of the lawsuit. This is when both parties can request information from each other in order to gain more details regarding the case.

Whereas requests for admissions are true or false statements to be admitted or denied, interrogatories are actual questions regarding the case. As you would expect, those questions are being asked in order to support their case against you. You therefore need to be very careful about how you answer each question. It is important to note that you must respond to the request for interrogatories.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and your local court sets out the correct procedure for interrogatories so your first step is to do your research and check what the law requires of you and the plaintiff. One thing to be aware of is the length of time that you have to complete and file your answers to the interrogatories. Typically this is between 30 and 45 days from the receipt of the request for interrogatories. Make sure that you check this in your state and then make a note of the deadline.

Your local court may even provide a template for your response which will make setting it out a lot easier for you.

It may be obvious but it’s vital to read each question very carefully. As you read through the questions, make notes on anything you don’t understand, any questions you have and draft any possible answers that come to mind. Later, you can add more detail and expand on those answers.

As you prepare your answers, bear in mind that you need to be truthful. Many state court rules dictate that:

‘Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer’.

So, you cannot leave questions unanswered unless you make an objection and then an explanation must be given. A long, detailed explanation is unnecessary but a basic answer is sufficient.

Creditors and junk debt companies tend to send out hundreds of interrogatories at the same time and they don’t tend to tailor their questions to each individual case. As a result, there may be some questions that are not applicable to you. In that case, simply write N/A in the space provided. This is important as otherwise it may appear that you have skipped the question.

If you don’t know the answer to any of the questions, feel free to state that. You might want to say something like ‘”Unknown at this time. The (plaintiff/defendant) reserves the right to amend (his/her) answer to this interrogatory as discovery continues.” It’s important not to guess the answers if you genuinely don’t know them as this could affect you later in the lawsuit.

According to the law you must answer each question but there are circumstances when you are allowed to object to a question and therefore not give a direct answer. This is your key to avoiding giving the plaintiff evidence against you so try to find reasons to object. There may be some questions that ask for prohibited information. For example, a common question asks for the defendant’s social security number. Others ask about the defendant’s place of birth. You could rightly object to these as the plaintiff is really not entitled to this kind of information.

You might state something like:

“Interrogatory No # is objected by Defendant on grounds that it seeks information that is invasive of Defendant’s privacy and is irrelevant to any issue in this action, information not calculated to lead to the discovery of evidence, and would result in the disclosure of information where such disclosure would violate the privacy rights of Defendant.”

Furthermore, be aware that these questions are intended to support their claims and gain more evidence for their case against you. In many cases against junk debt buyers and even with original creditors, the plaintiff does not have the documents to support their case.

For example, they may ask you to list or identify payments that you made to the account. Now we can justifiably ask ourselves why they need that information if they had all of the correct documents to proceed. They want you to admit having a connection to the account which then connects you to the debt.

You can object to this question by stating something like:

““Interrogatory No. # is objected by Defendant on the grounds that it is overly broad and unduly burdensome to the extent it seeks documents or records that are not within the current knowledge, possession, custody or control of Defendant. Plaintiff’s request should be accessible to Plaintiff from Plaintiff’s own files, from documents or information already in Plaintiff’s possession”.

Additionally, be aware that questions may be re-worded and presented in different ways in order to catch you out. Scrutinize every single question and try to work out why they are asking the question and if they have the right to that information.

The Defendant’s Package contains guidance for all types of interrogatory questions and how to deal with them as well as how to furnish the plaintiff with your own interrogatories to support your defense.

When everything has been completed, check with your court to see whether your response to interrogatories needs to be signed or notarised before sending to the court and plaintiff. You may well need to include a certificate of service along with your response.

When everything has been completed, check with your court to see whether your response to Interrogatories needs to be signed or notarised before sending to the court and plaintiff. You may well need to include a certificate of service along with your response.

For more information on the discovery process and how to win your lawsuit, check out The Defendant’s Package.

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