Interrogatories in the United States District Court–At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure related to propounding interrogatories in the United States District Courts. For more detailed information, including local rules, on propounding interrogatories in a specific United States District Court, please see the SmartRules Interrogatory Guide for the court where your action is pending.

Timing:

 A party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f), except in a proceeding exempted from initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1)(B), or when authorized by these rules, by stipulation, or by court order. FRCP 26(d)(1).

 Unless, on motion, the court orders otherwise for the parties’ and witnesses’ convenience and in the interests of justice: (A) methods of discovery may be used in any sequence; and (B) discovery by one party does not require any other party to delay its discovery. FRCP 26(d)(2).

The court must set a discovery cut-off date. FRCP 16(b)(3)(A).

If personally served, responses to interrogatories are due within thirty (30) days of service. If the interrogatories are served by mail, or if served by any other means to which the parties have agreed in writing, responses are due within thirty-three (33) days of service. FRCP 33(b)(2); FRCP 6(d).

Interrogatory Rules:

A party may serve interrogatories on any other party. FRCP 33(a)(1).

An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b). An interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that the interrogatory need not be answered until designated discovery is complete, or until a pretrial conference or some other time. FRCP 33(a)(2).

Absent stipulation or court order, a party may serve no more than twenty-five (25) interrogatories (including subparts) on any other party. FRCP 33(a)(1).

Customarily, the first paragraph sets forth the identity of the propounding party, the responding party, the set number, and any instructions for the responding party.

Every disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1) or (a)(3) and every discovery request, response, or objection must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s own name – or by the party personally, if unrepresented – and must state the signer’s address, e-mail address, and telephone number. FRCP 26(g)(1).

The following discovery requests and responses must not be filed until they are used in the proceeding or the court orders filing: (i) depositions, (ii) interrogatories, (iii) requests for documents or to permit entry upon land, and (iv) requests for admission. FRCP 5(d).

Interrogatories must be served on the party from whom responses are sought and all other parties who have appeared in the action. FRCP 33(a)(1); FRCP 5(a).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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